Stainless Oona

a stainless steel prototype of the Oona fountain spout

I've been mulling about getting a stainless steel spout for some time. I find the shiny polished sheen of the material intriguing. My first choice was the Kepik spout. So, I had some cast. Once they came back from the foundry, I tried polishing them. It was a disaster. The shape of the part doesn't lend itself well to being polished. There are too many corners and edges that are hard to reach.

Next I tried casting some Oona spouts. The shape lends itself better to what is traditionally associated with stainless steel, a kind of rounded smooth shape with minimal sharp edges. This time, instead of polishing the parts myself I had a company do it for me. In the conversation with the polisher, it came out that some parts of the casting would be hard to polish. The raised banding on the periphery of the back plate made it imposible for him to effectively polish the back plate. The part from the polisher looked good. But there was the niggling little area that the polisher wasn't able to get at. Two options: either pay more money to hand polish the offending areas, or redesign the spout.

Well, as it turns out, there are other problems with the back plate. The particular grade of stainless steel (316) that would work out well in the spouts construction is difficult to machine. Just drilling the little hole in the back for the bonding lug is well nigh impossible. The part doesn't translate well into stainless steel

It's time to redesign the part

Design isn't always fun. Often it means dealing with a bunch of constraints that limit possibilities. Yuck. Let's skip the frustrating parts. That's my job to take care of those things.

Instead it might be fun to introduce you to what happens during the design and manufacturing of a spout. So, I'm going to try a little experiment and video the process. Follow along while I discuss the project and show little snippets of how the part gets made. This process will take a few months (maybe longer depending on how many obstacles I encounter along the way) but here's the first installment of an on-going experiment

Well, it's off to the workshop - Waterbearing out.