Last December, Joe Dietz and his wife Amy needed a way to dispense their homebrewed beer on the go. With a great idea and the power of 3D printing, they found their solution: Attach-a-Tap!
Attach-a-Tap is a portable draft tower that connects to your homebrew keg for easy, clean, and good looking dispensing.
"Being lucky enough to have a 3D printer at work, we printed our prototype and did lots of drinking… I mean testing!" Dietz said playfully.
Owning a LulzBot TAZ, the kit version of the TAZ 4, Dietz was able to make the perfect prototype out of PLA. When showing it off to fellow homebrewers, the couple received numerous suggestions to throw the project on Kickstarter. The couple the heeded advice from their friends and were successfully funded!
"We really could not have made this project successful without 3D printing. The volumes we produce are not nearly high enough to make injection molding comparable to the cost of printing... even when factoring in labor," said Dietz.
At one point there were about three months straight where the couple was printing 20 hours a day, seven days a week! He also mentioned that they could not have fabricated the Attach-a-Tap clamp using a typical mold because the piece has a long curved cavity. It would have needed a complete redesign - maybe to the point where it would not have been as practical to use - if it weren't for 3D printing.
Not only did the brew-loving couple come up with a way to print and make something out of their Attach-a-Tap, but they also started printing tap handles! The couple says the tap handles are a lot of fun due to the amount of colors they can produce them in; something they would not be able to do as easily with molding.
So, once the parts have been printed, what's next? Dietz says there is a bit of work that needs to be done to the Attach-a-Tap clamp and the tap handles once printed. For the clamp, they add foam to help it grip the keg. They also add a Velcro strap and, of course, the cool Attach-a-Tap sticker.
The tap handles have laser cut inserts that are coated with chalkboard paint. The insert, tap handle body, and tap handle trim pieces are all glued together with applied pressure. A metal insert is then added to the bottom of the handle to secure it to a standard beer faucet.
Where can you find the Dietz's awesome 3D printed products? Check out their company, Pour Yours, where they are selling the Attach-a-Tap and taps on Etsy until their online store is ready. To learn more, you can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
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