PoseidonTap – A student project for the future

In an interdisciplinary course the team around mechanical engineering student Eric Hayoz developed a multifunctional tap attachment. To be able to construct the prototype in a timely manner, the students also made use of the SLS technology.

Mechanical engineering meets industrial design

A course titled “Interdisciplinary Product Development” was held in the spring semester of 2020, combining the mechanical engineering studies at ETH University Zurich and industrial design at the ZHdK (“Zürcher Hochschule der Künste”). The assignment: In interdisciplinary teams, the students were to develop an innovative product that was convincing both from a technical and a design perspective. The result had to be presented not only as a concept, but ultimately as a functional prototype. Mechanical engineering student Eric Hayoz tackled this task together with aspiring industrial designers Darius Spiess and Vanessa Karla.

Eric Hayoz (ETH) and Vanessa Karla (ZHdK)
Eric Hayoz (ETH) and Vanessa Karla (ZHdK) on the construction of their prototype.
Exploded view of the “PoseidonTap” concept.
Exploded view of the “PoseidonTap” concept.

A multifunctional tap attachment

The team decided to realize a multi-purpose tap attachment with the project name “PoseidonTap”. In addition to the requirement of a simple installation without the use of tools, the goal was to create an adapter with precise dosing and water-saving functions. By means of precise measuring, this should make cooking and baking easier for future customers – something which is becoming increasingly popular in times of lockdown and home office – and at the same time meet the growing demand for sustainability. The latter works by means of an integrated aerator that enriches the water with air in order to save water. With the first technical drawings, the team quickly realized that 3D printing would also have to be used to produce the prototype in a timely manner.

Selective Laser Sintering for complex shapes

To implement the elaborate design, the students initially made use of the FDM process, but soon encountered limitations and had to look for alternatives: “We chose the SLS technology instead, because it is suitable for our highly complex parts and there is no need for any support structures during printing,” explains Eric Hayoz. As a result, “there are virtually no limits to your imagination”. The team sent their CAD data to Sintratec, which covered the manufacturing costs of the components to sponsor this creative study project.

SLS components on a table
Smoothing out SLS parts
Constructed SLS prototype

3D printed on the Sintratec S2 System: the team constructs the water tap attachment from the laser sintered nylon parts.

Functional components within a short time

The nylon parts produced on the Sintratec S2 System convinced the team: “In addition to the almost anisotropic properties we were also pleased with the very uniform, flawless surface,” Hayoz explains. Together with various ball bearings and valves, the first functional prototype was soon constructed – and proved itself in the field test. Even though some sealing problems became apparent, the operating principle completely convinced the students. And thanks to the speedy collaboration with Sintratec, the fast approaching project deadline was also met: “A few days after the contact was established, the first prototype was already on the table,” emphasizes Hayoz.

Testing the SLS tap attachment
The first prototype of the tap attachment in action.
Rendering of the PoseidonTap concept
Elegant design: This is what the “PoseidonTap” could look like in the future.

Even though the project with this prototype is still in its early stages, Hayoz sees great potential, especially with regard to selective laser sintering: “In the future, further development with high-integrity design could be realized without any problems”, he summarizes. We are excited to see where the future path of PoseidonTap will take us.

Eric Hayoz

“With the SLS process there are almost no limits to the imagination. Highly complex parts can be realized within a very short time.”

Eric Hayoz
Mechanical Engineering Student
ETH Zurich