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NUBlade
A new safety utility knife for workers with limited hand dexterity

An extra safe blade

The residents at Lambs Farm are self-sufficient workers with various developmental disabilities, many with limited dexterity. Our client, the wellness dietitian at the food service, expressed the safety concerns she has for the current box cutters the residents in the department use on a daily basis to open cardboard boxes. She asked the team to design a safer box cutter accounting for the proposed problem.

The final product, NUBlade, emphasizes simple mechanisms and intuitive design, featuring an auto retracting cap that protects users from the blade at all times.

Final product parts

  • Blade holder
    The two part system locks the blade in place easily, secured by strong neodymium magnets, elimating the need for complicated, fidgety blade replacements. This holder fits into the hollow body.
  • Hollow body
    Again, the blade holder and body is secured by neodymium magnets. This is easier than a regular box cutter that requires the movement of stiff sliders.
  • Cap
    The cap is permanently attached onto the hollow body with a spring hinge and only opens when the tip is in contact with the cutting material. When not in use, the spring keeps the user protected from the blade.

Manufacturing specifications

  • 3D printing
    All parts, except the blade itself, is currently planned to be 3D printed with colored ABS plastic. This would definitely hinder mass production and thus if developed further, other options such as injection molding would be taken into consideration.
  • Accessories
    6 sets of ultra high pull neodymium magnets with 1/8" diameter and 0.1" thickness, and 1 spring hinge

NUBlade is a new safety box cutter that reduces risks, especially for workers with limited hand dexterity such as cerebral palsy and medication tremors, and effectively protects users from exposed blades when not in use.


Chicago, IL, USA
+1 847 420 5460
j.elizabethoh@gmail.com