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Design progress




Project Fountain, Evaluation of the process

In this blogpost we will overview the project in its entirety, what went wrong, what went well and what we learned as team during this project.

For us, the biggest obstacle during this project was clearly defining our goal and the process to achieve this. The outlines of the assignment “creating visual water effects with fountains for home use” were too vague for us to directly start working on a prototype. Because of this we started with experimenting with different kind of fountains. During this process we switched from idea quite frequently. However, this was not the only factor which slowed down our progress. 3D printing takes quite a long time, and as our progress was very depending on the outcome of our tests, we spent quite a long time waiting for prints to finish before we could continue . Also we had no private 3D printers available which meant sometimes we had to wait several days before we could print.

Fortunately not all was misery. We managed to have a test set up (a tap, a garden hose and a backyard) very early in the process which gave us the ability to test all our freshly printed fountains. The large number of prints we executed gave us a lot of insight. It taught us about the capabilities and limitations of 3D printing. On top of that, the fact that we were working with water(pressure) forced us to take in account an extra set of limitations. We came up with a working design for the tubes within the printable ornaments and figured out that the basic settings for printing with the ultimaker 2 did not guarantee the print to be watertight. We fixed this by increasing the wall thickness of the tubes.          

The end result were different pokemons with built in fountains. It was great to see so many excitement about the prints and the effects.


Science Fair

This tuesday was the day we had been working towards: the science fair. Here we demonstrated our fountains and all of the prints we had made.ap science fair

We showed the fountains in a tub filled with water and a small pump. Two pieces of foam were used in an attempt to keep water from getting near the laptop and such.


On the table next to the tub we showed all the prints we made during the past few weeks. Starting with our first box with slider nozzles up to the painted blue pokemon. We also had some posters of section views of the fountains  on the board behind the table.


People were very interested in what we had made (probably because of the water effects and the pokemons), and wanted to know more about it. We told them the goal of our project and about the process we went through: the printing and testing of nozzles, using the ‘teardrop profile’ instead of a circlular profile and combining all knowledge in a single large print.  We showed a section view of the final pokemon we printed, in which you can see the tube and the interior of a 3D print. We also showed a video of the vortex nozzle, since showing this on site caused a lot of water to be splashed around.

Few people suggested that this technique of creating a fountain could be interesting for artist and maybe architects, because you can create a solid statue with the tubing and nozzles already in the design.

We consider our exhibition to be a success, because we had a lot of people interested in our project and we think we learned them something about 3D prnting.

Lastly is a short video of our exhibtion:

Week 5

This is already the final week before the science fair. Next week on Tuesday is the science fair where we will present our project. To get some final inspiration we decided to visit the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. 2016-10-25 12.13.22 2016-10-25 12.35.52

Sadly there weren’t any fountain projects so we din’t get much inspiration for our own fountain, however there were some interesting projects about 3D printing. There was someone who created a 3D printer that uses clay instead of plastic . 20161025_124837

It was a fun day and we did even see queen Maxima!

Back to our own project. Last week we finalized the shape of the tubes. This week we will experience with different nozzles. After some different shapes and test this is the final result:

2016-10-27 11.09.152016-10-27 11.08.32VORTEX NOZZLE

So the final objective for us is to find a statue where can add our vortex nozzle and raindrop tube. After some research on the internet we decided it would be fun to 3D print a water pokemon and make a fountain of it. After some searching on the internet we found an Lapras and a Kingler.

131Lapras_Pokemon_Mystery_Dungeon_Explorers_of_Time_and_Darkness 250px-099Kingler

We modified the files so we can 3D print them with the ultimaker.  We also added our raindrop tube and vortex nozzle.


The statues will be printed this weekend for the science fair next Tuesday.


Week 4: update #2

Tuesday the 18th of October we presented our project to the rest of the students that participate in the advanced prototyping minor. It was an interesting morning where everyone could ask questions to each other and help each-other out.

The rest of the week we focused on designing different tubes with our own support structure inside of it.

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we know the ultimaker is capable of printing on an angle of 45 degrees without using support structure. So for our first design we used this angle to support the tube. We also printed just a tube without support structure to see what happens. It will print actually without collapsing but the quality of the tube is very poor. Therefore if you just use a circular tube in a statue we think the statue will collapse.

For our final design we tried the shape of a raindrop. This is the design we will eventually use in the end, because with this design there is no material inside the tube. We tested this shape with a complex tube and the result was good. In rhino you can make the raindrop then use the sweep1rail function, important is that the style function is set to “roadlike top”. This way the raindrop will stay oriented the same way.

2016-10-27 11.12.22Knipsel

Next wee we will focus on the final nozzle design and making a statue for the science fair.

Week 4

This week we wanted to improve our child’s toy with modular fountain nozzles but when we talked with our teacher we came to the conclusion that a modular system isn’t really the best way to do it. This is because a benefit of 3D printing is that you can print the object at once, so it is completely water sealed. We decided to make a complete print with the nozzle and the piece where the garden hose needs to be connected.

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left you see the final modular system we tried. It was better then the first one but still not completely water tight. On the right you see the nozzle and water mount in one piece. In the video below you can see the improvement.

After this we quit with the idea of making a modular system for a child’s toy. We came up with a new idea: The problem with making tubes in a 3d model and print it with an ultimaker is that it needs support structure. The problem is that you can’t remove this support structure. You can print with an 3d printer that uses support structure what dissolves in water but this is way more expensive.

Therefore our solution. We want to design our own support structure that doesn’t interfere with the waterflow or pressure. We want to make a grasshopper model that adds support structure to every tube pattern. This way you can take any random 3d model. Put some tubes in it and then we let grasshopper generate the support structure.



Week 3

Hello again!

This week we printed the different nozzles and tested them. Sadly the result was quite disappointing. As you can see in the videos below the surface of the nozzles was to big for the water pressure (as seen in the first video). What we also discovered is that de box isn’t completely  water sealed. So when the pressure was high enough, the water leaked out of the sides (as seen in the second video).

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One positive outcome of this experiment was a new idea for the project. We where very intrigued by the idea of a modular system. We want to implement this system in a child’s toy. We want to design a toy with a hand pump to increase water pressure and a box where different nozzles can be used on. This way the child can play with different fountains. We also want to make the box and nozzles transparent, that way you can see the water flown and alter direction because of the nozzles. Because of this we think the child may learn something about the way water reacts.

For next week we will think of a better way to implement a modular system for a child’s toy

Week 2

During the second week we decided that it would be a good idea to create our own different nozzles and test them. We first created these nozzles in CAD programs like solidworks:

Nozzle designing

We also created a small box that would be used as a platform for the different nozzles and as a passage for the water. This box and nozzles were then 3D printed:






After about 23 hours of printing this was the end result:


Next week we are gonig to test the different nozzles to see their effects.

Week 1


Let’s get started! After meeting our expert we started thinking of ideas how to make a new fountain while using the 3d printing technique. The idea is to create something that can only be done or is way easier to create with 3d printing instead of the regular tube fountain design.

In the first week we decided to focus on research and look for reference pictures and videos on the internet.  This are the different fountain designs  we came up with:

We also searched for interesting  nozzles:

Some interesting videos:

Next week we will discuss these findings with our expert Jun Wu


The assigment:

In this project we aim to create fountain visual effects for home use. In contrast to traditional fountain design which assembles multiple pipes, here we explore the capability of 3D printing for fabricating shapes with a (complex) channel network inside the model. By placing inlet and (possibly multiple) outlet ports on a given 3D model, and by carefully designing the interior channels, we may be able to create fancy fluid effects.

The involved tasks include: 1) review fountain design principles, 2) design fountain effects for home use, 3) design internal channels for achieving the prescribed fluid effects, 4) 3D print the model, and 5) play with and refine the design.

Researcher: Jun Wu (TUD-IDE)