Bryan Alintoff is an inventor with a mission—to keep sinks clean and reduce water usage. He knows the pains of a dirty sink, constantly scooping water around the basin to splash away toothpaste, facial hair, makeup, and more, and how much water this time-invasive process can use. That’s why he created the Sink Spinner, a revolutionary device designed with the assistance of ProtoCAM¹ and the ever-evolving technology that is 3D additive manufacturing. It’s a project that will help conserve water for all—and cut down on cleaning time.
It all started with a 3rd-grade school project. In 2017, Alintoff’s son, Hayden, was assigned to create a pitch for an invention and present it to a panel, not unlike the ABC show Shark Tank. After weeks of trying to think up a vision, Alintoff, exhausted after a full day of work, sent Hayden to brush his teeth and get ready for bed, and then he had an epiphany.
“Every time [Hayden] brushes his teeth, the toothpaste is everywhere,” Alintoff recalls thinking. “And if you don’t get to [the toothpaste] quickly, it’s like glue afterward. When I brush my teeth, I scoop my hand, and I splash the water around; I said to myself, if I can get the water to spin around, I don’t have to rinse the sink every morning and every night.” Alintoff immediately ran to his son with the idea, who dubbed the invention the Sink Spinner.
Alintoff and Hayden created a crude prototype and presented the project to a panel of judges at Hayden’s school. “Every parent and teacher came up to me for weeks saying, ‘when you get that, I want one, I need one,” Alintoff remembers. After filing a provisional patent, Alintoff began the manufacturing process.
Prototyping via 3D Printing
With the assistance of his brother-in-law, Alintoff began creating ideas for designs. A patent attorney Alintoff spoke with early in the process gave him the idea to purchase a 3D printer and build and test prototypes in-house. “[The attorney] mentioned that back in the day, it was very costly to develop prototypes because you had to go elsewhere to have them done,” Alintoff remembers their conversation. “He said you can prototype anything now with the 3D printer.”
Alintoff considered utilizing a local university’s 3D printers. Still, as the design would require several different iterations to test, he decided to purchase a desktop printer and use that for prototyping and testing. After several iterations, he brought proof of concept containing a spin mode and an aerator mode, and engineers were on board to ensure the manufacturability of the product.
Having created a good, workable product, Alintoff and Hayden realized that the product might be working a little too well. With a full, regular stream of water running through the system at approximately two gallons per minute, Alintoff says, “the thing was spinning so fast, it could probably take off tar!”
Realizing the product could serve the function they sought with less water passing through the system. They began to experiment with slowing the flow of water. They could get the flow rate down to 1.5 gallons per minute through the spin mode and to one gallon per minute in the aerate mode. “There’s no reason to use all that water. We can save water, and we can help save the planet a little bit,” Alintoff says. Along with his conservation efforts with the Sink Spinner, Alintoff is a member of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, which strives to make a difference in preserving our water resources.
For Alintoff, though, it comes down to the function of the product as both a sink cleaner AND a water conservation tool. “We’re not just another adapter that goes on your sink to save water. We love saving water, and we’re so focused on saving water, but most importantly, it’s the function; people look at [the product] and see the spin mode, and they are just blown away.”
Achieving a Presentation Product Before Production: Enter ProtoCAM
Once Alintoff had a refined 3D file, he was ready to start building his marketing materials as he researched large-scale manufacturing options. As he began setting up a website and preparing for a Kickstarter launch, Alintoff realized he would need a sleek, showcase-worthy Sink Spinner to present on his marketing platforms that matched the specs of the final manufactured product.
ProtoCAM was recommended to Alintoff as a company that could help create his desired presentation product. He contacted our Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Bob Holbrook, who was ready to take on the challenge. “When I talked to Bob, I said, you know, we can get the high-quality prints right from ProtoCAM, and that’s what we did,” Alintoff says.
Alintoff’s experience with ProtoCAM, from the front of the house to the back workshop, was, in a word, excellent. Ryan Schmidt, Alintoff’s project engineer, was available to help him create a perfect, finished STL file. “He was amazing,” Alintoff says of Schmidt. “He would look at the STL file, and any kind of thing he saw that was maybe a little question mark, or needed a little tweaking, or wasn’t quite right, he immediately got back to me, and we were able at that point to have our engineers tweak things the way he needed to get everything perfect.”
Alintoff was in a rush to receive the showcase product, as his marketing and videography endeavors were running full steam ahead, but this was fine for ProtoCAM. “I told Ryan, I need this done in a week or a week and a half…ProtoCAM, Ryan, and the team really put me ahead, expedited my project, and got it to me ahead of schedule,” Alintoff recalls. ProtoCAM’s finishing specialists utilized our advanced finishing tools to create a unique brushed-nickel finish for the showcase-ready, stereolithography-created Sink Spinner, exactly what Alintoff was looking for.
“The whole ProtoCAM team, from Faye in the front of the house with the ordering, finalizing, and shipping, to everyone in the back with Ryan and the finishing team—it was just a straightforward and smooth process. It was great,” Alintoff says.
A Product for Anyone and Everyone
The Sink Spinner includes an adaptor that helps it attach to almost every faucet, Alintoff says that anyone can and should be a customer of his product, citing its functions in multiple industries and settings, like washing away dye from salon hair-washing basins. “There are just so many reasons and so many industries that can use the technology,” Alintoff says. He also says parents of multiple children are likely to be a primary benefactor of the Sink Spinner, as his initial experience with his child and a toothpaste-filled sink inspired the product.
As for the future, Alintoff has many ideas for customization options for the Sink Spinner and further product evolutions to make it as useful for customers as possible. With 3D Printing, all of Alintoff’s ideas are possible. “All the different features we want to add to the evolutions of our project are all going be done with a 3D printer,” says Alintoff. “We love the 3D printer. It’s a game changer in every way.”
With the help of additive manufacturing and 3D Printing, ProtoCAM brought Alintoff’s project to life. A project that may have taken hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless years a few decades ago can now be done in a few years or even months with the evolution of this technology. People like Alintoff are saving the world—and our precious minutes—one sink at a time, thanks to the power of 3D Printing. “It’s just changed everything,” Alintoff says.
We look help to helping get your ideas made.