Jan 20, 2016 | By Andre
In June of 2015, American Standard, a popular North American manufacturer of plumbing fixtures announced that it intended to launch a set of 3D printed faucets under the company's luxury product line DXV. Not sparing any expense, the series, to be 3D printed using selective laser sintering (SLS) had a reported price point of between $17,000 and $19,500 depending on the model type.
Now, just over half a year since the original announcement, American Standard is showcasing their 3D printed creations at this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show as part of their new release catalogue.
DXF claims these are the first ready-for-market working residential faucets to be 3D printed in metal and sold as a final product. The company suggests that they've been using 3D printing to create plastic faucet models and concepts for years, but that this is their first attempt at metal printing. Vice President of design Jean-Jacques L'Henaff predicts that "3D printing will have a major disruptive effect on the design and construction industry. DXV by American Standard has chosen not to be a bystander, but rather to be a leader in this paradigm shift."
With SLS printing, a software controlled laser beam fuses powdered metal together, one layer at a time, and into the shape of the faucet. From there, a rough metal piece rises out of the powder before being hand-finished for purposes of metal smoothing. As a final touch, the faucets are provided an artisan-inspired butler finish so to provide a similar finish to that found on antique silver pieces.
These three initial designs exemplify how 3D printing technology can produce a high-quality, functional design in a way that would be difficult using traditional methods of manufacturing. The hollow mesh-like intricacy of the Vibrato faucet displayed below is a good example of what I mean.
Between the three designs, they all contain the following characteristics and are said to take roughly 24 hours to print:
- Ceramic disc valve cartridges
- 8" centers
- 6"—12" flexible installation
- Lead Free—faucet contains ≤0.25% total llead content by weighted volume
- Maximum flow rate: 1.2 gpm (4.5 L/min)
- Color / Finish: Butler Finish
In addition to the above common points, these additional details are presented to highlight the design features of the individual faucets in the series.
VIBRATO 3D printed metal Faucet
Light-weight lace design interpreted through robust metals
Traditional, decorative appeal with the complexity of multiple waterways forging a path through a unified conventional aerated flow
TROPE 3D printed metal Faucet
Simple form is expanded to diverge into four waterways before returning to center
Tailored transitional design with a deliberate twist
SHADOWBROOKE 3D printed metal Faucet
Emulating a cascade delivered only by nature with several paths converging into a ribbon flow. The poetic effect of this organic water flow was achieved through the meticulous adjustment of each of its 19 waterways, a significant triumph of Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) technology.
Minimalist, the rest of the faucet styling is extremely pure and simple, to keep the spotlight on the play of the water.
While these 3D printed faucetts remain in the luxury item category for now, it seems American Standard is eager to explore cutting edge 3D print technology further by suggesting that “it’s only the first step; the technology is evolving. Because we’re going to integrate it into many different areas - what we don’t know even, is how far we’re going to go with it." Furthermore, L'Henaff continued that he believes "this technique will eventually upend the design and construction industry, along with many others. A new, more efficient business model for bespoke design could be on the horizon. This would reduce the inventory pressures that arise from mass production of personalized products, while opening up a new world for both design and construction."
Finally, beyond being beautiful (really, who wouldn’t want one?) there is thankfully also no risk of any as a bi-product of the printing process. All three DXV faucets have received NSF certification, do not contain any lead and meet the stringent high performance and water efficiency standards for WaterSense-certification from the EPA and even use 45 percent less water vs. a standard bathroom faucet with a flow rate of 1.2 gallons per minute.
These new 3D printed faucets from DXV by American Standard will be available in select showrooms in the first half of 2016. The Vibrato faucet is priced at $19,500, the Trope at $17,000, and the Shadowbrook at $18,000.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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