A4: 3D Printed Orange Peeler

3D Printed Orange Peeler Black and WhiteAssignment A3 is a 3D printed object. The specifications for this assignment weren’t very specific, only that it had to be a tool or “something that would be useful in your everyday life.” Beyond that, we were also required to use the following primitive operations in Rhinoceros:

  • Extrusion
  • Revolution
  • Boolean (adding or subtracting one object from another)

Additionally, we were supposed to be mindful of time to print and filament use, but nothing specific. For my tool, I decided to make an orange peeler.

For any image, click to get a closer look.

The Design

Final measurements sketch for orange peeler
These are the final measurements I ended up using for the orange peeler, although I did make a few adjustments later, such as the placement of the blade.

One of the biggest challenges of this orange peeler was figuring out the size and curvature. Without any research on how people usually peel oranges, I was left to my own devices to figure out what would get the job done.

orange peeler sketch 1

orange peeler sketch 2
These are my preliminary sketches and calculations for the orange peeler


Circle graph for orange peeler
I graphed out the circle to get an approximation of the size of an orange. This was before I purchased a physical orange

Though I did a few calculations based on averages I found on the internet, most of my numbers came from an actual orange I bought from the grocery store. The navel orange I purchased had a circumference of 12.5″, diameter of 3.98″, and a peel thickness of 0.25″ and 0.375″ when I measured in two different places. The orange also had a weight of 0.96 lbs. I used these numbers to calculate the curvature of the peeler.

Unlike A3, the math was a bit more involved for this project, so I used an online arc length calculator. My measurements can be seen in the picture of my final measurements above, but for reference: the peeler has an overall width of 1.75″ (chord length), and is constructed from a 60-degree wedge of a circle with radius 1.75″. I decided to use a radius of 1.75″, considering that a peeler with a larger radius would fit a smaller orange, but not the other way around.

Arc length calculator
Once I put in the desired radius and width into the calculator, it gave me some other useful numbers about the arc. I didn’t end up using all of these numbers, but it was quite useful.

For the ring, I looked up standard ring sizes using this website. The average ring size for women is a 7, average for men is a 10. But the ring doesn’t (and shouldn’t) have to fit the finger perfectly, so I used the largest ring size listed, which is a size 14.5 (23.6 mm diameter).

I then used these numbers to create an object in Rhinoceros, and moved the blade to the middle of the peeler.

3D Orange Peeler in Rhino
I created an object in Rhino according to the dimensions I’d calculated

The Prototype

Final orange peeler
This was the final result. Luckily nothing went wrong during printing, so I only had to run it once

For printing, I used fewer polygons for a smoother circle. The printing process took about two hours. Afterwards I used precision knife to shave off any extra printed material around the edges, resulting in the orange peeler you see above.

Analysis after testing + Reflection

orange successfully peeled
Here is the orange I peeled using my orange peeler. It worked pretty well, though I think the blade was a little long

Does it work? Yes. The orange peeler successfully peeled the orange. However, the blade was a little long and cut into the orange. Though I did measure the blade, it occurred to me that the blade did not have to pierce the entirety of the peel– just enough to get a good cut in. If I were to remake this orange peeler, I’d probably do some more research on what the ideal length for the blade would be.

I also got feedback from my peers on this orange peeler, though it was somewhat… interesting. Some of the comments I got were very helpful, and would definitely guide my revisions if I were to do any. Some thought it had good ergonomics and that it was a “cool concept” and was “smart,” but also thought that the peeler itself could be extruded less/could be thinner. On the other hand, some people did not seem to grasp the idea of an orange peeler in the way I thought they would. Though I did tell them it was an orange peeler, and the design is based off of orange peelers that are currently commercially available, many people were confused about how to use it. Some commented that the blade wasn’t sharp enough (even though the blade doesn’t have to be sharp at all), that the ring didn’t fit snug against their fingers, or that they weren’t sure which finger to put through the ring.

This brings me to an interesting point. I am of of the opinion that a well-designed gadget of this type should need little explanation to be used. If it is not intuitive, it likely needs revising. However, as I mentioned before, orange peelers that are similar in shape to mine already exist on the market, and have proven to be effective tools. Furthermore, my peers did not actually test the peeler– they touched it and looked at it, but there were no oranges present. It may be that my peers needed to try to use the peeler on an actual orange to discover for themselves if it is a good design or not.

So, in considering these last comments, can I a say that my design was successful? On one hand yes, since it works, and is comparable to its market counterparts. On the other hand, however, can I call the design successful if new users have difficulty with it, even if it is already an established product? I can’t say I have a definite answer to that question, though I will say that if I were to make revisions, I would definitely try to improve the intuitiveness of the design.



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