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For the groups Fixperts project worked alongside Royal Mail, as a member of our group had connections with them. As a group we travelled to West
Brompton, to a newly outfitted Royal Mail distribution centre where our fixpartner, Richard Hoile, informed us of their problem; These new distribution
centres are manned by one or two people, who spend the majority of the time out back, rather than sitting behind the main reception desk. This is an
issue as it leaves monitors, PDA’s, keyboards and computer mice unguarded, meaning people could come and take them. The computer monitors are
held down with a Kensington lock which Royal Mail are afraid will give the customers the impression that the do not trust them. Additionally, many of
their customers become very short tempered when problems arise in the collection of their parcels, and have been known to verbally and occasionally
lock from the customers, as well as providing additional protection to the staff. A problem we encountered with some initial concepts we had on the
day was the fact that the staff would be unable to retrofit a product to the work surface without getting a contractor to fit it, thus we decided to make
a device that doesn’t need to be screwed to the surface and requires no special skill to fit it. The fact our product wouldn’t be permanently fixed in
place would offer the staff the ability to move it, and their desk equipment around the work surface, a feature that wouldn’t be possible with a fixed
screen. The wires and cables coming from behind the monitor are very unsightly and contrast with the rest of the new, tidy distribution centre. Our
product would have to therefore in keep with the sleek modern design of the room to hide all the wires, making the whole thing much neater. We
also decided that as the rest of the room, and Royal Mail in general is attributed with the colours red and white, that we would make our product
these colours too, so that it fitted well in the room. The final issue we faced was the fact that many of these distribution centres have different
thicknesses of their desks vary, therefore we would have to design our product to be adjustable, as we wanted it to be able to clip under the desk.
On this page are the rough
sketches I did for our prod-
uct. As a group we decided to
use the image above as the
concept to make on rig day.
The first thing we had to do was cut the different lengths of wood
to the required sizes and then we planned out how our product
would go together before actually assembling it. Whilst measuring
it we realised it needed to be slightly wider, to fit both the keyboard
and the mouse with enough room to be used comfortably.
When it came to fastening the pieces together, we initially cut
come of the off cuts into 45 degree sections and attempted to
nail these into the corners, where the planks met. However we
were able to find metal brackets which did the job a lot better.
We had to get a few pieces cut from the technicians as we were una-
ble to use the workshop machinery ourselves. This posed as a prob-
lem as it meant not only did we have to wait in line to get work done,
but we also had to explain exactly what we wanted done, where-
as it would have been much easier to have done it ourselves.
Once finished with our rig build, we placed it on a table to view it and as-
sess whether the under table clipping system worked correctly, which it
did, however it was not adjustable as we had previously planned on doing.
We then had a meeting with our fixpartner, Richard, to gain his views on our initial concept. Although ultimately
happy with the system we had devised, we ended up coming to the conclusion that the product needed to
be deeper, as well as being open at one side as to not restrict the staff. To the right is my sketch for the new
design which I drew in a group meeting, this was ultimately the design that we as a group decided to go with.
Before making the final product, I designed a 3D rendering on Google SkethUp, which I felt better portrayed
the design to others than any drawing would do, as it gave a complete 360 degree view. I then designed the
illustrator file that we laser cut. The pieces we laser cut were the two white acrylic screens and the red under
table clip. We then went to the metal workshop and gave our technical drawing to a technician to manufacture.
Once fully assembled we were able to set up our product
on a table and ensure that it worked correctly, which it did.
Unfortunately, due to a delay in the metalwork shop we
were ultimately unsuccessful in bringing our final product
back to our fixpartner for his final opinion, however we still
intent to do this so that we can fully conclude the project.