7/29/2016

3D-Printed Faucets Illustrate Design Potential

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New consumer faucets made possible with selective laser sintering illustrate AM’s design potential—for both commercial and industrial applications.

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We often talk about additive manufacturing’s potential to enable never-before-seen designs and parts that don’t yet exist, but sometimes it takes something familiar to drive the point home. In this case, that familiar “something” is a water faucet. DXV by American Standard has reimagined what this simple piece of hardware can look like with its new line of metal 3D-printed faucets, seen in the video above, with designs that could not have been produced without additive manufacturing. Rather than a single channel conveying water to the sink basin, each of the three faucets has multiple smaller channels, lending a delicate quality to the designs. The faucets are selective laser sintered from stainless steel, and later hand polished and finished.

While looking at the various designs (particularly the lattice-style “Vibrato” model), I was reminded of conformal cooling channels inside of molds. Additive manufacturing allowed DXV to develop these faucets with curving channels and non-round holes in the same way it enables moldmakers to build inserts with complex internal cooling. Fully leveraging additive manufacturing’s potential demands innovative thinking about established products, and DXV’s reimagining of the familiar is an accessible illustration of what that might look like. 

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