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Portfolio 2018

ABOUT Hello, My name is Thomas Hierholzer. I am a recent graduate of Virginia Tech’s Industrial Design program. I chose the field of Industrial Design because I love working with my hands and I believe that we can make the world a better place through design. Thank you for taking the time to review my portfolio. I hope you enjoy my work.


A hydroponic light fixture that encourages good nutrition. 14 week project - Fall 2016 Group of four

R E S E A R C H : Why hydroponics?

We consulted Groundworks Garden & Supply Co. in Christiansburg, VA to learn about different hydroponic systems and the one to best suit our type of project.

Kitchen: “The kitchen is the center of socialization in many homes and is a place people can congregate.” Leicht Inc.

year-round in the home with little labor. Plants also grow 30-50% faster with greater yields and requires 2/3 less water. Using hydroponics, plants can be grown

Food: “Eating together has been proven to encourage new foods, reinforcing mindful eating habits, Reducing the amount of “on-the go” foods.”

Gardening: “3/4 of households age 55 or older participated in some form of lawn and garden activity in 2010.”

Vanderbilt University

National Gardening Association


In-Home Gardening

THE UNUSED CEILING SPACE With counter space in such high demand, we decided that we needed to find somewhere else for our product to live.

In our examination of the kitchen, we found that an area of space that lies unused is the ceiling space.

BUILD AND CIRCADIAN RHYTHM The prototype was able to raise and lower with a cable just like the real one would. The remote controlled LEDs in the light mimicked how our fixture helps with circadian rhythm.

Just like humans, plants have a circadian rhythm that our system takes advantage of. The lights in the morning start out bluer and gradually change to white during the day and then to red at night. This makes the plants grow 30%-50% faster than traditional gardening and with greater yields. It is also beneficial for the user because the changing lights naturally help set your sleep cycle.





DESIGN GOAL By bringing accessible hydroponic growth into the home, we enable clean and effortless gardening, sparking a purposeful habit, and increasing awareness of nutrition.


Hardware Nuts & Bolts


Injection Molded Acrylic Bulb Cover ($0.56 per lb) x 0.46lb = $0.28


Laminated wood over Injection Molded ABS Light Frame 8.16sq.ft. x ($0.695 cork sq.ft.) = $5.68 ($1.45 per lb) x 0.56lb = $0.81


Full Spectrum 45 watt LED Grow Bulb


Injection Molded ABS Grow Trays ($1.45 per lb) x 0.81lb = $1.17


PVC Vinyl 6mm Tubing 4.64ft x ($0.133 tub ft.) = $.62


Airstone ($0.12 per stone) x 4 = $0.48


Air Pump


Injection Molded ABS Reservoir ($1.45 per lb) x 2.2lb = $3.19


Laminated Wood 13.12sq.ft. x ($0.695 cork sq.ft.) = $9.12


Total Cost of Materials Per Unit:


HOW IT’S USED The fixture is designed to lower down to a countertop or surface at an easy working level. Once your hydroponic system is installed, it needs to be filled with water and nutrient solution. The system is mostly self sustaining and extremely low maintenance.

hydroponic light fixture

ORCA POPPER An entirely new topwater fishing lure that can be 3D printed. 8 week project - Fall 2016 Individual

WHAT NEW CAN I BRING TO TOPWATER FISHING LURES? Topwater fishing lures are artificial baits used to attract fish to the surface. The intention of these lures is to float on the surface and cause a disturbance that mimics prey struggling to swim.

My goal was to create a lure that splashes on the surface in a new and innovative way.


New Feature




DESIGNING THE INSIDE Designing the inside was the most time-consuming and difficult part of this project. The hallow chamber in the mouth had to be large enough to funnel water, yet structurally sound enough to withstand blows. I also designed a track for inlaid wiring to hold the hooks and provide a place to tie the fishing line to. Finally, I made pins for the two sides to click together easily. At the end, the fishing lure still had to float correctly and catch fish.

FINAL 3D PRINTED PROTOTYPE The final 3D printed prototype assembled correctly and works well in the water. When assembling the final prototype, I was able to superglue a metal wire into the channel I created and attach two treble hooks. After the two halves were glued together, the popper functioned properly and fished well.

OASIS A showering experience more suitable for young children. 4 week project - Fall 2016 Individual

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH KIDS LEARNING TO SHOWER? Kids begin to shower around the age of 6-7. A traditional shower is a very intimidating environment for such a small child. Also, a large amount of these children neglect to use any soap.

Young children lack independence and rely heavily on their parents to clean themselves properly.


Shower Head



INTRODUCING OASIS... A kid-friendly duel showerhead that helps influence more thorough cleaning for children.

HOW IT WORKS The mesh ring attachment around the nozzle acts like a loofah and gives the user the ability to scrub themselves with the shower head.

Within the shower head there is a chamber for soap to be stored. The

thermoplastic elastomer button on the back pushes the soap through a valve into the mesh ring.

THE SOLUTION The kid friendly design is fun and familiar to young children. An ergonomic silicone grip gives children a more tactile relationship with the product compared to slippery stainless steele competitors.

HOW IT WORKS Although Oasis was originally designed with children in mind, the familiar design and its unique features can be utilized by children and adults alike. You can clearly see that the medium-length handle and soap-filled mesh ring is perfect for scrubbing those hard to reach places like the upper-back.



PROBLEM Americans make more than

200 million tons of garbage each year.

How can smart, sustainable design help eliminate waste while improving lives?...

ALUMINUM Material Properties Aluminum is durable, light weight, and food safe. Aluminum is infinitely recyclable: No loss occurs when aluminum is melted down and reformed into new products. Recycling aluminum uses 90% less energy than extracting new aluminum ore.

Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.�




-lawn furniture -tarps -beach chairs -canopies -drink bottles -cooking tools -coolers

-thermos -coffee mug -ear plugs -face mask -scrubbers

-paint brushes -cones -cans -brooms -mops -buckets

Food -containers -bags -tupperware -lunch boxes -utensils -paper plates/cups -straws -napkins -paper towels -cans -platic bottles -glass -cardboard boxes -soda caps

Design Opportunity Products currently made disposable.

Bathroom -toothbrush -razors -comb -lotion/ shampoo bottles -scrubbers

Home -sponges -rags -paper towels -cleaner bottles -swiffer/broom -laundry hamper -detergent bottles -candles -trash bags -diapers -cheap toys -milk jugs -toilet paper rolls

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM AN ALUMINUM WATER BOTTLE? The Homeless “More homeless people die of dehydration in the summer than of cold exposure in the winter.” -Huffington Post “A reusable water bottle is one of the most important items to donate to the homeless.” -Ashley Wells, The Odyssey Online “When you’re on drugs or alcohol, the last thing you think about is staying hydrated...access to water has slipped through the cracks.” -Hanna Brooks Olsen,

BUSINESS MODEL A way to sustainably bring water bottles to the homeless.

2. The homeless receive a “free� water bottle that is designed to fit their needs.

4. People receive a quality water bottle and feel good about helping the homeless and recycling cans.

1. Homeless people donate 15 cans to their local shelter to enter the system to receive a new water bottle. The shelter then ships the cans to the factory to be melted down.

3. People purchase bottles from the factory and pay for the company to function. For every bottle bought, one is donated to a homeless person in need.


Aluminum Water Bottle


Santoprene stopper creates a water tight seal

MATERIAL HEALTH Aluminum is considered a food safe material. Excess

Removable aluminum cap with multiple attachment points Santoprene gasket keeps the cap water tight

Easy fastening system quickly creates an extremely tight seal

Lightweight, durable aluminum body with stamped grip

Santoprene gasket keeps the bottom water tight Removable aluminum bottom for easy cleaning

absorption or inhalation of aluminum dust has been shown to change neurological performance or cause brain diseases. Proper workplace health and safety equipment largely eliminates this issue. Solid, manufactured aluminum products, especially when not used for cooking, do not provide a significant amount of aluminum exposure. ( Santoprene TPV B100 is USDA Food Safe and chemically inert, and is dishwasher safe. ( home/20060920005086/en/ExxonMobil-Chemical-Introduces-New-FoodContact-FDA-Compliant)


bait keeper

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? An overwhelming majority of people still use extremely low tech solutions for keeping their bait alive which results in bait dying faster. ex. buckets, frabill bait keeper...

Parameters for a Healthy Bait



Overstocking and stress quickly causes the fish to suffocate from lack of dissolved oxygen if a source is not provided. A DO of 5ppm or above is considered optimal

Temperature is one of the most important factors because bait quickly dies if it is left to overheat in the sun.

while fish begin


to die below 2ppm.


Ammonia is a toxic chemical that accumulates over time as fish produce waste. An ammonia level from .001-.02 The temp should ppm is considered safe for fish and be kept below 71

a level above .2ppm is fatal.

SMOOTH SIDES Smooth sides are a critical feature of any bait box because fish will literally beat themselves to death an any sharp corners.

CONCEPT MAPPING My biggest takeaway from

brainstorming cut baits is that there are many different types and they are messy, smelly, and difficult to manage with current products.

TRANSPORT On foot Canoes Cars Row boats Kayaks

Bikes Trucks Big Boats

CUT BAITS Jack Mullet Bunker Shad Sardines

Mackerel Bluefish Bluegill Shad Carp

My biggest finding from

brainstorming the ways bait is transported is that many of the transportation methods are physically challenging. My biggest takeaway from

brainstorming frozen baits is that there are many different types and they must stay cold or else they will spoil quickly.

FROZEN Bunker Spearing Ballyhoo Shad Squid Shrimp Sardines

SOURCE My biggest finding from

brainstorming the ways people get their bait is that a wide mouth on the bucket or container would make dumping in bait from a net easier.

Bait Shop Cast Net Hook & Line Sein Net Traps

My biggest takeaway from

brainstorming types of live baits is that there is an EXTREMELY wide variety. In total, I was able to come up with 27 different kinds of live bait people use. My conclusion from

brainstorming the ways bait is stored is that many people use inexpensive, low tech, or homemade solutions.

L I VE B A I T Minnows Large Minnows Crustaceans Bugs

STORAGE Minnow Buckets Painter’s Buckets Homemade Bubblers Cooler








Aerator for Oxygen

Aerator for Oxygen



Bait Net



Spills Easily

Looks Awful


Traps Heat


Runs on Batteries

Awkward to Carry

No Oxygen

No Oxygen

Mechanics are not waterproof

Difficult to Clean


Bait isn’t Protected

Awkward to Carry Ugly








Extra wide lid makes catching and dumping in bait easy.

Comfortable strap makes traveling long distances on foot possible. The removable plastic interior layer is smooth, durable, and easy to clean. This feature also allows the user to have the bait box double as a cooler for drinks or food. The long lasting rechargeable battery eliminates the hassle of batteries. The aerator would be incorporated into the design of the lid and would be ideally waterproof. The middle layer would be an insulated material that helps keep the water or whatever else is inside the bait box cool during a hot day fishing. The outer layer would be constructed out of a durable yet attractive fabric material. This also allows for normal soft good features such as pockets or straps.

IDEATION How can I optimize bait longevity, accessibility, and mobility for fisherman?



a bait-box re-envisioned

EXTRA LARGE ELASTOMER HANDLE helps the user alleviate transport across long distances.

ELASTIC HATCH provides easy access to the inside of the bait keeper and ensures a water-tight seal.

RUBBER GRIPS on both the backside and bottom of the bait keeper are designed to keep the product from sliding around in a boat or car and provide the user with two possible orientations to store the device.

WIDE WATER-TIGHT LID allows you to use the bait keeper like a regular cooler and gives you the option to store food, drinks, frozen bait, and your catch. It also allows for easier cleaning and dumping of bait.

THICK, ROTOMOLDED, INSULATED WALLS keep the cool even on the warmest of days. The Construction is similar to that of a yeti cooler in that it is extremely durable and effective at keeping things cold.

STAINLESS STEELE hatches on the back make swinging open the lid a breeze and ensure corrosion resistance.

RUBBER GASKET along the rim keeps water in and doesn’t let the cold out.

REMOVABLE AIR PUMP on the side of the bait keeper provides much needed oxygen to the fish. Without oxygen the fish would quickly suffocate and die.

PLUG on the side of the container connects to a channel that pumps air through the airstone on the bottom.

BUILT-IN CHANNEL connects to the air pump on the exterior and funnels oxygen along the inside of the container to the bottom where it connects with the airstone.

AIRSTONE fixed to the bottom of the bait keeper ensures that oxygen is being spread as evenly as possible throughout the water.

3D Print 2/3 Scale Model

THANK YOU! Feel free to contact me

Thomas Hierholzer 732-320-0230

Thomas Hierholzer Industrial Design Portfolio  

Thomas Hierholzer's professional Industrial Design portfolio. Composition of works from a fourth year Industrial Design student at Virginia...

Thomas Hierholzer Industrial Design Portfolio  

Thomas Hierholzer's professional Industrial Design portfolio. Composition of works from a fourth year Industrial Design student at Virginia...