Additive Manufacturing Strategies

3D Printed ‘Down Up’ Tap Designed to Avoid Contortions at the Drinking Fountain

ST Medical Devices

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We’ve all been there. You’re in a public building (a school, say) and you’re thirsty. Suddenly in the hallway, there it is! Your best bet for a quick quench: the water fountain.tumblr_n98ggwQtuo1rl5i3uo1_500

But then… suddenly it all goes awry, and you’re either still thirsty or wearing more water than you were able to slurp up. That’s if you were able to properly reach the faucet at all, of course, as some models seem to require impressive yogic feats to use them.

Industrial designer Alice Spieser (the comic, left, is from her tumblr page) knows the feeling.

alice spieser

Designer Alice Spieser

“A sip of water should be pleasant, and not something embarrassing,” Spieser said. “I decided to make it a nice gesture.”

And that’s exactly what she did. Spieser, while a student at Ecole Cantonal d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL) in Switzerland, used her graduation project as an opportunity to create an easier-to-drink-from fountain that doubles as a regular sink tap. The Down Up tap saves those wishing a quick sip of water from feats of contortion and allows for a very easy way to redirect the water flow upward (or, as the name suggests, keep it downward as well).

With real production costs in mind, the designer — who would admittedly prefer to have the tap made of brass — chose to create the Down Up tap via 3D printing. With costs and ease of production firmly in mine, Spieser chose the route most optimal to get the piece into production quickly, rather one that would drive up every level of pricing, from materials through manufacture. The Down Up tap is 3D printed in a plastic resin, which opened up manufacturing options.Down-Up-by-Alice-Spieser_dezeen_1

The tubular tap has two spouts, and is aptly named in their honor. The lower spout of the Down Up tap pushes water sinkward, for handwashing and other general sink uses, while the upper spout propels the water up instead, instantly changing the sink into a water fountain.

“For me it was the most logical and representative form of the idea that first of all the water goes down to wash their hands and then up to drink,” said Spieser.

A hole in the endusr-599-img-1406020178-a32bb-504x356 of each is the controlling force for the water’s direction: turn the water on, block the lower hole with your finger, and up the water goes! It really couldn’t be easier (though your fingertip will get a little wet, that’s usually a hazard around sinks anyway). The design is such that the water will flow upward with sufficient force to create an easy-to-drink-from jet, but not enough force that it would create a mess or a splash.

In producing her tap, Spieser turned to KWC, a Swiss tap manufacturer, to create the internal parts. The tap is now up for the prestigious James Dyson Award.

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What do you think about the Down Up tap? Would you use one of these taps? What do you think about the design aspect of it? While you’re thinking of it, check out this video of the dual tap in action below, and don’t forget to leave your opinion of Spieser’s design in the Down Up Tap forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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