Assistive Zipper Device

This idea came from a published author and user of MMC devices, Brenda. She has created a list of potential ideas for devices. This post describes one of the device ideas:

Project Idea:
This device would be alike the devices in our low AT kit with the goal of aiding in aligning the two parts of an existing zipper for individuals with limited hand mobility. So initiating the insertion of one side of the zipper into the part with the tab. A diagram for clarity is below. This would ideally be used in clothing with zippers so the properties of fabric must be considered.

There is commercial zipper hooks but they do not aid in getting the two pieces of the zipper together initially. A device like this may help spark some ideas in development though.

Support needed:
We are looking for a designer/maker to develop this device. Brenda is open for contact for any feedback or details but currently is not on the forum, so feel free to reach out in the comments to be put in contact.

Edit: Clarification that ideally this would be for use with a garment that has an existing zipper.

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There is a commercial zipper design called the MagZip® that uses magnets and a latch to help align and secure the zipper connection (https://www.idealfastener.com/magzip/). It is a patented design, but could offer some inspiration for a device to adapt existing zippers.

There is a video of a young woman using the zipper with one hand here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ_eygo0R58

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Yes, Ankhgear (formerly MagZip) sells just the zippers, too, at https://ankhgear.com/pages/components.

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Is this design challenge for a stand-alone zipper (which must then be sewn into clothing) or for an addon device which can supplement an existing zipper on existing clothing?

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Hi @KenHackbarth ! Ideally this would be made for clothing that already has a zipper. A use case example could be an individual living with arthritis that has a hard time getting the zipper initiated due to limited precision in their hands.

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@Tyler_Fentie I would suggest a modular design that can be clipped/unclipped from any item of clothing that increases the grip size. For example built up clothesline pins or chip clips, bearing in mind the strength required to take the clips on and off.

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@jbengall1 That’s a great idea! I’d like to see what that design would look like, if you do any prototyping please share it here :slight_smile:

Imagine using two of these - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1212828/files - as a mated set - on the outside face of the clips are a M/F slot receiver. The clips could be attached to either side of the zipper and gives something larger to help align the zipper. You could attach the clips when the garment is zipped up, and that would help set the correct distance for zipper engagement. What do you think of this? Could be scaled up/down as needed. Attached is a concept sketch -

-Noam

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Thanks for the time spent on this @noamplatt! I like this idea! I just want to follow up with some questions so I understand fully. Is it intended that the user would use the clips to pinch the m/f zipper parts and then use it to align? or would they attach on the side via glue or magnets or something else on the side like In the sketch? Do you have access to a 3D printer to print these out and do some tests?

@Tyler_Fentie

Great questions - The idea is that the user would attach the clips to either side of the zipper, and use the clips to align the zipper. The clips act as oversized grips.

I have been printing this design out and conducting testing over the past week. I did a number of iterations, and the one that works best actually has the M/F mating mechanism towards the rear of the clips. The final prototype actually works really well, and the clips provide a large surface area to grasp while using the zipper. The clips also keep the fabric taught, and there is no bunching (which makes it harder to actually zip the zipper).

I will update this post with that final prototype design based on the above model. I have photos and I will attempt to upload an animation of it working.

Additionally, I am also designing a version based off of this clip - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3768443 - which is a simpler and less conspicuous design, and also holds the fabric well. I am about 2 iterations away from getting this version working as well as the previous version.

I will try to post an update later this evening showing you the first working prototype. I will need your feedback to understand if its a feasible design for what you are looking for. I would also be happy to print and mail you a prototype for your testing

Cheers,
Noam
MMC NOLA

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I am going to make two posts, one for each design.

This first design uses the larger and more robust ‘chip clip’ as the base. It works really well once the spacing of the clips is set on the specific piece of clothing -

It is a little harder to add to the clothing (requires more strength) but it does function well.

Photos and videos here:

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The second design uses this ‘clothes pin’ design at the base. It also works well and has more flexibility in spacing then the previous design, but is more likely to slip off during regular use.

Photos and videos here:

Let me know your thoughts on the above designs, I would be happy to send a prototype for testing with the requester.

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These are great @noamplatt!! Thanks so much for the time that it took to prototype these. I would like to do some test prints of these myself as well to check them out. Would you be able to post the STL files for those designs?

@Tyler_Fentie - Absolutely, I have added the STL files to the previously posted google drive folders. Let me know if you have any issues.

I am also working on a new design based off of a paperclip style geometry. Let me know how the prints turn out.

-Noam

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Will do! I just got to wrap up some other prints and I will get back with ow they went ASAP! Interested to see how the paperclip design goes :slight_smile:

@noamplatt I just was setting up the test prints for this and it looks like the crinkle ones came in at an appropriate size but the other one’s scale is massive haha. I was wondering what size you normally scaled them down by? then I can get as close to replicating your idea/prints as possible. I will show you what it looked like when I imported them and I tried to scale down one of the larger ones

wow sorry! The ones I printed were 3" long. I can try to rescale in fusion and re-send you the file if you are still having problems with the model.

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No worries I can scale it down to 3 inches long! In the future if future makers make this if it gets added to the library then it would be necessary to size it down but no rush on that

Ok great, and you are totally right it needs to be scaled correctly. These are design sketch models so I anticipated they will need quite a bit more work before being finished. I do think the paperclip design is going to be the best one, should have that done for you to check out in a couple of weeks.

-Noam

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Thats great thanks @noamplatt! I look forward to checking out the paperclip design :slight_smile: I test printed the two current versions and the clothespin idea printed well and worked pretty good with the clothes I have on hand here. It seemed on thinner jackets such as windbreakers it was less effective so maybe that is something to look into on future designs