The grip of an object that I have the hardest time with is the exacto knife. When making physical models in architecture studio, I use exacto knife to cut materials such as museum boards, cardboards, chipboards, plastic sheets, foam-core, and etc. Because of its thin cylindrical shape and the need to use lots of force when cutting materials, the exacto knife grip causes pain and is very exhausting, especially for the thumb, index, and middle fingers.. This strenuous grip could use a fresh redesign to mitigate the pain and promote longer and easier use of exacto knife.



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This sketch shows my initial idea of the new grip for the exacto knife. Since I grab my exacto like how I hold a pencil or pen, the thought process was to create a grip that takes the form my specific finger grip. Iterations 1 through 4 demonstrate new grip design iterations that takes form of my grip of exacto knife. With the completion of these initial iterations, I wondered if there could be a grip design that could be a universal exacto knife grip that can help everyone who uses the exacto. Iterations 5 through 8 demonstrate designs that could serve a wide range of different grips of exacto knife by different users. The 3D diagrammatic sketch on the right shows the different forms I will use to shape the design of the grip.


Iteration 1 shows the exploration of how the clay could wrap around the exacto knife and take form of a specific grip. The thumb, index and middle fingers were in direct contact for this specific grip form. This only focuses on how the fingers hold onto the exacto knife.


Iteration 2 shows similar features of iteration 1, but explores a longer grip that could rest on the hand while in use.  This grip form is specific to the way exacto is held.


Iteration 3 explores through a rectangular prism wrap around the exacto and how it could form based on the grip. It was fit for the grip between the thumb and the index finger since it conformed to a pinching grip. The middle finger grip was formed to the specific grip of the exacto. This grip was the most comfortable within the iterations 1-4.


Iteration 4 explores through a sphere wrapped around the exacto knife. This also was formed with the specific grip of the way the exacto is held. This grip form of a sphere turned out to be the least comfortable grip.

While iterations 1-4 explored through different finger grips, iterations 5 through 8 below demonstrate more of universal designs that could serve a wide range of different grips of exacto knife by different users.


Iteration 5 starts to explore a grip that could be used universally. Since this grip is not specific to the way I hold the exacto, there aren't any grooves for specific fingers but has smoother and continuous form. Iteration 5 tries to utilize the pinch form of the thumb and index fingers.


Iteration 6 explores a basic spherical diamond shape that wraps around the exacto. It seems like spherical grips are the least comfortable whether it conforms to a specific grip or not.


Iteration 7 takes on a triangular prism wrapped around the exacto knife. Thinking more about the pinch form and focusing on how the grip was around the exacto, it seemed like a triangular shape would work well. The thumb and index fingers form the pinch and rest on the middle finger. This design was the most comfortable within the universal grip design.


Iteration 8 was more of an extended exploration of iteration 5 in trying out if force exerted in the grip could change the form and how comfortable it would be. 


As final clay models, I decided to have two final models- one specific to my own grip of the exacto and one universal grip design. Through eight iterations, I thought iteration 3 with the rectangular prism grip and iteration 7 with the triangular prism grip were the most comfortable and efficient to me. The thickness of the grip made the grip sturdy and satisfying, and I thought it would help relieve the pain through the overuse of the exacto knife.