Group 23 - Swingline Electric Stapler
Our objective is to describe in detail how a personal electric stapler works. This product, as well as a regular stapler, only serves the function of stapling a stack of papers our stapler however does this automatically by using electric power. On the following page we show how to disassemble this product by accurately describing the disassembly steps. The tools that were used in each step are mentioned as well as a brief description of what difficulties each step presents. We included several pieces which we modeled in SolidWorks as well as actual pictures of the electric stapler. We also discuss in detail what materials are used to make this product and why these components are made of the specified material. To conclude this report we give recommendations and modifications that we think should be made to the stapler to improve the product. Improvements include materials used, ergonomic modifications to improve customer satisfaction and hopefully boost sales, and mechanical design changes that would probably save Swingline money overall and hopefully make the product cheaper for the consumer.
The product that we analyzed was a Swingline personal electric stapler. This stapler works by consuming electric energy, received either through an AC to DC power adepter plugged into a wall outlet or through four AA batteries, and converting it, first into rotational energy and finally into linear energy which can punch through a stack of papers. This stapler is marketed to big businesses and offices with very busy staff. This is because big companies would be stapling large quantities of thin handouts. The Swingline personal electric stapler is a big seller because it is cheaper in comparison to the big industrial staplers but it can still easily staple high volumes of 15 sheets of paper or less and it is jam resistant. Another benefit of this stapler is it makes stapling easier for consumers with injuries, such as carpal tunnel. For this project we did most of the analysis and dissection as a group which maximized our efficiency and reduced time spent on meetings. While working in a group our answers were more precise and well rounded since we were able to combine input, on the spot from every member. We did the dissection as a group so that every group member shares the same experience and has the same knowledge of the stapler. We were all responsible for each step of the project.
Before Disassembly Section
The purpose of our product is to fasten two or more pieces of paper together using metal staples. The Swingline personal electric stapler was designed to do this faster than a standard stapler. This product converts DC electrical energy to mechanical energy using a motor and gears. *however this product can operate on batteries or a wall outlet when we use the supplied AC to DC power adapter. Our product is brand new and it operates well. As you insert paper a trigger is activated which starts the motor, resulting in a stapled stack of paper. When we operate our stapler it makes a whirling noise as if it has straight cut gears meshing and rotating inside, probably rotated by a small electric motor. Before we disassembled the Swingline personal electric stapler, we guessed that it would be comprised of approximately 20 pieces, including hardware.
We think that our stapler is composed of six different types of material, which are:
- Rubber for insulation
We used four different tools and our hands in the disassemblly of our stapler. These tools included:
- A small Phillips head screwdriver
- A small flat head screwdriver
- A soldering iron
- A pair of needle nose pliers
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Disassembly Process Table
The shape of the components can’t really be changed. They look that way because that’s the way they are designed. However, there were some components which had a specific size to enhance their function. There was a lever that had a specific shape and was composed out of metal. This lever takes the rotational force of the gears and transforms it into vertical force. We think this component looks that way because the geometry of it helps to take the rotational force of the motor into vertical force. This is the force that is used to punch the staple through the papers. We know the gears had to be round since the force originated is rotational. Gears are perfect for driving rotational force. The staple tray is cubed because this is the best shape is to hold and fit staples. Overall, the relation that most components have is that they are small. We believe most of the components are small in order to reduce the size of the stapler itself.
We would suggest the following changes/improvements should be taken in consideration:
- Less wiring: The wiring for the inner circuit was too long. It was in our way when we needed to unscrew and screw as well.
- The materials used were mostly plastic which doesn’t give the stapler a strong structure. Even though this stapler is bigger and has more components than a mechanical stapler, it’s somewhat lighter. This indicates that the durability is not that good. We would have used
- Fewer gears: Although the gears are needed, they could have engineered two to three gears to certain size and obtain the same result with less gears. That would save some cost.
- One size screw fit for all: There were different sizes of screws so when it came to reassembly we had to figure out by guessing, to some extent, where would each screw go.
- The size of the stapler was quite big. We think that it’s possible to reduce the size of the stapler. The interior had open spaces that weren’t used at all.
- CAD file for selected parts
|Step#||Process||Tool(s)||Level of Difficulty|
|1||Start reassembly by inserting the motor into its designated hole in the gearbox housing. Using your fingers, press on the small motor gear. Then insert the remaining gears.||Hand||This is an easy step.|
|2||The next step is to align the pin on the gear wheel, attached to one side of the gearbox with the hole in the wheel attached to the other side of the gearbox. There is a small plastic bushing on the pin that had a tendency to slide off while we were trying to align the gearbox housing and match the wheels, which would rotate as we tried to press the pin into place. In addition to these obstacles, during this step we needed to keep the staple puncher lever on the pin as well as the plastic bushing while we reassembled the gearbox which further added to the level of difficulty. Once the housing was matched up and the pin was inserted in its hole the two gearbox hosing screws were reinserted and tightened to hold the gearbox assembly together. This step required us to use a Philips head screwdriver in conjunction with our hands.||Hand, Phillips head screwdriver||For these reasons this step was very difficult.|
|3||Once the gearbox was reassembled, the next step was to reinstall it. To do this we placed the gearbox and “staple puncher” assembly back into the middle shell of the stapler and installed the eight retaining screws (four on each side). For this step we used a Phillips head screwdriver||Phillips head screwdriver||This was an easy step because the gearbox was just set in place and we had easy access to tighten all of the screws.|
|4||Then we reinstalled the trigger attached to the staple punch. This step was confusing at first because we were concerned that we would reinstall the switch in the wrong orientation but we then realized that there is a locating pin on the “staple puncher” housing so that the switch could only be reassembled in the correct orientation. Then we had to reroute the wires through the retaining clip and insert the retaining screw with a Phillips screwdriver.||Phillips head screwdriver||This step turned out to be easy.|
|5||The next step was to reinstall the two small screws which held the plastic gear retaining bar in place. For this we used a small Phillips head screwdriver.||Phillips head screwdriver||The bar was easily installed and tightened down.|
|6||Our next reassembly step was to re-solder the wires which attach to the motor so we could operate the stapler again. To do this we used the soldering iron to melt the solder on the motor so we could reconnect the wires.||Solder||This step was difficult because we had to be careful not to melt the plastic on the motor with the heat of the soldering iron but at the same time we had to get the solder hot enough to melt|
|7||Next we pushed the upper outer shell back onto middle shell so that it clipped into place. Then using a Phillips head screwdriver, we reinstalled the two screws that help hold the upper outer shell in place.||Phillips head screw driver||This step was very easy.|
|8||Then we replaced the spring and retaining clip that was located on the underside of the middle shell of the stapler. Reinstalling the spring was somewhat tricky since the spring and cir-clip are so small. For this step we used the needle nose pliers to help squeeze the cir-clip back into place while we used the flathead screwdriver to hold down the spring to keep pressure off of the cir-clip.||Needle nose pliers||Since the spring and cir-clip are so small and we needed to get two tools in a relatively small space this step was moderately difficult.|
|9||We then pushed the electric receiver back into its clip in the lower outer shell. We did this by spreading the two clips far enough apart for the electric receiver to be popped back in but to reinstall the receiver we did not need to separate the clips as much due to the angled surface on the clip which helped to guide the receiver into place when we pushed on it. We used our hands for this step.||Hand||Since less force was used to install the switch there was less of a chance that we were going to break something so this step was easier during reassembly than during disassembly.|
|10||Finally we replaced the lower outer shell. To do this we needed to make sure that none of the wires got pinched or interfered with the lower shell. Once all of the wires were clear however, the lower other shell was easily set into position. We then installed the four retaining screws on the bottom with a Philips head screwdriver and lastly we pushed the four rubber feet back into their recesses.||Phillips head screwdriver||This step was very easy.|
The Swingline Personal Electric Stapler works as it follows: the paper triggers a switch that signals the circuit board to turn the motor on. The motor rotates a series of gears that trips a lever that punches a staple. The product does run as it did before disassembly
The following models analyses could be used to test and\or design the Swingline Personal Electric Stapler:
- Drop tests: To determine if the product is durable. This is more of a stress and/or fatigue based analysis. For this analysis the model wouldn’t have to be as precise since this is generally used to test the materials of the product. This is mostly a physical model
- FEA (finite element analysis): This is a computer based analysis of stresses on a virtual model. With this analysis the model would need to be precise since data would be put into a computer to have an actual product. This is a computer aided model mixed with mathematical model.
- Reverse Engineering: This is based on taking apart the product and studying its elements and parts in order to have a more detailed knowledge of the product. This is a conceptual model.
- Fatigue test: This is based on using the product until it breaks to see how durable it is. In our case, we would staple as many times as the stapler would allow us. This is more of a physical model.
- Overall the analyses models could be estimates because this product does not have a complex function.
With respect to the disassembly/assembly processes, the assembly was the reverse of the disassembly. We believe this was because there was little synchronizing of the parts so everything could just be back as it was before. We were able to reassemble the entire product. This was easy to do since there were very few pieces that would hold the whole product together. We used very few tools (screw-drivers, solder, pliers and hands). We used the same tools that we used to disassemble were used to reassemble. It was more a matter of patience since most parts were very small.
At the product level (operation, manufacturing, assembly, design, configuration, etc.), we would recommend a simpler inner system. We believe the inner core was too complex for the function it had. Simplifying the inside system would reduce costs and make the product somewhat cheaper, or even better, use the saved money in assembling better materials to make it more durable. This was one of the issues we found on the product. The material used to protect the inner casing was a very thin plastic that could break just by falling off from a table down to a tile floor. In remarks to the shape and/or design of the product we believe it’s very vague and too simple. It doesn’t have any style or any appeal to it. We would recommend a better design. Something with more style and color. We saw more staplers that were more attractive to the eye, but they were obviously more expensive.
Some recommendations we would suggest to the Swingline company is to eliminate the circuit board. It occupies space and the function it has can be done by a simple trigger switch. Also reduce the size of the outer shell and using a stronger material. In addition, we advise to offer different colors, that way the customer has a little style selection. The price of the product is somewhat expensive; in consequence we recommend to reduce costs. The fact that this is a big selling product does not mean it is the best product around. We believe this product sells mostly to big companies. Individuals would be better off with a manual stapler. It’s cheaper and more efficient to some extent.
After all the reverse engineering applied, the Electric Personal Stapler was still functional
Swingline Personal Electric Stapler, Staples. November 29 ,2007, From http://www.staples.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/StaplesProductDisplay?&langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10051&productId=19348&cmArea=SEARCH#desclink.