October 27, 2021
"Where's the straw?" A question I often ask when opening the canned lubricant and delicious liquid snack cabinet. This simple, reusable, universal straw clip has great after-market potential, is easy to produce at home and scale to mass production.
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Overview of the concept:
I built a prototype of the clip. It was trickier than anticipated. There was an unanticipated delicate relationship between the can circumference, the straw grip arch size, and grip cylinders. This version is close and should only need refinements such as rounding edges for a cleaner look.
It works nicely across the small sampling of cans and straws I had on hand.
- Can Diameter: 52 - 66mm
- Straw Diameters: 2 - 3mm
For curiosity's sake, I tested the clip on water bottles and a large can of Aquanet hairspray (I use it for 3D printing and a little glam touch-up in the lab when I feel disheveled). Worked nicely. The limit of the clip appears to be around 77mm diameter. The key is to decide on the smallest diameter can you want to support and reduce that by about 3mm. If you need to work with cans larger than 77mm, you'll need to sacrifice the lower limit.
The product name should not be called “Straw Clip” since this brings up a plethora of products that clip drinking straws to cups. I’d consider calling it "Straw Stow", "Straw Clamp", "Bob", or similar.
A Derivative Product Concept:
Interestingly enough, with minor modifications, the clip design should work nicely for routing wires and tubing along PVC pipe-based projects. The clip can snap on the PVC pipe and retain wires running along the length of the pipe. Possible modifications for this use:
Increase arch diameter and cylinder grips to handle a standard AC power cable diameter. The rest should handle standard ethernet, low voltage power, USB, etc. Of course if your routing tubing (EG: LLDPE, vinyl, etc) you'd design for those diameters.
Add thicker sidewall to increase grip/pinch strength (try 3mm). Since wires are heavy you’ll need extra holding power so it doesn’t pop off the pipe.
Since PVC diameters vary widely, you’ll probably need to make clips for a range of pipes. EG: 1/2” - 3/4”, “1.0” - 1.25”, so on.
Unlike the straw clip, I think a PVC clip could be sold in packs on Amazon since people will want a lot of them for a single project. Hmmm...interesting.