Ear Plug Case Internal Gripper

Honestly, one of the hardest parts of creating things is giving them a name. It’s got to sound cool for marketing purposes, but it also needs to be descriptive so people can find it and easily understand what it does.

The Problem

As a regular attendee of live music gigs and festivals, I’ve recently made the switch to wearing ear plugs. Not only do they protect your hearing, but I’ve come to the realisation that they make things sound better too by eliminating the distortion at both the high and low end of the spectrum.

Reusable ear plugs

I bought a pair of Music Mate ear plugs from Earjobs that are transparent so they’re discrete, and come in a metal case that stops them from getting damaged. The downside of this design, is that the ear plugs tend to get stuck in the case if they’re inside for a while due to how they get compressed at the bottom and because of the grippy material they’re made from. The resulting experience is a frustrating struggle trying to dislodge them from the case often have to use a skinny pointy implement.

The Solution

My initial thought was to create a new case for them, however I really liked the simplicity and strength of the original metal case. Instead, I realised that I could create an insert attached to the lid that would hold the ear plugs in position making them easy to remove.

Version 1.0

The first iteration of the design featured a cylindrical profile to fill the entire case, with two slots for the ear plugs. This design meant that the ear plugs were squashed and difficult to remove because of the thick and uncompromising wall sections.

The slot for the ear plugs was too narrow for my large fingers to be able to push the ear plug all the way through meaning I had to use two hands or a tool. Not really much of an improvement.

Version 2.0

Improving on the first version, the second and successful design was comprised of two parts: a thin gripper section that could easily bend providing much needed tolerance, and a circular base for interfacing with the lid that joined to the gripper via a snap fit.