At the start of this studio, we began the brainstorming process by visiting Pine Street Inn, a homeless shelter in Boston. After that we listed many problems in the shelter. We also had a guest come in, Diane who was a former homeless person and now helps others by working in a shelter. She explained some of the major challenges of being out on the street. One of the problems she explained was the homeless having wet socks in the rain and getting many foot borne illnesses.
The brainstorming process led up to my first idea. I decided to harness the hot air from a subway grate (a common place for the homeless to sleep) to dry a persons socks while they were on their feet. I thought of doing that by having a box large enough to fit someones feet, with holes on the bottom for the air to come in and leg holes for said persons feet. After creating a very crude mock-up out of cardboard I realized this method was far to big. I also did some tests with a blowdryer and wet socks and after 15 minutes of blowing the socks were still wet so the idea was scrapped.
Some more sketches, brain storming and experimenting led to the idea of using centrical force to spin socks dry. I came to this idea by writing down different methods of getting things dry fast. The one that stuck me was a salad spinner with flings salad against a mesh wall and centrifugal force compresses all the water out. This lead me to using a rod with the socks attached to fling all the water to the tips and then out of the sock. I decided on I design to prototype with a flat base and a curved top. This would then slide into a garage to keep the water from flying. After some tests the design yielded inefficient in that the socks would hit the bottom panel and the design would have to be twice the size to accommodate for the flat bottom. So this idea was ditched as well.
My final idea was to use a hexagon shaped design which used way less space. At this point, I started to focus on the gears needed to power the central rod. I made a prototype of a simple gear design with a big gear and a smaller gear. This only had a small ratio (about 1:2) and the gears needed to make a bigger ratio were far too big. Some research pointed me towards planetary gear boxes, which had a outer “ring gear” and a smaller internal “planet gear”. I decided on this method and mounted it to the sock dryer with some bearings. A handle was accomplished by 3D printing two parts inserting a bearing inside and fixing them together. This was then mounted onto the ring gear. I then made a door, mounted it and the Sock Dryer 3000 was done!