The Grocer Grapple

Group Members

J. Elias Dove

Emily Barrett

First Design Iteration

We decided to create a fully functional grocery bag holder that fits into the palm of your hand. After checking Thingiverse, we realized that there was a noticeable lack of grocery bag holders that were functional and/or comfortable. Some had “hooks” that were arranged poorly, in such a way where the weight of the bags would have been unevenly distributed. Some designs looked very uncomfortable to hold, and the ergonomics of other iterations seemed poorly thought out. Some of the designs clipped into vehicles, rendering them immobile. Our design will allow consumers to freely move from their car to their kitchen with the bag holder. The clips themselves can hang from the rearview mirror, allowing for consumers to not forget about them when they go to the grocery store, as this was a problem that other bag clip designs on Thingiverse and elsewhere.

This design is relevant because it is useful and provides for a more simple solution to an everyday problem. Everyone shops, yet no one likes to carry heavy bags around, especially up, or down, stairs. We often try to juggle too many at once, which could injure your arms and/or result in accidents. As far as how we will make this product, we will use the programs Tinkercad and Rhinocad. It will be comprised of several pieces, one of which will come from another printer at another location, the JMU studio center.

Iterating the Design

Over the last week, our clip went through several different iterations, all of which were sketched up by Emily. When collaborating on the design, we considered structure, functionality, and originality. Our final design optimized functionality by making it so that the weight will be concentrated in the center of the clip, improving its chances of supporting more weight, thus, more groceries. The final design consists of the main “body,” which is the hooked-shaped piece, a handle that will clip onto the main body, and two end pieces. A sleeve-like cover will provide an extra layer of comfort, which will be printed elsewhere with a different, flexible rubber filament. The filament will make the handle much more consumer friendly and ergonomic, as it will provided a cushioned layer over the 3D printed material. Emily’s sketches, and screenshots of the design, are depicted below.

After a hilarious brainstorming session, we came up with the name “The Grocer Grapple,” for our design. We decided that to sell our product, we had to name it something creative and catchy.


Here is the design for the handle and grip, which will be printed with a flexible filament. 

The second image depicts the body, the handle, and the two end pieces, which will secure the handle. All of which will be printed with regular filament.


Here is what two Grocer Grapples looked like before Emily rendered them in Keyshot.

First Draft Print

Our first draft print went… unexpectedly. Unfortunately, we were unable to correctly print all of the pieces, but the “hook” body rendered well. One of our goals for the initial draft was to see if the construction allowed for proper support of up to 16.68 pounds (the equivalent of about two gallons of milk).  Because we did not have two one-gallon cartons on hand, we used a backpack that weighed roughly 8-10 pounds. The first iteration held up well, and so we hope that future ones will be able to as well. Also, the first iteration did not have a proper handle, so future ones should be able to hold up more weight more efficiently. A few things we learned from the first draft was that the body design was successful in use and in printing. The handles and end pieces, however, needed work and adjustment. The first draft provided key information on how to go about printing the handle and end pieces in the future in a way that wouldn’t prove catastrophic. We planned to print those pieces elsewhere and rearrange their positioning on the 3D printing plane in hopes of a more successful print. As for the handle, because it had to be printed with a different, more flexible material, it too needed to printed elsewhere.  As you can see below, the prints did not come out successfully, due to the fault of the 3D printer. Over the course of 3 days, the malfunctions of the machine were unable to be fixed, and so for the time being, we are unable to print the handle sleeve. 

The Final Print

The final print of the Grocer Grapple was successful, save for the flexible grips. It also provided completely functional, and Emily used it to go shopping later that night! The handle pieces printed much more successfully after we added supports, and the pieces all fit together as planned (with a few securing hits from a hammer).

With extra time on our hands, we decided to take an extra step and design packaging and a corporate logo, using the existing JMU logo, with some… alterations. The informative icons show how multifunctional the Grocer Grapple is. At the store, you slip on multiple grocery bags, which carry up to 18 pounds of weight. When at home, you grab both handles, turn the Grocer Grapple 90 degrees, and the bags simply slip off. We do recommend that you always keep/hang at least one Grocer Grapple on your rearview mirror so that you don’t forget them! A simple message painted on its side is a simple reminder to do just that, “Grapple Your Groceries!” as well as reminding you of any other items you may need while shopping such as your reusable grocery bags!

Due to the fact that we were unable to print all of the components to our Grocer Grapple, we found it only fair to show you a final rendering of what it would look like upon completion. Emily threw together this incredible design that will hopefully soon be on the market! We really enjoyed the process of designing and creating something we can and will use.

The Grocer Grapple hits stores in 2019.

Preorder yours today.

*drops mic