tl;dr: I designed a tool that makes it easier to deploy and pack the clips of a portable ECG machines, saving time when every second counts.
The team I’m part of has been supporting our local Emergency Medical Services department with fabrication needs for some time now: it started during the pandemic with 3D printable face shields, and continued since with tools like training equipment.
A few weeks ago, the EMS team came to us with our first opportunity to design a tool for them: the clips for their portable ECG machines were getting tangled during transportation, leading to time lost on intervention site – when every second counts. They showed us a design available on the the NIH 3D database that kinda looked like what they wanted, and asked us to have a go at solving this problem with a custom tool.
Based on our collaboration so far, I knew that anything we would produce for our EMS team has to be easy to produce, easy to use, and easy to repair or replace. With these guidelines in mind I designed a device that does the job!
It can be 3D printed quickly, because it’s just the right size, requiring little to no supports with a low print failure rates thanks to its shape, its orientation on the print plate and its surface area.
It’s easy to use without instructions: the symmetrical shape of the tool and its grooves intuitivey guide the user into setting and securing the ECG clips correctly.4
I also increased the tolerances across the board to allow cables to help them slide better. On a suggestion from my colleague Brian, I opened up the round grooves into U-shapes to reduce friction even more, allowing the clips to slide along the cables with little pressure.
That’s it! Our EMS services picked these up a few weeks ago and have had no particular feedback for me. If your tool works so well that it becomes invisible in an emergency, it counts as a win in my book!
Finally, a tapered tongue-and-slot design makes the closure system convenient and easy to use.