Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Goodword Alchemy R + D Lab Reinvents the Sink with 3D Printing

ST Medical Devices

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UntitledWhile they say the center of the home is the kitchen, the center of the kitchen (and often, as in this context–the lab) is the sink.

These days, sinks and all their accouterments come in myriad colors, materials, and styles–with the spigot and spout being the cherry on top for picking out something cool–as well as water flow style being a modern concern as well. And with the latest project by Goodword Alchemy, we see the sink as we know it undergo transformation, but the real point is that you can take an ordinary concept like sink water flow and not only come up with an idea for doing something, but put it into motion expediently with 3D design and 3D printing. And we think the best inventions are most always sparked by a need.

Thinking of something and going out there and just making it was indeed the overall concept at the Goodword Alchemy R + D lab recently with the 3D printed part they made for their sink. We aren’t talking fancy here–in this first iteration, anyway–but the design obviously has great potential from several angles.

Goodword Alchemy, based in Somerville, MA, spends a lot in time in their workshop inventing just about anything that their customers–based in diverse fields from chemistry and biology labs to food delivery franchises and cosmetics–may request. While their sink innovation centers around the workplace, and not the home, just think of all the great designs users could make for the home with access to their own files for something like a sink spigot or water flow device.

download (1)

The original sink setup

Working from their warehouse chemistry lab, which was still in the makings and had no water, the Goodword Alchemy R + D team devised a simple but amazing sink setup that offers a great 3D printed design, even if it does need some prettying up before it goes in your oceanfront beach cottage–and it could certainly work as a design for developing areas, featuring some engineering brilliance centered around pure simplicity.

“What really amazed me, (and what ought to impress you about the power of 3D printing) was how quickly we moved from a simple, but somewhat crazy invention to the physical incarnation of that object–infinitely reproducible (if anyone else were to find themselves in the ridiculous waterless situation we were in),” relayed the team’s author of the blog.

They gave it the college try at first with tubing and clamps. The idea, in conjunction with their five-gallon water jug, was perfectly logical: they would ‘turn the water on’ by siphoning with the tubing, and then ‘turn it off’ by using the clamp to stop the water flow when finished.

The clamp didn’t work due to sheer lack of power. When they attempted to cut off the flow of water, rather than doing what the team had anticipated, the clamp merely bent the tube–and the water kept on flowing despite their efforts.

“We tried rubber banding a square piece of wood into the clamp to provide a flat surface against which to close off the tube,” said the team on their blog. “It broke.”

download (2)Attempting to maneuver through the same issue using steel, the team again had trouble as the tube kept moving out of place when they employed the clamp either for the on or off mode.

“When we tried attaching the rubber band to the steel, but the amount of rubber bands it took to hold everything in place it cut off the flow of water to the tube,” said the Goodword Alchemy team. “That’s when we took to the 3D printer.”

After all the hours spent with traditional ideas (of sorts), the team was able to design the part in a mere 20 minutes with SOLIDWORKS. It took only two hours to 3D print the sink part, allowing “the two arms [to] fit over the prongs on the 3-way clamp.” With the 3D design and subsequent 3D print, the ream reported a perfect fit, as well as functionality.

Have you ever thought of a similar design? Share with us in the 3D Printed Sink forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

 

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