If you are an engineer and you have not yet had the opportunity to tinker around with CAD software and 3D print your designs, you are severely missing out. 3D printing has opened a whole new realm of possibilities for designers and engineers all over the globe. The technology allows these individuals to design or engineer a product, and then bring those products into the tangible world in a matter of hours. If 3D printing doesn’t greatly speed up the innovation and invention process in the coming years, nothing will. While many people look at desktop 3D printers as simply being toys for hobbyists, those individuals with unique ideas see it as a tool for bringing their ideas to life.
For one 22-year-old Swedish engineering student, named Filip Sjöö, 3D printing allowed him to come up with an invention unlike anything we have seen before.
“I got my 3D-printer for Christmas,” Sjöö tells 3DPrint.com. “It’s a Prusa i3, and it’s probably the best Christmas gift ever.”
When most ordinary people get their first 3D printer, they experiment by printing out simple little objects such as combs, mini Yoda figures, and other figurines. Sjöö, however, decided to jump right into an engineering project that he thought would be fascinating to create. He decided to 3D print a fully functional water-powered dishwasher.
“First I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted do to something that was powered by the water from the tap,” Sjöö tells us. “The first thing I did, was try to figure out how to attach the thing to the tap. The best way to do this was probably to use the threads on the tap.”
After he had measured the threads, he began searching around the internet for a standard CAD file that would fit onto his sink’s tap. Unfortunately though, he was unable to find anything, anywhere with just the right measurements. This left Sjöö with only one other option — create his own.
Using SolidWorks, he began designing his tap attachment, making sure that his threads did not exceed an angle of 45 degrees.
“The maximum angle you can print without supports is approximately 45 degrees,” Sjöö explains. “Because of this, I had to make a custom design. I was not sure that I would succeed in printing functional threads, as the pitch was only 1 mm, but surprisingly it worked very well after some failiures.”
Now it was off to the fun part. Sjöö had to devise a plan to fabricate a creation that could actually wash dishes effectively. The first idea that popped into his head was creating an internal water turbine, which he thought would be extremely efficient. However, he soon came to the realization that it was very difficult to do this without using any seals. Because of the high pressure of the water from his tap, many leaks formed, causing a larger mess than anyone would want to deal with when washing dishes.
Sjöö is an engineer though, and engineers are trained to come up with multiple solutions to the same problem. So this is exactly what he did. He devised a different plan. He would create an external turbine, which may be even cooler than the initial internal iteration, since it would be visible to onlookers.
“The rest of the CAD modeling was done in just a couple of hours,” he tells us. “The gear ratios on the dishwasher were based on well grounded guesses about the flow rate of the water and some basic calculations. My goal was the make the brush go back and forth one time every second or so.”
Once the design was complete, it was on to 3D printing the parts. Sjöö admits that there were a few failures at first which required him to modify some of the parts, but all in all he says the process went very well.
After printing had finished and the parts were just as Sjöö had intended them to be, he assembled them, hooked his newly built device up to his water faucet, and turned it on. The brush, which is not 3D printed, is held onto the dishwasher using zip ties. As the water runs through the turbine, it causes the brush to move back and forth at a steady rate. While Sjöö admits that it probably isn’t going to be a product that many people, if any, are interested in purchasing, he never intended for it to be more than a “funny little project that [he] had to do.”
Sjöö is currently working on finishing up his engineering degree. In his spare time when he isn’t experimenting with his 3D printer, he runs a company that he co-founded, called Headface, where he is the designer.
What do you think about this intuitively designed device created by Filip Sjöö? Discuss in the 3D Printed Dishwasher forum thread on 3DPB.com.