Reid Webber, an Army Captain stationed in Germany, developed and patented an all-in-one USB power station, a device that houses and charges a household’s worth of electronics. His next step to market was present the idea to investors. For this he needed a full -scale prototype to showcase his design, but lacked the resources, facilities or expertise to fabricate the unit.
Reid approached Oat Foundry with patent sketches and a sincere desire to have his invention built on US soil. In order to court potential investors, Reid requested his design be translated into sheet metal design, complete with detailed engineering drawings for each redesigned part. Oat Foundry would use SolidWorks to completely redesign this power station for sheet metal fabrication, culminating in a fully functional, beautiful prototype ready to show to investors.
To outfit the design for sheet metal fabrication, we had to provide entire redesigns of the modularity functions that Reid required in his product. Oat Foundry made this blueprint with our knowledge of sheet metal fabrication and 3D modeling tools, then sent technical drawings to a local fabricator for individual parts that were to be welded together and assembled in-house by us. However, due to the highly-customized geometry of certain sheet metal parts, no fabricator we found had the correctly-sized bending die necessary for the task. So, we used our 12-ton hydraulic press and 3D printer to create the custom bends labeled “un-doable” by the fabricators. As it turns out, bending 16 gauge stainless steel with plastic is quite doable with the right tools and a little ingenuity!
Oat Foundry then welded, painted, and assembled the tower. The final design offered near-endless modularity of shelving options, with the entire tower itself being able to reduce to half-size in seconds, providing support for floor or desk-mounted configurations. Combined with the solid construction and spotless race car red finish, the eShelf prototype fabrication was a complete success.
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