Lawn care products can be deceptively difficult to design. Often requiring two hands to use, they must be operated in a variety of positions, and must move with the operator. Black & Decker needed a next-gen cordless string trimmer, and Sprocket was pleased to handle the industrial design.

With its relatively large internal battery, a cordless trimmer is much different than its corded cousin. Although heavier, there is an opportunity to balance the cantilever effect of the motor head by placing the battery near the handle. It became a human factors challenge to find a center-of-gravity that would account for this trimmer's adjustable-length shaft; necessary to accommodate taller operators. There are only so many places to put a battery, and cost constraints meant we could not have an adjustable handle. Proper placement of the forward handle was critical, because it would become the 'fulcrum' when the tool was in-use.

To solve these competing requirements, a 'frankenstein' model was cobbled together from parts of other string trimmers. Sprocket was able to move the battery and handles to different locations for balance, to set a proper length for the shaft, and determine its angle to the ground. These factors guided the design process, ensuring that people of different heights could use the tool while keeping the cutting head properly angled to the grass. With the 'hard points' set, it was time to design a housing which built upon B&D's corporate identity.

Sprocket was up to the challenge. Working through a series of sketch ideations, while keeping the internal components arranged in 3D according to the frankenstein model, we arrived at an attractive solution. Following methods we have honed for over a decade, Sprocket created the production exterior surface design in Alias, for delivery to B&D's CATIA team. With a practiced eye and attention to internal details and clearances, your product can end up looking nearly identical to the sketch concept, as this one did.

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