During my co-op at Loft in the summer of 2017, I helped design a universal cup holder for UppaBaby, a style-driven stroller company. I was responsible for ideation around functionality, DFM and assembly solutions, and final Rhino and SolidWorks CAD.

Photo courtesy of UppaBaby.

The Problem

Loft was tasked with updating UPPAbaby’s existing cup holder primarily to fix mechanical issues that led to the product frequently inverting and dropping drinks to the ground. The main goals were to lower the center of gravity of the drink/cup holder system, secure the hinge so the cup holder would no longer tilt, and create a more reliable solution for holding drinks in place when inside the cup holder. We also wanted the new version to align more with UPPAbaby’s visual brand language.

Mechanical Solutions

While other team members generated form directions, I was tasked with designing “fin” systems to help keep drinks secure. This involved heavy considerations for manufacturability and assembly strategies. We used 3D printed prototypes to help us evaluate form, size, and functionality. Eventually, we reached an agreement with the client to pursue a single-part fin system. To assemble, the fins would be mechanically pressed down over four tabs inside the cup, permanently locking both parts together.

We borrowed from UPPAbaby's existing snap system, and additionally incorporated asymmetrical geometry that would allow the cup holder to attach to either side of a stroller, but prevent it from inadvertently tipping.

When the design was complete, I rebuilt the team’s rough CAD in Rhino and SolidWorks to hand off to the client. It was important to maintain curvature-continuous geometry in both Rhino and SolidWords CAD, especially on the cup holder's A surfacing.

Two-Part Assembly
Asymmetrical Hinge Lock
Rhino Curvature Analysis
The Result

The final design is composed of just two parts permanently assembled together. The hinge is higher, much more integrated into the form, and no longer rotates, and the soft, open, conic curves align more with UPPAbaby’s overall form language. The cup holder is compatible with three of UPPAbaby's most popular stroller models.

Photos courtesy of UppaBaby.

The Bottom Line

According to customers, Loft's new iteration of the UPPAbaby universal cup holder is a massive improvement on the old version!

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