The way QuickSwitch works is very simple and happens in three steps. The QuickSwitch is secured to the bottom of the camera using a tripod screw. It features two lens mounts, which are used to safely swap lenses. When using the camera normally, this is what you see: a lens mounted on your camera body, and the second one attached under the camera, ready to be swapped at any moment.
The second part is the swapping itself. The user has to first remove the lens that is on the camera body, and attach it to the QuickSwitch. The two lenses are now secured underneath the camera. They are locked in place, and can't be removed without disengaging the security pin.
The final step in swapping lenses is to push up the safety pin for the second lens, unmount it from the QuickSwitch, and mount it on the camera. You are now one shutter button push away from capturing that unique photo moment with the right lens.
The QuickSwitch is a beautiful example of an object that can be built easily using 3D printing, but would require a lot more work to build using regular manufacturing processes.
Believe it or not, but the QuickSwitch is made out of a single 3D printed part, a screw and laser-cut cork. That's it. All moving pieces, springs and safety mechanisms are built in and are fully functionnal straight out of the printer.
The QuickSwitch is printed in PA2200, an engineering grade nylon plastic that allows for very decent strength, but also for flexibility in thinner parts. This allowed me to built springs inside the part itself.
The QuickSwitch mount is strong enough to hold two lenses of up to 700 grams. To test out the durability of the components, I took the QuickSwitch on a backpacking trip through China, swapping lenses more that 500 times, under high humidity and temperature conditions, and it performed admirably.
This project started in the second week of starting my studies of Industrial Design Engineering. This was meant as an introduction project that took two weeks, and ended with a very rough prototype. I thought the product had some potential of being something I would use on a regular basis, and decided to pursue the development.
Knowing very little about design, manufacturing and prototyping, I took the decision of learning all of that by continue working on the project in my spare time. I learnt about 3D printing, 3D CAD modelling, problem solving and iterative design. Multiple prototypes were needed to get to the point where the QuickSwitch would perform perfectly.
A few months later, I tried to patent the product. I informed myself, talked to patent attorneys, and learned a lot about intellectual property. Unfortunately, the product was already patented in 1966, making it impossible for me to secure intellectual property.
In June 2012, I took part in the 3 Day Startup competition organized by the entrepreneurship student society at my university. This contest helps to prototype and idea, validate it and write a viable business plan around it to maybe build a startup. And it all happens in 72 hours.
I brought the idea and prototype to the table, and the 72 hours were used to form a plan to bring QuickSwitch to the market. A promotional video was also made during that short timeframe. The weekend was invaluable to get a clearer vision on the market, manufacturability and business that might come out of it.