One of the most frustrating parts of DIY projects is when a screw is at just the wrong angle for the screwdriver to reach. It’s even worse when an electric screwdriver with all its bulk is involved. To make things a bit easier, former University of Washington robotics student Joel Townsan of Bellingham, Washington came up with the Flipout Tantrum, an articulated electric screwdriver designed to work in very tight spaces.
Electric drills that can twist from a stick to a pistol configuration are already common, but the Tantrum takes this further by allowing a wide range of angles as well as a head that can be angled independently. In all, the tool can be set into 168 positions.
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The Tantrum’s housing is nylon and powder-coated aluminum and has stainless steel and alloy internal parts along with solid-state electronics. Power is transmitted from the electric 7.2-V motor to the hexagonal bit head by way of a gear train. There’s also an LED light attachment, so fiddling with a torch on the job isn't necessary.
Inspired by Townsan’s struggles installing a car stereo, the Tantrum has been under development since 2004. According to Townsan, the version of the Tantrum slated for production is the seventh generation of the development process. The first prototype used acrylic sheets for the housing and plastic gears from a robotics mail order catalog.
“Looking back, it was one of the most ridiculous looking prototypes I've ever built,” says Townsan. “But it still works to this day.”
Winner of the Cool Idea Award from ProtoLabs, Inc., a company that builds custom CNC and injection mold parts, the Tantrum is the object of a Kickstarter campaign running through July 25 to raise funds to complete final product testing, set up assembly operations and begin small-scale production of 2,000 units. The minimum pledge to pre-order a Tantrum is US$130.
The video below introduces the Flipout Tantrum.