We were given a 4-week time frame to design our very own toothbrush. There were no real limitations on the overall design, only the specification that we would have to create 2 different color variations and have one final prototype with bristles. .My finished product and named it the "Gull Brush" due to it's flared wing shape.
The ideation process of the toothbrush was very tough to narrow down initially. There are a lot of unique designs already in the market, and I didn't want to make something that felt generic. My quick sketches were helpful to play with some ideas but it's the balsa wood models that really solidified my concept. The mock-up on the left was one idea I played with because of how the base fit snugly within the hand. But then I turned the design around and had a eureka moment. The cavern created by the bent wings of the wood felt amazing in my hand and worked well with the minor adjustments I noticed myself doing with my thumb while brushing my teeth with a standard toothbrush. I then fleshed out the idea with some additional sketches shown on the right. The design matched the unique look I was hoping to achieve while staying clean and minimalistic.
The work process for this project was extremely fast paced and had little room for error. We started by laser cutting our toothbrush designs (drawn in illustrator) out of a thin acrylic. From there since my design required a slight wing shape, I had to make a mold out of MDF that I would then bend the heated acrylic over. This was the toughest part of the whole process because I had trouble getting symmetry and minimal air bubbles. Once I had my final acrylic shape, I set it within a clay chamber and made a complete mold that would then be used to cast my final product. It took many casts and a lot of color experimentation to figure out the look I was going for. Due to the fact that each cast would take about 30 minutes to set it was a race to see how many versions I could attempt to find the perfect color. Eventually I decided on a mixing of colors that created a very interesting aesthetic similar to that of marble. Once I had the main body of the brush, I needed to drill a hole pattern and hand lay the bristles of the brush. This required buying a regular toothbrush, gluing the original bristles into clusters, and then flipping them and placing them into my pre-drilled holes. A very tasking process that yielded a realistic result.