trevor Fowler

Trevor Fowler (‘21) is a Mechanical Engineering major with extensive experience in engineering design. He specializes in using 3D printing to design parts iteratively and at low cost. Working on devices such as autonomous underwater vehicles and gorilla blood pressure cuff holders has given Trevor a breadth of experience and an ability to tackle a wide range of problems.

Tough Cuff

Gorillas and other great apes, especially those living in zoos, often have problems with heart disease, so measuring their blood pressure is an important part of health monitoring. Working with Dr. Daniel Schmitt of Duke’s evolutionary anthropology department, DesignHub engineers re-created the original “Tough Cuff,” a Georgia-Tech designed blood pressure cuff holder for gorillas and tailored its design to suit the needs of the NC Zoo. By taking advantage of Duke’s free communal 3D printing and fastener supply, the team supplied a functional prototype to Dr. Schmitt at no cost to him or the zoo.

lemur center attachments

When the lemur center started planning to build a new network of enclosures for their mouse lemurs and fat-tailed dwarf lemurs, they knew they’d need a few dozen gate-like subassemblies to connect the main enclosures with the tunnels that run between them. Rather than making these by hand as they had in the past, they turned to DesignHub for a set of printed parts. The team took the best aspects of their existing design and made a version with enhanced locking features that was ready for small batch-manufacturing.

Lemur Pulleys

A set of particularly problematic pulleys at the lemur center needed replacing, but instead of simply buying another set of pulleys from the original manufacturer, lemur center staff turned to DesignHub, which was able to provide a better design at much lower cost. The new pulleys’ short lifetimes, however, brought lemur center staff back to DesignHub for a second iteration of the design. By shifting material to reduce stress concentrations and printing in a tougher resin, DesignHub engineers ensured the new generation of pulleys will be able to serve for a longer period of time.

3d Printer Adjustment

A group of graduate biologists at Duke bought a gel matrix extruder head for their bioprinter only to find that during the pre-print calibration routine, the extruder struck the polycarbonate door of the printer, knocking it open and causing the routine to halt. After visiting the lab and seeing the printer’s problem firsthand, it became clear that the issue could be resolved by simply offsetting the door forward by about an inch. To best suit the client’s needs, DesignHub engineers decided to solve the problem without fasteners; a series of friction fits and orthogonal dovetails firmly secured the 3D printed pieces of the insert to existing structures on the printer.

Adjustable Probe Holders

The biomedical engineering researchers who commissioned this project needed their ultrasound probes precisely oriented relative to each other, and they needed the system that does it to be compact. Orienting precise instruments requires very fine adjustment. This probe holder is designed with 10mm diameter bearings and is adjusted with screws that have 40 threads per inch to ensure minimal undesired motion and easy adjustability with 0.1 degree precision. 3D printing with Duke’s free resources allowed the holder to be created for roughly 10% of the cost of a comparable commercial product.

Dental Intubation Gaurd

Intubation provides air to patients’ lungs when they can’t get enough by themselves. As the COVID-19 pandemic increased the number of intubated patients, it also increased the incidence of intubation-related injuries, highlighting the need for a device that can prevent them. DesignHub built an intubation mouthguard that supports the breathing tube (holding it away from the lips, gums, and tongue) and distributes bite- and gravity-caused pressure over sixteen teeth in the front of the mouth rather than four. This device can be injection-molded for scale production and is able to keep patients’ mouths healthy while they recover from other illnesses!