Bed Frame Tray

This project was submitted for the Spring 2019 3D Printing and Design Competition. Participants were asked to respond to the following prompt: “We want to know how you created your project, what inspired you, what you learned along the way, and where it might lead you. In short we want you to tell us the story behind the project and reflect on the process.”


What started as an in-class assignment made way for a unique experience for our group, heightening our interest in 3D Design more than we had ever previously anticipated. The three of us began this 3D Printing journey with no prior knowledge in the field, so we weren’t exactly confident in our ability to produce a functioning prototype.

The first step in our design process was to brainstorm. We began by thinking about problems that Trinity College students experience in their everyday lives. As Trinity students ourselves, we decided that creating a tray that attached to the bed frame in a college dorm room would solve two issues. Firstly, space is extremely limited in most dorm rooms, leaving little room for a night side table or any furniture of the sort. Secondly, there is rarely a space in arms reach of one’s bed to rest their necessities, ranging anywhere from charging cords to a water bottle. Although we were exposed to the endless possibilities of 3D Printing by our professor and Dave Tatem, we faced many challenges along the way.

Our first design was just the beginning of our 3D printing journey. The tray was designed to have a cupholder, a hole to feed charging cords through, and a compartment to store smaller items in. The first trial resulted in a tray that did not resemble anything we designed; the cupholder was on the bottom of the tray, there was no place to feed charging cords through, and the compartment printed as a separate component. From here, we decided to use SketchUp to entirely redesign the tray. Our second trial was much more successful, the prototype had every component except the smaller storage compartment. After gaining a sense of familiarity with the SketchUp software, we decided to improve our prototype with the addition of the smaller compartment and two hooks, in an attempt to make our product more functional. The first attempt at adding the hooks was not successful, so we returned to the drawing board and utilized the SketchUp tools to design a more printable object. Overall, our 3D design product required four failed prints, many youtube tutorials, and many tips from Dave Tatem.
After completing our final prototype, we were not only introduced to a new set of skills, the ability to 3D print, but also enjoyed the process of improving our prototype to become a functional product. If we were to continue perfecting our product, we would hope to print the tray in a practical size, so we could add convenience to every Trinity student’s life! Created by Remy Chester, Katie Uszakiewicz & Mallory McArdle

-Katie, Remy, and Mal

David Tatem