Paper Management System

Designers:  Clayton Eiswirth, Megan Hanson, and Sean Huffman
Client Coordinator:  Judy Stroupe, Orange Enterprises
Supervising Professor: Richard Goldberg and Kevin Caves

The client was a middle-aged man with cerebral palsy who works at Orange Enterprises, an organization that employs adults with disabilities, helps them develop job skills, and works at placing them in jobs within the community.  He and his employer requested a device that would help him to collate two pieces of paper and fold them in a tri-fold, using only coarse movements with his left hand. The design included three components: a folding mechanism, a clipping mechanism, and a collating mechanism.

How this project helped
The Paper Management System will allow the client and others to collate and fold up to 3 pieces of paper, a task not previously possible. The client’s supervisor commented, “He would have had so much difficulty trying to do something like this before. By just using these handles the task is greatly simplified.”

The overall design (Figure 1) incorporates three components for folding, holding, and collating the paper. The folding surface is comprised of three ¼” polycarbonate panels that are connected by custom hinges, which attach on the bottom of the panels, creating a smooth surface.  A standard tri-fold is achieved by using the two levers to first fold one panel, open it, then fold the second panel and open it.  A wooden L-corner with attached rubber provides an edge for the client to push the paper against.

The holding component descends from the rear of the device to clip the paper in place while folding.  A square aluminum bar is attached to a piece of steel sheet metal, the clip.  The sheet metal has a 4” track bored lengthwise out of its center.  The bar is fitted through the guide tracks of two sets of polycarbonate.  The outer set prevents rotation with vertical guide tracks and is attached to a 10” drawer slide.  The inner set is fixed in place with angled tracks bored into the sides, allowing the bar to raise and lower as the outer set is moved back and forth with an attached copper lever.  This action causes the clip to slide onto the center panel of the folding component.  Magnets inlaid in the polycarbonate keep the clip from moving once it reaches the folding surface.  After paper is folded, moving the lever back raises the clip, and a vertical rod pushes the folded paper from the clip.

A commercial product was used so that several sheets of paper could be collated and folded simultaneously.  This collator had a right-handed lever to move a set of pages out of stationary trays.  However, our client needed a left-handed lever.  We fixed the lever arm in place, put the collation trays on 10” drawer slides, and added a left-handed lever arm.  When the client slides this lever arm, it moves the trays along the drawer slides, and the collated sheets of paper are pushed out toward the paper-folding surface.

Cost of parts for the Paper Handling System was about $330.

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