Week 2 – Reinventing The Wheel
Hi everyone, and welcome back to my senior project blog!
Last week I outlined the goal of my project, which is to create a device that can retrofit older faucets and limit water leaks. I also laid out a rough outline of how I aim to prototype my device. This week, I began the design stage of my TapCap. I’ve ideated a couple of designs, and I’ll walk you through my thought process for each different stage.
Before I dive into each design I looked into, I’d like to emphasize the difference in design between TapCap and traditional motion-sensor faucets. Though the functions are the same, traditional motion sensor faucets work in this fashion:
Image via Fontana Showers.
For inspiration, I looked into how current water valves work. This is one of the most common designs I found online:
Image by John Woodard via FreshWater Systems.
This, however, would not work in my case. The space I have to fit a device over the head of the faucet is extremely small, and I have no space to include or mechanism to put and remove such a barricade. I would also have to address moving a three-dimensional valve flap that would have to be watertight all around. I kept researching for simpler and more elegant solutions, and I found this design online:
Image via Plumbing Supply.
While this exact design was too large for my purposes as well, I found the inspiration I sought – I could use a watertight plug to start and stop water flow. If I had a mechanism that could just push and pull the plug in a linear fashion, I could adapt this concept to fit my needs. A device that would fit this need perfectly is a push-pull solenoid. Here is what one looks like:
Image via Walmart.
The solenoid could very easily push and pull the plug into place based on an electrical signal received when the motion sensor detects motion. This is a rough sketch of the tentative prototype I’m creating (I’m CADding this currently):
Things to watch out for: ensuring that the solenoid will remain out of water’s way, and ensuring that tis can attach onto the faucet head. The fixture part will be ideated in the following weeks. Thank you for reading my post, and please check back in next week! -Dhanvi