Student Members: Daniel Kemper, Christopher Knox, Kyle Bartlett

Acknowledgments: Dr. Chokri Sendi, Michael Kemper, Birdwings of Alaska


The goal of this project was to create a 1:1 3D printed prototype chocolate bar wrapping machine for
Birdwings of Alaska. Birdwings of Alaska is a small business that makes chocolate and other treats. They sell their chocolate in gift shops across Alaska. They need a wrapping machine that isn’t overly expensive but increases their current productivity. This design was to be created from scratch. Inspiration was taken from state-of-the-art machines. This team brainstormed ideas so they could create a functional yet simple machine that wraps Birdwings’ chocolate. Initially the plan was to design two machines – one that was fully automated and one that was manually powered. The fully automated machine proved to be difficult with limited time and resources, so the focus was shifted entirely on the manually powered machine. Over time the design developed into what is called the channel design. The chocolate was to be set on the wrapping paper and pressed into a channel (of the same dimensions as the chocolate). Arms controlled by levers then fold the paper around the chocolate. There were many design challenges with how the levers were supposed to move without interfering with each other, and how the design would be simplified so it would take the least amount of time to wrap the chocolate bar. The machine was designed in Solidworks, and the drawings and assembly were sent to the UAA 3D printing lab. In addition, an instruction manual for assembly and operation was created. There is work to be done on this project –
future groups can work on fully-automating the design and making it even more efficient. This design offers a much cheaper option than the state-of-the-art machines and is perfect for the use of small businesses that don’t want to spend the money on an expensive fully-automated machine.

Project Statement:

The goal of this project was to brainstorm, draft, and create a manually operated chocolate bar wrapping machine. This machine was to increase the efficiency of wrapping, and to increase the total weekly amount of chocolate bars wrapped. For this project, a one-to-one scale 3D printed, manually operated prototype of the machine was made. The machine was designed in Solidworks, and this included detailed drawings for each component, assembly, and a motion study. Also, an instruction manual including assembly and maintenance was drafted for the machine. Finally, a cost analysis was completed for fabrication of the machine, if Birdwings wanted to fabricate our prototype using stainless steel 316.


Initially, the project scope included designing two machines – one manually operated and the other fully automated. Designing the fully automated machine was quickly scrapped because it took some significant time to brainstorm ideas from scratch, much less put those ideas on paper for the manually operated machine. The 1:1 scaled 3D printed prototype of the manual machine was fabricated. If the operator wraps one chocolate bar in 9 seconds, a 300% efficiency increase is obtained. To manufacture this machine using stainless steel 316, it would cost ~$300 for raw material and fabrication. This product provides a very affordable chocolate bar wrapping machine for those who don’t want or need a state-of-the-art machine. For Birdwings, this product provides an efficient and easy way of wrapping their chocolate bars without having to pay for an expensive machine. There is no market for cheaper chocolate bar wrapping machines, and this product fills that market. This machine could be greatly improved by use of fully-automated hardware and software. This shouldn’t add too much to the cost of the project (other than the labor to design the fully-automated parts), and it should prove to be an even more efficient way to wrap the chocolate bars. This improvement would include sensors, pneumatics, and motors to control the arms that fold the paper around the chocolate bar. This project impacts the small-market chocolate industry – our design (even though it is elementary) could be used by a future group or by an engineering firm to revolutionize the industry and make a cheaper way to fold chocolate bars.


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