During my first year of engineering, I completed an “Introduction to Engineering” course (ECOR 1101) that sampled various topics from mechanical CAD to engineering ethics. For the CAD portion, we were tasked in groups to redesign a simple mechanical component. As a past Scout and backcountry camper, one thing that I thought could be improved is the humble tent peg that is used to prevent a camping tent from shifting around during the night (or blowing away if it’s windy!).
My group decided to improve the tent peg by adding a handle for easier removal from the ground. We also added notches along the length of the peg in order to increase the force required to remove it from the ground. I was tasked with modelling the peg, using a parametric CAD software called PTC Creo.
The complex shape of the peg made it a difficult first modelling project. The handle portion presented the greatest challenge in order to make it ergonomic. I decided to make it hollow in order to reduce the amount of material required to manufacture the peg.
If the peg were to be manufactured in large quantities, injection moulding with ABS plastic would be used. For prototyping, 3D printing was used instead. Thus, some constraints were given: maximum dimensions of 5″ x 5″ x 5″ and a maximum volume of 1 cubed inch. Thus, a scale version of the original 10-inch tent peg was produced. The schematic below shows compliance to the size specification. This was successfully 3D-printed using the STL file exported from Creo.