Intro: 5-Finger Soap Dish
Hi, I've found that many of the prefab shower units place their soap dishes/shelves in odd almost useless places where the water is washing away the soap constantly. So then with the idea of multiple people sharing a bathroom and wanting their own soaps separate from the others that there needs to be a way to mount a simple soap dish onto the walls of these fiberglass shower units and/or bathroom tiles.
Looking at various soap dishes available today I noticed they didn't seem to be designed very well nor look so hot so then since I'm getting a little older myself I decided to make a soap dish that looks kind of cool but makes grabbing the soap out of the dish more easy and allows the soap dish to drain water better so the soap isn't standing in a puddle.
Since the soap dish is for humans and most humans have 5-fingers and I wanted symmetry in my design I designed this fingered soap dish.
Because I prototype print most of my projects I designed this dish to easily be printed on a home 3D Plastic Printer too!
Step 1: Step 1 the Finger Curl ...
The fingers need to hold the soap but grip it too tight so it's a nice slight curved spline I created the Guide Curve for the three middle fingers in SolidWorks.
The next step is to set the finger spacing ... that's easy enough using the Linear Pattern tool in SolidWorks.
Step 3: Now the Two Outter Side Fingers ...
The two fingers on the outer sides need to be slightly higher and curved a little more to help keep the soap centered on the soap dish. So I made a new Guide Curve and moved it up slightly ...
Step 4: The First Extrudes ...
Okay, Now it's time to Extrude the fingers using the Sweep tool in SolidWorks. First off are the three middle fingers.
Step 5: Setting the Placement for the Two Outer Fingers ...
Okay, now the two outer finger circles need to set in place ... wow ... I'm half-way there!
Step 6: Now We Sweep-Extrude the Two Outer Fingers ...
Again using the Sweep Extrude tool in SolidWorks I select the shape to be extruded, and the Guide Curve for the Sweep to follow ... and voila! I have five fingers just aching to hold a bar of soap.
Step 7: Finger Tips!
Okay, the flat ends aren't very user friendly, so using the Dome tool in SolidWorks I add a nice round tip to each finger.
Step 8: Hollowing Out the Fingers ...
In this step I "Shell" out the fingers to 3mm so they have 3mm thick walls ... this makes them lighter, cheaper to print and actually I think it makes them a little stronger too. The SolidWorks Shell tool is so much fun to play with!
Step 9: The Back Mounting Panel ...
Now I am ready to add the 3mm thick back mounting panel. This is where the 3M type Command Strips will adhere and hold the soap dish to the wall or tile. I figure two or four strips horizontally should be sufficient for a soap dish. After the sketch it is a simple the most basic 3mm Extrude in SolidWorks.
Step 10: Trim Out the Back Bores and Add Fillets ...
That's what happened here ... I cut out the back of the panel so the bores that were made shelling out the fingers come through the back mounting panel, then I added some fillets to round out the fingers mounted onto the front of the mounting panel and the front edges of the mounting panel too. 3mm fillets for the fingers and 1mm fillets for the panel edges. You can see the fillets as the Yellow on the image ...
Step 11: Now It's Your Turn to Print a 5-Fingered Soap Dish!
Here is the .STL file for the 5-Fingered Soap Dish ... so you can print your own.
Place it where you want in your bathroom or shower ... I prefer up higher to the right of the shower head where I can easily reach it and it's not getting wet every time the shower is turned ON.
The final secret of this soap dish ... by having the space between the fingers it's easier for the elderly to get a grip on the bar of soap to pick it up instead of it slipping around as it does in a standard soap dish. Now you can make your mother or father or grand parents a nice gift!
I did my first prototype print ... the fingers are a little too fat and a little too flat so now I've thinned out the fingers and curled the tips up a little more. I'll post the final .STL file when I've settled on the design. ITMT, this second .STL is available and is usable ... just not sure it's perfect yet. I like the fatter fingers, but the larger spacing makes it easier to grasp the bar of soap. So now I'm making both files available for downloading. You can choose what you think is best. Maybe comment on your choice here for others to consider what they want to print.
Skinny Fingers ... wider spacing:
Fat Fingers ... narrower spacing: