Designing new "Air Boards"
The lab needed a new system for aerating their tests. They have many small sample beakers that need a consistent and even flow of air to them. The old system they used required lots of connections and adjustments, and took up a lot of counter space in the testing area. Using their size requirements, I designed and built new boards.
- The boards have larger manifolds to deliver equal airflow to all samples, and limits the number of feed lines going from the air pump to each test.
- The manifolds attach to the acrylic boards using cable ties. The old design used glue or double-sided tape, which was prone to failure.
- Chrome plated steel valves feed each sample, and can be adjusted to control flow. The plastic valves used in the previous design were difficult to adjust, and often didn’t retain their settings.
- The plastic manifold stiffens the board and provides a convenient and sturdy handle for carrying the boards.
New boards constructed using the lab's old design
Here’s my design using the same plastic valves as the old boards. These worked OK, but it seems like the larger manifold design explained above is a significant improvement. It’s sturdier, doesn’t rely on glue or tape to hold the valves to the board, and offers more consistent flow and better adjustability. I have since retrofitted a few of these boards with the manifold and metal valve design.