Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

For everything to do with rat housing, from cages, litter and bedding to accessories and toys for your rat. Not for advertising items for sale.

What would your top 5 shelf colours be?

Black
40
12%
Dark Blue
37
11%
Dark Purple
58
17%
Dark Red
29
9%
Baby Blue
27
8%
Baby Pink or Bright Pink
33
10%
Yellow
14
4%
Lime Green or Dark Green
42
13%
Lilac/Light Purple
42
13%
White
10
3%
 
Total votes: 332

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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by fuschia » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:03 pm

:D This is all very exciting!

Sorry if I've missed anything but on the first page I think you said it's a shame you can't do a survey or something? I'm sure there's a way of doing poll type things on here if you'd like to do one for colours or anything else. I've never done one but I bet somebody could point you in the right direction :wink:

Thank you for including us in the design process :D :D :D
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by eequine » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:11 pm

ScattieMcRattie wrote:i agree, my thoughts exactly.
i mean you have the opportunity and the money obviousely to design and make whatever kind of shelf you want. and yet you have chose to copy whats already on the market. i understand you trying to make an improvement but its still a corner shelf the same as ferplast make, the same as savic make. different bolts and colours aside its still a corner shelf the same as theirs. You have the opportunity to set yourself apart by making something truely different and yet you've chose to copy whats already out there. I know about injection moulding, how much toolings cost and how it works as i work in manufacturing ATM. I also know about business and pet retail. so if i was going to spend the amount of money i know it costs to get a tool made, as well as design and manifacture a new product and have a distribution outlet to bring it to market i'd deffinately make sure i was offering something new and different with a USP all of its own.
Fundamentally, there are only so many ways a space efficient (and structurally sound) plastic platform can be designed to fit in many different sizes and styles of cages. The concept is a good one, and there are significant improvements that can be made to make the product better. The shelf being based in a corner distributes the weight against two sides of the cage in such a way as not to cause warping or distortion of the plastic. If the shelves were metal or wood it would be a different matter (and you could make all kinds of shapes), but for a plastic product we need to consider the weight and load bearing properties whilst trying to address some of the improvements and issues raised in the thread.

If you have any suggestions I would love to hear, especially if you have manufacturing experience in plastics?
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by eequine » Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:13 pm

fuschia wrote::D This is all very exciting!

Sorry if I've missed anything but on the first page I think you said it's a shame you can't do a survey or something? I'm sure there's a way of doing poll type things on here if you'd like to do one for colours or anything else. I've never done one but I bet somebody could point you in the right direction :wink:
I couldnt work out how to start a poll earlier (or would have done) if someone can point me in the right direction :)

fuschia wrote:Thank you for including us in the design process :D :D :D
Thank you for your input in the design process :D We really do appreciate the comments we are getting!
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by myzoo » Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:45 am

:D ooooooo! glitter id like a pink or blue cammo coloured one thatd be cool.
also somehooks underneith rather than holes ontop that get full of gunk. you know like some shelves under have like rims so some sort of hook underneith wouls be good for hanging cubes.
i also think a smooth surface would be better for cleaning because on the gripped ones its a pain to clean the grips.
screws i think you could have the option of coloured or plain i would like coloured ones with easy not tool screws.
also slightly smaller size than the savac/furplast would be good.
also a easy slide of shelf would be cool instead of having to unscrew it it would be great if it had some sort of easy release mecanism for easy cleaning.

i think the main doen falls with other brands are too many nooks and crannys for dirt, problems with removing barred screws tight slide bits,space,

in all id like a colourfull easy to clean shelf, with space saving features,

with a added stink o meter lol :lol:

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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by Jemma » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:36 am

If you list the colours or options you’d like to put in a poll I’ll try and edit it into the first post, poll creation is pretty easy however it needs to be set up with the first post which you won’t be able to edit any more.

In terms of manufacture, I’m another manufacturing type (well currently I’m quality manager for a heavy manufacturing place but have worked in design and production too), I’m no plastic manufacture (we mainly do fabrication, machining and assembly here) but understand how the process works pretty well (fluid flow within a dye/mould), so may be able to help a little, obviously you’d need to run it past your manufacturing team too.

Bolts – one worry I have is that using metal bolts mating to a plastic thread will reverse the problem you have now. Are you planning on having metal nuts that they mate into, if not I would strongly advise you to consider it. The metal thread will just cut into the plastic thread and it will wear very quickly. It should be straight forward to design the plastic shelf to have a clip underneath that a square bolt can be pressed into (this will prevent rotation and also mean that minimum assembly is required). This will also wear much better and should be easily replaced if you use a bog standard size.

Bolt head – just a thought on this one, a wing headed bolt would be a great idea, but another option that may be more flexible would be to use an eye bolt. This is nice and easy to fasten with fingers but would also mean items could be hung from them (outside the cage though), and also if needed they could be use to suspend a shelf ( would need to be a purely triangular shelf though, with no curvature extending beyond the fastners, not sure if this is a useful option though).

Lips – for me a lip would be a very good idea, I don’t use open topped shelves anymore as they do get smelly fast, and it allows me to scatter feed in more palces in my cage. I would say though that you’d need to make a lip a good inch high and ideally a little higher at the back (to prevent or reduce kicking out). This would need a good internal radius on it to make sure it was easy to clean out, my gut feel is 5mm would be the minimum, I’m not sure how that would effect the plastic moulding characteristics as it would add a fair bit of thickness in places. It may also be worth considering some holes evenly spaced near the top of the lip, these could be used to secure ladders to it, or ropes and hanging points.

Hanging points – These would be an enormous benefit if you could achieve them. Thinking back to my ferplast shelves you could extend some of the ribs that add structural rigidity down rather to create a hanging lug or loop. I can understand why having them aligned but below the lip would be problematic (your asking the liquid to flow in two directions at once and that wouldn’t be ideal, especially with a radius for the lip), however extending down from supporting ribs nearest the edge shouldn’t effect the moulding process from my understanding of it. In fact I think it may be fairly easy to ensure all or most ribs had a circular hole in them depending on how deep they are. Allowing about 7-8 mm hole (or 5mm minimum) should enable hanging from underneath the shelves easily enough.

Shape – Corner shelves are always useful, especially in cages like the SRS or explorer without supports, however curved corner shelves do limit some things even though they give a good surface area. How about considering straight edged triangular shelves (I would suggest 45-50cm opposite and adjacent sides as this would fit most cages). This would mean that if people wanted they could butt two shelves up to each other and create a larger square shelf. Not sure if this would add anything or not. Perhaps if this proves to be good value in a year or so’s time it may be worth investing in a deeper rectangular tray that could be suspended or hung (to help it adapt to different widths), I know I use heavily adapted cat litter trays as my predominant shelves (melt holes all the way round the lips for hanging things under as well as fastening them to the cage.

Surface texture – smooth is good if you wanted to put litter in it, if it was to be a open shelf I would advised some texture, but not the annoying criss cross of current ferplast shelves. Something like a very light bumpy texture (think slightly raised tiny polka dots) which is well radiused (should make it easier to mould as well as clean) would mean that the shelf is a bit grippier and low level urine isn’t left in too much in puddles for the rats to stand in (help avoid bumble foot).

Hope that’s some use, I do find design really interesting lol, as much as I’ve gone away from that now.
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by eequine » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:58 am

Jemma wrote:If you list the colours or options you’d like to put in a poll I’ll try and edit it into the first post, poll creation is pretty easy however it needs to be set up with the first post which you won’t be able to edit any more.

In terms of manufacture, I’m another manufacturing type (well currently I’m quality manager for a heavy manufacturing place but have worked in design and production too), I’m no plastic manufacture (we mainly do fabrication, machining and assembly here) but understand how the process works pretty well (fluid flow within a dye/mould), so may be able to help a little, obviously you’d need to run it past your manufacturing team too.

Bolts – one worry I have is that using metal bolts mating to a plastic thread will reverse the problem you have now. Are you planning on having metal nuts that they mate into, if not I would strongly advise you to consider it. The metal thread will just cut into the plastic thread and it will wear very quickly. It should be straight forward to design the plastic shelf to have a clip underneath that a square bolt can be pressed into (this will prevent rotation and also mean that minimum assembly is required). This will also wear much better and should be easily replaced if you use a bog standard size.

Bolt head – just a thought on this one, a wing headed bolt would be a great idea, but another option that may be more flexible would be to use an eye bolt. This is nice and easy to fasten with fingers but would also mean items could be hung from them (outside the cage though), and also if needed they could be use to suspend a shelf ( would need to be a purely triangular shelf though, with no curvature extending beyond the fastners, not sure if this is a useful option though).

Lips – for me a lip would be a very good idea, I don’t use open topped shelves anymore as they do get smelly fast, and it allows me to scatter feed in more palces in my cage. I would say though that you’d need to make a lip a good inch high and ideally a little higher at the back (to prevent or reduce kicking out). This would need a good internal radius on it to make sure it was easy to clean out, my gut feel is 5mm would be the minimum, I’m not sure how that would effect the plastic moulding characteristics as it would add a fair bit of thickness in places. It may also be worth considering some holes evenly spaced near the top of the lip, these could be used to secure ladders to it, or ropes and hanging points.

Hanging points – These would be an enormous benefit if you could achieve them. Thinking back to my ferplast shelves you could extend some of the ribs that add structural rigidity down rather to create a hanging lug or loop. I can understand why having them aligned but below the lip would be problematic (your asking the liquid to flow in two directions at once and that wouldn’t be ideal, especially with a radius for the lip), however extending down from supporting ribs nearest the edge shouldn’t effect the moulding process from my understanding of it. In fact I think it may be fairly easy to ensure all or most ribs had a circular hole in them depending on how deep they are. Allowing about 7-8 mm hole (or 5mm minimum) should enable hanging from underneath the shelves easily enough.

Shape – Corner shelves are always useful, especially in cages like the SRS or explorer without supports, however curved corner shelves do limit some things even though they give a good surface area. How about considering straight edged triangular shelves (I would suggest 45-50cm opposite and adjacent sides as this would fit most cages). This would mean that if people wanted they could butt two shelves up to each other and create a larger square shelf. Not sure if this would add anything or not. Perhaps if this proves to be good value in a year or so’s time it may be worth investing in a deeper rectangular tray that could be suspended or hung (to help it adapt to different widths), I know I use heavily adapted cat litter trays as my predominant shelves (melt holes all the way round the lips for hanging things under as well as fastening them to the cage.

Surface texture – smooth is good if you wanted to put litter in it, if it was to be a open shelf I would advised some texture, but not the annoying criss cross of current ferplast shelves. Something like a very light bumpy texture (think slightly raised tiny polka dots) which is well radiused (should make it easier to mould as well as clean) would mean that the shelf is a bit grippier and low level urine isn’t left in too much in puddles for the rats to stand in (help avoid bumble foot).

Hope that’s some use, I do find design really interesting lol, as much as I’ve gone away from that now.
Fascinating post, thank you so much.
I need to digest what you have said and run it past the people here who will understand it better than myself, but thank you again :)

Re colour choices any chance of a poll for the following: Black, Dark Blue, Dark Purple, Dark Red, Baby Blue, Baby Pink, Yellow, Lime Green, Dark Green, Lilac/Light Purple, Bright Pink, White Thank you :)
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by CrazyBadger » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:01 am

oooh, I go away from the forum for a while and exciting things happen! My main issue with the ferplast corner shelves is the texture, my older ones have slight amonia staining from where I haven't been able to thoroughly clean. I also really really hate the bits where the shelf clips go, odd little indents that are impossible to wipe clean, and difficult to clean when doing as part of the washing up, and of course they all wee, poo, and shove food into these little annoying gaps! I would like a flat surfaced shelf, although gemma suggested a great solution of raised bumps, i can't see this being a problem to clean. I like the idea of a lip, but I think I would prefer a flat shelf, easier to clean as opposed to a lip. Unless you could slope the edges of the lip like a bowl??
It would be good to be able to hang things from the shelf, either at the edge, or from the underside. I always found the underside of ferplast shelves unusual, lots of squares etc for structure, if there were holes in those areas you could clip things to the middle.

Also glittery purple shelves would be amazing!
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by fuschia » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:33 am

CrazyBadger wrote:It would be good to be able to hang things from the shelf, either at the edge, or from the underside. I always found the underside of ferplast shelves unusual, lots of squares etc for structure, if there were holes in those areas you could clip things to the middle.
Jemma wrote:Hanging points – These would be an enormous benefit if you could achieve them. Thinking back to my ferplast shelves you could extend some of the ribs that add structural rigidity down rather to create a hanging lug or loop. I can understand why having them aligned but below the lip would be problematic (your asking the liquid to flow in two directions at once and that wouldn’t be ideal, especially with a radius for the lip), however extending down from supporting ribs nearest the edge shouldn’t effect the moulding process from my understanding of it. In fact I think it may be fairly easy to ensure all or most ribs had a circular hole in them depending on how deep they are. Allowing about 7-8 mm hole (or 5mm minimum) should enable hanging from underneath the shelves easily enough.
That'd be really, really useful :D

Purple and lime green sounds lovely :hearts:
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by a_wee_one » Thu Jul 14, 2011 10:21 am

What about the glitter? :hearts:
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by Jemma » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:22 am

eequine wrote: Re colour choices any chance of a poll for the following: Black, Dark Blue, Dark Purple, Dark Red, Baby Blue, Baby Pink, Yellow, Lime Green, Dark Green, Lilac/Light Purple, Bright Pink, White Thank you :)
How many choices would you like per person? I was thinking maybe 3 - 5 or something. It's one of the options when setting up the poll.
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by eequine » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:31 am

Jemma wrote:
eequine wrote: Re colour choices any chance of a poll for the following: Black, Dark Blue, Dark Purple, Dark Red, Baby Blue, Baby Pink, Yellow, Lime Green, Dark Green, Lilac/Light Purple, Bright Pink, White Thank you :)
How many choices would you like per person? I was thinking maybe 3 - 5 or something. It's one of the options when setting up the poll.
Top 5 choices would be nice please ;)
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by Jemma » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:44 am

I've added it, it could only have 10 options so I have combined a couple, if people choose lots of the combined options then you can ask which specifically they prefer maybe.
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by eequine » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:50 am

Jemma wrote:I've added it, it could only have 10 options so I have combined a couple, if people choose lots of the combined options then you can ask which specifically they prefer maybe.
Thanks so much :)
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by EmmaVH » Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:52 am

Completely agree with regard to the surface of the shelves, completely smooth or Jemma's fantastic idea of little bumps for added grip.

Glittery would be amazing :D have just bought two pink ferplast shelves from you today - wish I'd come on here first and seen that you were making these, I would have waited!
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Re: Plastic Corner Shelves - Design Flaws & Suggestions

Post by eequine » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:04 am

EmmaVH wrote:Completely agree with regard to the surface of the shelves, completely smooth or Jemma's fantastic idea of little bumps for added grip.

Glittery would be amazing :D have just bought two pink ferplast shelves from you today - wish I'd come on here first and seen that you were making these, I would have waited!
They wont be available for a few months as it takes 8 weeks to manufacture the moulds apparently, then time to manufacture first batch, plus time for us to finalise the design.

We have spent all morning looking at screws and bolts, have had a prototype assembled with the slide on the side and we have been testing the strength of plastic where the brackets are - our prototype has had 7.5kgs of weights on it, and also one of my small dogs got on too to see how it fared (I got a picture of this I will try to upload later, v funnny ;) )
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