Life as Design Problem: Sentimental Somethings

Problem: Bathroom Sink Clutter

Nils uses a classic safety razor with a brush and cream cup that he's had for years when he decides to clean up his manly scruff. I can appreciate the ritual behind shaving with these objects - however, sharing a smaller bathroom counter with these items is less fun; the razor lays on its side, the brush needs space to dry, and the cream cup sits nearby - just observing and contributing to the chaos in the space.

After a cursory look at available brush and razor stands online and in stores, I decided that it would be more fun and meaningful to design and make a custom one. Ones available in store were either cheaply made and felt cheap or more expensive than what I wanted and not necessarily cooler. Nils' brush is also oddly sized (something I realized in measuring his brush when he wasn't looking) so there was no guarantee that it would hang nicely.

Decisions, Decisions: 3D Print Vs Laser Cutting

Some initial sketching gave me two directions - a solid stand that I could 3D print online via Shapeways or a flat pattern one I could make from acrylic and have a friend laser cut at TechShop. 

 super quick idea-to-paper sketch and some measurements

super quick idea-to-paper sketch and some measurements

The flat pattern version seemed more economical but would have that specific feeling of being laser cut. I wanted to create something that felt less like an afternoon DIY. 3D printing officially won out when I found out that Shapeways could now print porcelain.

I did a rough volume model of Nils' oddly sized brush and razor to make sure that my design didn't have any interference issues - good thing I checked. (Measure twice, print once...that's how the saying goes right?)


I wish I could claim that the design was fully planned when I started modeling but then I'm not giving chance and exploration enough credit. The stand ended up with a really sweet hug gesture when I added the loft and fillet features of the brush hook. The topper was initially supposed to be a space for a custom monogram but I couldn't bring myself to decapitate or flatten the head of the hugging figure. 

Fabrication: Send to Print

After some nerves about having the measurements/tolerances just right - trying to take into account shrinkage and glaze thickness, I thought I was going to do a test print with a typical plastic 3D print. When I input the model, I was surprised to discover that going straight to porcelain was actually the more cost effective option. Jumping straight into the deep end!

It arrived! Although shrinkage got in the way of my original plan, the arms are still able to lift the brush and securely hold it above the counter to drip dry. The part even shipped 10 days early from Shapeways! 

If you're interested in helping me figure out the shop aspect of Shapeways, feel free to look into purchasing this stand for you or a special someone: I'm working on figuring out a better way to customize future orders as opposed to making everyone commit to the initials NC.