Swivel Right

User Story

Aric graduated from college, and currently employed as the assistant director of program distribution of a baseball team. He has a diagnosis of cerebral palsy with high tone and spasticity. He loves to be outside, play video games, watch baseball. He values his independence and his family. He currently has challenges with eating with a spoon due to high tone, limited supination and pronation, and limited grip strength. He sometimes gag during self-feeding, potentially due to how the spoon is contacting teeth/gums upon entrance to mouth. He would like to be able to eat independently.

Problem Statements

User Need Statement Point of View Question
“Aric is an adult with cerebral palsy who has a hard time feeding himself with a spoon because of high muscle tone and spasticity.” “How can we help Aric be independent in eating with a spoon?”

Design Process

Revisions and Design Updates

Feedback from faculty: the axis on our first prototype is in the wrong direction; change it to a y-axis rather than a x-axis.

Feedback from faculty: using a nail to secure the swivel mechanism isn’t ideal, consider the use of a metal dowel instead of nails if using hardware at all to create the swivel mechanism; adjust the weight of the spoon to avoid drooping (a lighter spoon would work better, and thermoplastics could be used to create the swivel mechanism.

We trial printed a handle to test out our design on the 3D printer. We got feedback from faculty that we need to ensure that our 3D designs on Tinkercad are flush with the work-plane on the software to prevent gaps/errors in printing, as occurred in in our trial print.

Client feedback: Aric was very on-board with the idea swivel-spoon with an extended handle. He notified us that he can use T or L-shaped extended handles, but that T-shaped extended handles work better. So, if he likes our hand-made swivel spoon with the L handle, we will need to reprint to be T shaped-rather than L-shaped, because it is currently being 3D printed as an L. Either that or we will extend our 3D printed L handle with thermoplastics.

We also introduced our 2nd prototype to our client, which was a handle that could be attached to an already manufactured swivel spoon. Aric also liked this idea, and agreed that this idea would be easier to naturally adjust to a T-handle on its own. Aric also informed us that the swivel spoon that was being ordered for him got denied by insurance so is no longer coming. So if he does prefer this design to our other design, we will need to order a swivel spoon to go with this.

Final Design

Final design description: “Swivel Right Express” & “Swivel Right Pro”

The Swivel Right Pro in action:

The Swivel Right Express in action:

Design plan:


  • Swivel Right Pro:
    • The L-shaped and foam-padded handle of the Swivel Right Pro is a unique adaptation for an individual who struggles with forearm supination. While the angle of the L-shaped handle may prove advantageous, the drawback of uneven weight distribution across the length of the spoon may outweigh the benefits of the shape for some clients. The foam padding of this design provides an extra layer of comfort over the 3D printer filament material. Additionally, the 3D printed handle is rounded on one side to provide a comfortable grip for the user.
  • Swivel Right Express:
    • The T-shaped handle will help accommodate a natural pronated grasp for spoon use. This handle has attachment slots for velcro inserts. The velcro will add an adjustable factor for the user to move the swivel spoon’s position as needed. In addition, the Swivel Right Express will work with any swivel spoon, regardless of the distributor.

Swivel spoon:

  • Swivel Right Pro:
    • Hand crafting a swivel spoon mechanism is a cheaper option to creating a swivel spoon than purchasing a pre-manufactured one. For this reason, we have decided to try our hand at hand crafting one that, thus far, is durable. However, we anticipate seeing it running into issues of breaking due to wear over time. The upside of thermoplastic as the swivel mechanism is that even if it did snap or break, it is easy to reheat it and mold it back together. A user may need instruction for this though if they are not familiar with thermoplastic molding.
  • Swivel Right Express:
    • Utilizing a pre-manufactured swivel spoon helps ensure the durability and sustainability of the spoon design as a whole, as it is made with metal hardware that is more secure than thermoplastic material used in the Swivel Right Pro. The downfall of using a pre-manufactured swivel spoon is that it is much more costly than hand crafting a swivel-spoon from an inexpensive spoon and small amount of thermoplastic.
    • Utilizing a pre-manufactured swivel spoon also allows for easier cleaning than a hand-crafted swivel spoon does, as there is no need to use a certain temperature of water to avoid changing the shape of the spoon. A pre-manufactures swivel spoon will not change shape.
    • Lastly, setup with a pre-manufactured swivel spoon is more straightforward than a hand-crafted one. It just requires manipulated velcro straps, which most people are familiar with. This is an additional benefit to providing a client with this design in addition to the hand crafted design.

Material considerations:

Item Price Amount of Item Used & Approximated Cost Properties Alternative(s) Considered
Black thermoplastic sheets from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/theromplastic (Links to an external site.)

$29.95 for 2 17” x 21” sheets ¼ of 1 sheet; $3.67 Strong, Moldable, can sustain high temperature, and easy to clean InstaMorph (easier to mold but not as durable)
Silicon Spoon from Dollar Tree $1.00 1 spoon; $1.00 Silicon, metal, sturdy A plastic spoon or could’ve made out of thermoplastic
3-D printing filament for Swivel Right Express:

https://www.amazon.com/filament (Links to an external site.)

$17.99 for 2lbs of white filament $0.51 based on 3D printer output Durable, can sustain high temperature, easy to clean Make the handle out of thermoplastic
3-D printing filament for Swivel Right Pro:

https://www.amazon.com/filament (Links to an external site.)

$17.99 for 2lbs of white filament $0.98 based on 3D printer output Durable, can sustain high temperature, easy to clean Make the handle out of thermoplastic
Swivel Spoon from Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Swivelspoon (Links to an external site.)

$11.44 1 swivel spoon; $11.44 Manufactured, durable, easy to clean InstaMorph
Armacell Insulation Tape from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Armacell (Links to an external site.)

$21.90 for 30’ roll 10”; $0.61 Adhesive on one side, ⅛” thick, soft Hot glue foam to the handle
Hook and Loop Velcro from Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/velcro (Links to an external site.)

$13.50 for 1 inch 30 foot roll $0.30 for 8” Reusable, strong holding Adhesive velcro

Budget (cost of materials): 

“Swivel Right Pro” cost = $6.26

“Swivel Right Express” cost = $12.25

Product critique

Strengths of final product: a swivel spoon is one type of adaptive spoon that Aric has yet to try, and the swivel-spoon also is generally notorious for helping prevent spills when using utensils. Spilling is one of the primary challenges Aric faces when trying to feed himself with a spoon independently.

Additionally, T & L-shaped handle, which we have gone with for our designs, are reportedly successful handle-types for our client.

Weaknesses of final product:

  • Presently, the angle of the handle is 90º. A different, more specific angle may suit Aric’s grip even more.
  • The Swivel Right made from scratch was 3D printed before learning that Aric prefers “T” to “L” shaped handles. This would be changed in the future to meet his preference.
  • The bowl of the spoons does not have a shelled back. Incorporating this in the future could further match the way Aric manipulates food on spoons with his teeth.

Suggestions on improving product’s design/construction:

  • Add a concave top on the Swivel Right Express
  • For the future, 3-D print the swivel mechanism for the Swivel Right Pro
  • 3-D print a T-shape handle for the Swivel Right Pro
  • Be more conscious of safe materials
  • Measure client’s palm for handle length


Manufacturing instructions: Manufacturing Instructions

User instructions: User Instructions

Student designers: Madeline Belanger, La’Tisha Chambers, Kelly Hancock, Naziirah Vines

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.