Everybody likes a desk toy – it is even better when it can be a learning tool as well! That’s why a few years ago we released the original Geologist’s Squeeze Box. This was our small-scale spin on the classic structural geology lab apparatus that was affordable for an individual who wanted a geology themed Zen toy or for a classroom to stock up so each student could make their own folds and faults.

This product really caught on! We have sold them not only to individuals and universities across the US, but also around the world. After a few years in the wild, we heard feedback from you on what you wanted to see in the squeeze box. You wanted them to be stronger as students can be…rough on equipment. You wanted them to be expandable for more flexibility to create advanced experiments. You wanted them to be easily repaired if they did get damaged.

Our team sat down last Fall as you were getting back to classes and we worked to redesign this classic. We’re very happy to announce the release of the new and improved Geologist’s Squeeze Box!

Let’s start with the box itself. The new squeeze box is built with an aircraft grade aluminum base plate to add some weight and increased strength. The ends and sides are still acrylic, but now the entire side is clear! The top is held together with more aluminum – this time short bars to increase rigidity. All of the parts are attached with screws instead of being glued, making repairs and parts replacement quick and easy.

We also made cleanup of the boxes easier by making one of the side panels removable with no tools! We machine custom knurled thumb nuts for each box. You can even use packing tape and make a peel of your structure to tape to lab papers before you clean up the box.

Next, we worked on the pusher – where all the action happens. While the original design generated more than enough force to damage the frame, this time we focused on smooth operation. We’ve added some washers, used a bit of 3-in-1 oil, and made a custom stress spreading washer for the box attachment to reduce any cracking. We also modified the handle to be symmetrical around the shaft for easier turning.

Finally, we’ve created a line of accessories to go with the squeeze boxes. We now offer additional push plates if you want to allow students to push/extend from both ends of the box. There are also 3D printed plates to help develop interesting structures, with simple 2D angled blocks, as well as more complex 3D plates available. These can really create some complex structures and spark discussion in the classroom. We also, of course, are carrying forward the core tube sets, letting students take cores of sediment and try to reconstruct the underlying structure before looking at the squeeze box cross-section.

We’re really proud of the new squeeze box – it’s tough, it looks cool, and it is even more fun than the original. It’s thanks to customers like you that suggested improvements. We also wanted to give a shout-out to Dr. Natalie Bursztyn at The University of Montana. She tested multiple prototypes, provided lots of feedback, and suggested the push plate kits. Thanks Natalie!

We’ve already had several classrooms gear up with the new version of the squeeze box and so far the feedback has been great. One customer told us getting their lab kits was just like Christmas! Don’t wait until you’re looking for a lab activity during the semester, order your squeeze box today from the OrangeEDU store!

John Leeman
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