A small contribution to fighting covid-19

Lisa has been a 2nd grade teacher at Clintonville Academy. This is a small private school in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, OH. She has been with them a long time, great people and terrific students and parents. With the current global situation, Lisa felt that a table top screening system would allow her to continue intimate small group instruction. We looked at several different screen configurations; from an “H” setup to small screens that surrounded each student. After really thinking about it, I suggested that we go with an “X” shape.

The table she wants to use is not square and would not take 5 way 1/2 PVC couplers in the center. I decided that I would just have to make something that would allow the wings to move independently. By allowing the panels to move, she could set it on the floor for when the students are interacting and playing educational games.

After my license to Solidworks expired, I finally biting the bullet and used Fusion 360 to design the pieces that I needed for this. I have posted the 1/2″ Schedule 40 PVC 4 way moving connector to Thingiverse. It took a bit to figure out how to use Fusion. There a somethings that are just not the same, for example; you cannot anchor an object to a plane and for the life of me, I could not find a way to create an infinite construction line. I got around this by creation a grid of construction lines, that went through the original and were constrained by length and midpoint. That gave me the ability to constrain sketch objects to. Most of the forums talk about this and not really being an issue. I am retentive about fully constraining my sketches. Solidworks has a feature to help you find the missing constraint. Again, something else the I am not sure exists in Fusion 360.

I also designed a foot that would clip on to the PVC pipe to help hold the panel in an upright fashion. This adds additional support to the panel and is a place that can be taped or velcroed down to keep the panel from moving around. Each of the panels have two of these and they clip on to the 1/2″ PVC pipe similar to the center brackets.

Printing all of the parts took a few hours. I printed 2 prototypes in all and adjusted the thickness of the “clips” to be flexible, but not break.

The panels are 27″ x 32″. So with the center section, the panels will cover a distance of 55″ on the diagonal. Refer to the picture in the header. Most of the parts were all sourced locally from the local big box store. During the process of making this, we found a plexiglass single partition and another big box stores, for $60. Wow. Here is the parts list, including the source, qty and cost;

1/2″ Sch40 PVC – 25″ Long8$4.1810′ – $2.09 x 2Lowe’s Link
1/2″ Sch40 PVC – 30″ Long8$6.2710′ – $2.09 x 3Lowe’s Link
Self tapping screws32$4.98100 CountLowe’s Link
Vinyl Panels4$9.984 yrd @ 54″ wide (50% coupon)Joann Fabric’s Link
grommets32$2.00Tool was $40. I used almost no grommetsAmazon Link
Zip ties48 I had theseAmazon Link
PLA plastic $1.00I had a spoolMicrocenter Link

The grommet hand tool was the major purchase with this. I have the type grommets that uses a hammer with a punch, but that was just terrible to use. I bit the bullet and bought a 3/8 (10mm) hand tools for this. It punches a hole and crimps the grommet in one step. I originally started with some PVC clamps that go on the outside of the PVC pipe and hold material in place. They never fit just right. To tighten the vinyl, you had to twist the clamps and it caused vinyl to crimp in the ends. Really ugly. The grommets are the way to go. The vinyl is 8 gauge clear, that Lisa had a 50% off coupon for Joann Fabric. Due to the way the zip ties pull on the grommets, I think we should have gone with 12 gauge. They seem to hold up ok, we will have to see.

As for keeping the frames together, I went with self-tapping screws; instead of glue or the vinyl itself. I wanted to make sure that they could be taken apart and moved around at a later date. I built a jig for my drill press for the elbows. Worked great. The screws are at opposing sides on the elbow flange. It requires 8 screws per panel. After the panels frames were made, I cut the vinyl to fit, use the crimp tool to insert grommets into the vinyl, and then the zip ties to put it all together.

After I built this, I started working with the rest of the school staff, to design and build shields for desks. More to come on this. This was a small thing, but it felt good to help out. Thank you to Clintonville Academy for allowing me the opportunity to help out.

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