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DESIGNING AN UNCOMMON STICK.

Paradox Design of Toronto has developed the design for a lacrosse stick different from the other sticks used by women's lacrosse teams.

Most women lacrosse players now commonly use either a crook-shaped wooden stick or a men's lacrosse-head design fitted to a thinner stick. But neither design was ideal for modern competition, according to Brine Sports of Sudbury, Mass., a manufacturer of lacrosse and soccer equipment. The company teamed with Paradox Design to help create what Brine Sports executives termed an "uncommon stick."

To come up with a new design, Roger Ball, Paradox's founder, held focus groups at colleges throughout the United States. Through input from those groups, coupled with other research, the design team found they could use what they called a "notchback" design to make their new stick more efficient. The design creates a pseudo-pocket that holds the lacrosse ball firmly in the stick's head.

Another feature of the new design is what's called a lace-lock, which allows players to quickly tighten the stick's laces. In the focus groups, players said that repeatedly catching the heavy rubber ball in the stick's head could quickly loosen laces in a lacrosse stick. Referees constantly check for illegal pockets that form because of this looseness. Players said that they usually struggle to tighten laces by hand. The new design allows players to pull them tight in a second.

Paradox cofounder Steve Copeland helped design the stick. "This design probably had the most complex curves I ever dealt with," Copeland said. "There isn't a straight line on the part. Rather, it's all convex and concave curves flowing into each other. It was a complex shape to draw. To do it in the old style of two dimensions would have been impossible."

For the design, Paradox used a three-dimensional computer-aided-design package from CadKey in Marlborough, Mass. "Otherwise, we would have had to do the entire thing by hand," Copeland said.

In order to create the design for the new stick, Ball and his team first made basic sketches of the product they envisioned. They used graphic software to illustrate this design, studied it, and created a final, graphic version of the design.

Copeland took that final graphical version and reverse-engineered it. He and his team then made a laser scan of the model to replicate it in 3-D. The scanned points were translated directly into the CAD package, Copeland said.

After creating a final model in the CAD package, that design was sent out for rapid prototyping. The prototype went back to the focus groups, where it underwent a number of revisions before the company made a bronze electromechanical discharge machine model, using computer numerically controlled laser cuts.

This part was heated to burn a reverse mold into steel. Plastic composites, which would make up the stick, were injected into the mold. After overseeing the first days of production, Paradox handed the entire product and patented design to Brine, completing the design of a new women's lacrosse stick.

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Author:THILMANY, JEAN
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2000
Words:495
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