Designing a Triple Patented Audio Projector

MedTec designed and supported the manufacturing process of a triple patented audio projector.

Client

William Eikos

Disciplines

Software

Various

Problem:

The market in audio technology is an extremely competitive one. However, there is no product currently available that offers uncompromised sound quality and sleek design features, whilst making use of sustainable and renewable materials such as bamboo. Due to the nature of acoustics, the speaker itself will also need to be suspended in free space whilst remaining a freestanding unit.

Process:

With the client providing precise air space volumes for the speaker and base unit components, the team began drafting initial concept designs to meet the strict product envelope. It was imperative that all design work had as few sharp edges as possible, as these create a “rebound” of sound that would severely reduce the quality of the output. After numerous iterations to create the required volumetric areas, it was essential to consider the centre of gravity of the system due to the nature of the suspension of the speaker “pod”. Using software, Centre of Gravity modelling and FEA analysis, the team could comprehensively validate the co-ordinate centre of the system, ensuring the freestanding stability of the assembled speaker.

Due to such tight volumetric areas housing all the electronic and mechanical elements, it was imperative to dry-fit these to prevent material clashes and costly machining amendments. For this, it was decided that MedTec would use in-house 3D print capabilities to produce scale prototypes and set up test installs. Once the initial concept had been approved, detailed design began on various interfacing features as well as numerous hatches and levelling features to ensure the optimum sound quality of the final product.

Design for Manufacture:

Due to the sustainable bamboo construction of the speaker pod and base unit, it was imperative to ensure complete manufacturability at all stages of production. After various fabrication discussions and in-house brainstorming sessions, it was decided that the components would be made from a lamination style method. This is due to the nature of bamboo being readily available in sheet form, whilst giving the best possible profiling for 3D milling accuracy.

MedTec used our experiences to refine critical feature locations to ensure no parting lines would interfere with the lamination process. due to having an enclosed volume within all components, it was decided to create the parts in handed halves and then join. For this, various dowelling methodologies were investigated to create both an airtight seal and a clean connection without damaging the delicate bamboo materials. 

Manufacturing Support:

To allow the speaker components to be accurately replicated in batch production runs, MedTec worked closely with the fabricators to create a range of bespoke tooling elements and cutting jigs for both flattened and curved bamboo parts. This support progressed with the project, with new tooling being required at various stages of the build to reduce inefficiencies in the production and improve the replicability of the handed pairs. We also continued to offer support throughout the manufacturing stage, making CAD edits to ease processes, whilst also supplying a full range of CAD files to be used in cutting, milling, and machining applications.

Commercial and Visualisation

To assist the client with marketing and advertising the speaker system, MedTec offered a CGI package to show a range of colours and finishes. This gave a sleek marketing design, suited to the high-end consumer. This CGI work also allowed MedTec to show scope for future work, as well as aligning long-term finishing options with a range of fabricators. The render work and jig tooling were also shown to the manufacturers as it gave a more complete three-dimensional picture of the design, allowing the team to problem solve efficiently and be reactive as problems arose.

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