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tac, from idea to realisation

It all began in 2015 when I was introduced to Taco where he told me his story about one of his ideas where he was working on. Unfortunately he got stuck at some point trying to make it work. Inspired by his story, enthusiasm and my search for a new design challenge I teamed up with Taco to see how we could make his idea reality.

His idea came from the frustration that when you grab several clothespins out of the bucket half of them are facing the wrong direction. Turning a clothespin while holding the laundry in your other hand is a clumsy operation which should be avoided. This is when the need for a double sided clip arose.

Research showed that there were already a handful of double sided clothespins commercially available. The existing ones did not match our ideas of a double sided clip, a clip which should not only be used for hanging laundry.

During development of the tac we set the bar high to come up with a versatile new tool. The result is there: the tac is far more than a simple clip (just look at the examples, and gain experience yourself!). The tac is a patented engineering marvel in the area of clips. It consist of one piece, is made of durable plastic and is easy in use.

Check out if you want to see the tac in action or want to know more about tac as a tool.

tac starting prototype from Taco
My starting point was a complex shaped design (and prototype) that Taco created himself with the help of a student that looked more like what we call a "Krakeling" cookie. During development and prototyping I was able to simplify the design and we even perfected the design in such a way that it could be made out of one piece.
Row of a vew tac prototypes from oldest to newest
During development we early on came with the idea, what if we could make the double side clip out of one piece, wouldn't that be awesome and a first. So with the help of a lot of sketching, 3D printed prototypes and trial and error I was able to change the initial "Krakeling" design from Taco to a much simpler design that became the one-piece design. The one piece design had one drawback, the beaks did not close properly and for the clip to hold something it needed to be spring loaded so it can hold stuff on both sides. I found the solution by designing the tac in a way that you can spring load it by folding the tac to it's final state.
tac top and side view with dimensions
We also played around en tested different sizes and shapes to come up with the perfect size that is easy to use in most hands. The shape in combination with the carefully placed ribbons tels the user where they need to push to open the beaks. The beaks design itself is similar to existing clothespin so people can recognise the purpose for the beaks. We optimised the shape of the beaks for better clamp performance, and for users that don't have enough strength in there hands so they can easily use the tac by pushing it on a object they want to clamp.
tac open close mold preview
The new foldable one piece design also solved te challenge on how to produce the tac on an easy and cost saving way. The tac can be produced in a simple open closed mold system without the need of slides to reduce costs and complexity. And by collaborating with our injection molding partner we where able to find the ideal material and spring thickness for best clamp performance, durability and ease of use.
tac packaging preview
As a company we believe in corporate social responsibility. We care about people and it's planet not only profits. For example tacs are produced in the Nederlands where it is sold. Production, packing and packaging are done by companies in the local area of The AllClip B.V.