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Klipon Kiwifruit
Girdling Tool 

3D Printed Girdling Handle

Klipon approached MWDesign, looking to redesign their current kiwifruit girdling tool. Girdling is a management practice carried out to increase the fruit size and dry matter in all varieties. The handles are connected with a small chain, and are used to remove a narrow strip of the outer layers of the trunk of the kiwifruit vine, (bark + phloem), so that the phloem layer is completely separated. By cutting the phloem all the sugars produced in the leaves can no longer travel to the roots and are available for the fruit.

The original steel handles were uncomfortable, heavy, and were often left behind and lost in the grass, rusting in the weather. Klipon came to MWDesign looking for an alternative design, that could be 3D printed for an initial production run.

The redesigned Klipon girdling handles are bright orange, making them easy to find in grass, and feature a larger diameter and more ergonomic grip, an angled handle to reduce wrist strain and a hand guard to protect against the chain, foliage and branches while girdling. The finger grooves add extra comfort and grip, especially when holding the product with gloves. The chain bolts easily onto the hand guard.

3D printed from ABS filament, the Klipon girdling handles are lightweight, durable and strong. ABS was chosen as the 3D printing material as it is an extremely durable thermoplastic. It is commonly used in rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing environments to test product impact resistance and durability. ABS also has a high temperature resistance and is flexible yet strong, making it a preference for where mechanical uses are important.

The 3D print orientation of the girdling handle was considered to ensure strength was added to the handle in the necessary places. 

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