Quad Lock – Its latest design aims to safely mount the latest smartphone to a motorcycle, while protecting its delicate camera technology from vibrations. We learn how multiple design iterations using 3D-printed prototypes helped it roar to the market
Smartphones are our maps, our music, our connection with friends, family and others and a lot more besides – so being able to safely add your phone to your motorcycle provides an instant travel upgrade.
Based in Melbourne, Australia, Quad Lock has been making solutions for smartphone mounting since 2011, building a range of solutions designed for different modes of transport. Featuring a patented dual-stage locking mechanism, the device securely locks a phone to a motorcycle,while ensuring it remains a quick and easy job to attach and detach it with one hand – gloved or otherwise.
A key requirement for Quad Lock’s design team is to be able to react quickly when a new smartphone model hits the market, requiring particular levels of protection and vibration-dampening from the mount.
Smartphone cameras can be particularly vulnerable to high levels of vibration, with their multiple lenses, image stabilisation technology and AI software that make them capable of rivalling professional cameras.
With this in mind, Quad Lock developed a flexible research, design and development process around iterating on physical prototypes to quickly gather lab and field test feedback almost as quickly as its team can design and 3D print a new part.
A wide range of concept prototypes and configurations were designed in Solidworks and then built on a number of Ultimaker desktop FDM 3D printers. These models had to be strong enough to withstand hours of testing on a vibration test rig, from which the team gathered valuable data that was then fed back into the CAD model.
“In some instances, it was possible to produce multiple design iterations in a single day, which inspired new levels of creativity and ingenuity in the team,” says Quad Lock CIO Chris Peters.
From the results of this research, a dual-chassis suspension system with silicone grommets was proposed. This would protect the camera by enabling the mount to absorb vibrations from high-level frequencies.
The mount was then subjected to real-world beta tests involving over 500 members of the Quad Lock community.
“Ultimaker’s 3D printing solutions helped us design a unique product with much lower development costs and time. The quick feedback loops and high strength of the 3D printed physical components allowed us to develop a solution that now serves millions of bikers across the globe,” says Peters.