Galleries: Design

Piggy Pen Guinea Pig Housing- 3D render of all parts
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Design Statement

Create a method of housing guinea pigs that gives them more room to exercise and is easier to clean than current products.

Precedents

While a small degree of variety is evident in current guinea pig housing products, the majority follow the same box formula with little innovation. While some brands such as Marchioro create high quality cages, they still can be improved upon. For this reason, many savvy guinea pig owners choose to build their own custom cages using a variety of materials. This option gives the pets more room to exercise and can make the cage easier to clean, but often deters new pet owners because of the initial setup required.

Research

Research for this project was comprised primarily of personal experience and online resources. Some highlights include:

  • Guinea pigs are often chosen as pets because they are easy to care for and are quite docile and gentle.
  • ... guinea pigs seem to enjoy being held and petted, though they frequently dart to avoid being picked up in the first place.
  • The most interaction a human has with any guinea pig housing solution is cleaning and maintaining it. While guinea pigs are not messy creatures, they do generate a fair amount of waste that requires regular cleaning and disposal.
  • [Cages should have] no wire floor, as it will injure [guinea pigs'] feet.
  • The stated minimum of an 18x18 inch cage is not adequate for exercise. ... Taking guinea pigs out of their cage and carefully monitoring them inside gives them the opportunity to run and explore.

Market Research: Personas

These three user profiles were used to help drive the development process.

Young child with guinea pig Older child with guinea pig Parent with guinea pig
Young Child
His only real concern is playing with the guinea pigs.
Older Child
She is primarily concerned with keeping her guinea pigs happy and healthy. Price and ease of cleaning are secondary considerations.
Parent
Although he will make sure to provide for the animal's needs, he is also concerned with the price and durability of the cage, as well as how easily it is cleaned. The size of the cage is also an issue with finding a good location in the house.

Sketch Development

Phase 1 of the sketch development was raw, disconnected ideas ranging from a cage with a running track around the outside to a drip catcher for the water bottle. Case study: In an attempt to break out of the "cage" housing model, I drew a quick analytical diagram of a typical kitchen area where guinea pigs are likely to be kept. This rough sketch was the foundation of much of the succeeding developent.
Phase 2 explored the concept of a flexible barrier to block off a safe area for guinea pigs to exercise. Phase 3 saw the combination of Phase 1 and 2 into a complete product "kit" consisting of both the corner cage and the flex barrier.
 
Phase 4 of the project saw further refinement of the cage, primarily in the area of assembly. Cleaning accessibility was also modified from earlier designs.  


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Exploded View: Cage

All components (cage walls, bottle, hay feeder, etc.) come pre-assembled. The only user assembly required is to snap together the main parts with the included plastic clips. In-store assembly will also be offered.

Materials and Processes:

  • Cage walls, doors, and hinges:
    • Welded stainless steel wire
  • Base and hay bin:
    • Injection molded HDPE
  • Clips:
    • Extruded HDPE
  • Bottle:
    • Injection blow-molded PETE


Close-up of one of the clips.
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(click to open larger view in a new window)

Exploded View: Flex Barrier

The barrier comes as a loose coil. The steel wire is of a thin enough gauge to be cut with typical scissors.

Materials and Processes:

  • Barrier strip:
    • Steel wire laminated between PETE
  • Side grips:
    • Extruded artificial rubber (thermoplastic elastomer)
  • Weights:
    • Steel weights insert molded into artificial rubber

All 3D models and images were created using Form-Z 5.5.






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