Top 5 Constraints: Tap Handle

For my project, I am looking to make a beer tap handle potentially with some dynamic lighting effects to it. This is not something that is common, and will involve a lot of pieces I need to consider in order to make a successful product.

My first constraint that I want to consider is the aesthetic. Many custom beer handles that aren’t generic “Coors” or “Bud Light” incorporate some of theme around the flavor of the beer, and I would like to find a way to incorporate that into my design. My main inspiration for constraining myself to match a beer flavor was the handle featured in this post, which is a chocolate stout beer with a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory aesthetic to it. I think the best way to go about this would be to find the beer first and then shape my design in a creative way around it.

Next, this will likely involve some complex modeling to create a custom piece, and I will potentially need to brush up on some organic modeling skills in order to truly realize the design I come up with. I have done some surfacing within Solidworks, but not much, so I think finding some tutorials and exercises to get me more comfortable with the tools will help this project.

Additionally, the idea of incorporating electronics to be handled around a potentially hectic and messy environment will require me to consider methods of protecting the electronics. I have considered some epoxy coatings that would also give the handle more durability, but I don’t know how well it will work with electronics to waterproof them.

Taps at a bar can be spaced differently, so I need to consider the size of the handle itself. Tap handles are typically around 10″ tall, but what I am really concerned about is the width. If it is too wide, it may require that it be rotated or may not fit altogether in certain tap setups.

Finally, I need to consider how this will be made. The challenge of incorporating the conductive filament with the 3D printer is something I am completely unfamiliar with. I’m looking forward to trying it out, but I do know that there’s an equal chance of it going incredibly smoothly or terribly wrong.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Awesome idea! Also, good job evaluating the constraints. I think a really important one is the electronic protection. Even a little bit of liquid on that could ruin it. Maybe totally encase the electronics or apply a sealant over the circuits.

  • Fatema Alhalal
    March 10, 2019 10:23 pm

    Hi Chris, I think it would be cool if you add a sensor that’s connected with the color of the light and it can till you how full it is.

  • Brittany Callin
    March 10, 2019 7:02 pm

    I am really interested in seeing what beer you end up picking. Do you plan on picking it based on if it’s one of your beers? Or will it be more based on what type of aesthetic that beer will give your final product?

  • Christopher,

    I am happy to see this project has evolved. I am curious about your last comment in terms of 3D printing. I have done a fair share of projects with 3D printing and fluids. They don’t do as well as you’d think. Unless the 3D printing would be purely for the outside design, I would recommend sticking with other materials even if they’re more complicated to work with. I look forward to seeing which beer you choose!


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