Introducing…
The Planet Whizbang
Toe-Tapper Faucet Switch
(prototypes for sale)

Dateline: 17 June 2014

Planet Whizbang Toe-Tapper Faucet Switch
Version 1.0
(click picture for enlarged view)


I have met my self-imposed one-month-long deadline to make 100 prototype “Toe-Tapper Faucet Switches." Those of you who are regular readers of this blog will recall that I wrote about this idea back on May 18th. That was the day after I had finalized the design (Click Here to read the post). 

Interested persons can now buy a Toe-Tapper, put it to use, evaluate the design and, hopefully, give me some feedback. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. I need to explain exactly what this Toe Tapper is for and how it works....

The Toe-Tapper...

The Toe-Tapper is a foot-switch designed to be used with an outdoor sink that is hooked up to a garden hose. 

Sinks are often set up outdoors by people who process (butcher) their own chickens. An outdoor sink can also be handy for washing produce from the garden before bringing it in the house. Or, if you are into putting up your own food (canning and freezing), you might have a temporary outdoor summer-kitchen (with an outdoor sink) set up under a tent in the back yard. The toe-tapper faucet switch allows you to turn the sink faucet on and off with a tap of the foot. One tap to turn the water on. Another tap to turn it off.


Another view of the Toe-Tapper. 

What You Should Know
Before You Buy A Toe-Tapper

The pictures on this page show you exactly how the Toe-Tapper is constructed. It measures 4” wide by 11” long, and is 3” high. 

The prototype Toe-Tapper faucet switches I’m selling here have no warranty or guarantee. They are being sold at a reasonable price for the purpose of field testing. Based on the feedback I get, I will decide to proceed with making and selling more Toe-Tappers, or to not make any more. One thing is for sure... I will not be making any more of these Toe-Tappers in 2014.

I believe the basic design of the Toe-Tapper is sound. What I don’t know, and hope to find out, is how dependable the push-button water valve is over an extended period of use. I have tested one Toe-Tapper by putting it under my computer desk (not hooked to water) and clicking it on and off repeatedly. Thus far, the internal spring has held up to at least a couple thousand clicks.


A top-down view… Two holes are drilled in the Toe-Tapper base for anchor spikes. Two 6" spikes (visible in this picture) are included with the Toe-Tapper. Position the switch on the ground under your sink where you want it to be and hammer the spikes into the soil. If the Toe-Tapper is positioned on wood, just use a couple of screws to hold it in place.


I purchased the push-button water valves (they are sold as "tap adapters") from Gardener's Supply. Click Here to go to the web page for the valves. You can read a lot of customer feedback there.

I had to purchase the fittings at full retail price from Gardener’s Supply because they didn’t want to sell wholesale to me. Gardener’s Supply is the only place I know of that sells them. I couldn’t locate the manufacturer. I would not be surprised to see these unique fittings being sold in major home centers before long. That would be a good thing. Perhaps the price would come down.

The white HDPE used to make the valves came from plastic pieces I have saved over the years from making Whizbang cider press and chicken plucker parts. Some of the plastic is scuffed or scratched and there may be sawblade marks on the edges. So don't judge these prototypes by the cleanliness of the plastic. I would like people to judge the functional usefulness of the design concept, as well as the durability of the tap adapter.

With HDPE plastic in mind, I got an e-mail from a man who said he left a piece of 1/8” HDPE outdoors for a year and it degraded to the point of crumbling apart. It is possible to buy ultraviolet-resistant HDPE, but I’m pretty sure the HDPE I’ve used to make these Toe-Tappers is not UV-HDPE. 

However, I've had a roll of the 1/8” HDPE outdoors behind my shop (not in direct sun) for more than a year and have seen no degradation at all. Common plastic buckets are HDPE and they hold up to the elements outdoors for years. It remains to be seen how the HDPE in these Toe-Tappers will hold up if left outdoors, in direct sun, for a long period of time. If you are concerned about UV rays, you can put a coat or two of paint on the plastic. Paint will protect the plastic from ultraviolet degradation.

Some of the Toe-Tapper prototypes have 3/4" thick base plates. Some have 1/2". I don't think one is any better than the other.

All metal hardware used to assemble the Toe-Tappers is stainless steel. No rust!

Every prototype is stamped with a serial number: 001 to 100.



Side view of the Toe-Tapper Faucet Switch


How To Buy A Toe-Tapper

If the simple practicality and functional usefulness of this hands-free outdoor faucet switch appeals to you,  you can purchase a prototype with the order button at the bottom of this page. 

The price is $21.95. An additional $8 will be added to the order for USPS Priority shipping to any US. address. 

Sorry, but I am not shipping any of these prototypes outside the United States. They are all packaged in Regional-Rate Priority mail boxes which are only for shipping within the U.S. Also, I am limiting the sale of these prototypes to one per customer

I am keeping three of the prototypes for myself (#098 to #100). The other 97 will sell as the orders come in, beginning with #001, until they are all sold. First come, first served.

Sold Out. 

PDF specifications for making your own Toe-Tapper faucet switch are now available at This Link



This picture shows one option for plumbing a water line from the Toe-Tapper to your faucet. Your garden hose will thread into the valve on the right. A 5/8" "female mender" (which I bought from Lowes) can be used on the opposite side. A length of 5/8" inside diameter hose would go from the female mender up to your sink faucet. Female mender and hose are NOT included with the prototype Toe-Tapper.

Please leave questions and evaluation feedback in the comments below. I also welcome feedback by e-mail: hckimball@bci.net


Thank you.



6 comments:

Michael Warwick said...

Number 31 has arrived in SC, Thank You. Arrived in good condition.

Herrick Kimball said...

E-Mail Feed back on Toe-Tapper #007...

I received my Toe Tapper yesterday. It looks good, and appears to be solidly put together. I have a planned use for it, and it may be a while before I put it into operation, but I do have an observation for you.

Because of the closeness of the base and the foot pedal, there isn't much room to get your fingers in the area to mount the hoses. If the valve hose fittings could be extended a bit (adapter pre-mounted or provided or references given to buy them) it would make attaching and removing hoses less damaging to fingers.

One question that I have is, is there a similar valve available that is only on when your foot is holding it down, rather than push on-push off? I've seen industrial sinks that have a foot valve where you have to keep your foot on the valve pedal to get water. It may just be my personal preference rather than something others would like to have, but I think it would cut down on potential problems with walking away with the water still 'on'.

Steve said...

#002 arrived in SC several days ago. Nice work sir. Not a complaint but the hot glue did not hold up to the normal stresses of hooking up the hose lines. I plan to experiment with some 2 part epoxy. Will test a dab on the valve and a dab on on the HDPE. I suspect it will adhere well to the valve but have doubts about the HDPE.

The unit seems as if it will work just fine with no glue but I'll work on other adhesives.

Even if the valve were to fail after XXX cycles it would be a simple replacement and the valve is cheap. The plate and lever mechanism (accounting for design/engineering time) are worth the cost.

Thanks

Herrick Kimball said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the feedback. The "glue" is silicone caulking. It's purpose is not to hold the valve solid but to give it some up and down stability so the base of the valve doesn't lift up out of the hole it rests in.

The silicone was an afterthought. I don't really think it is needed for the Toe-Tapper to be used in it's working position.. The device will work just fine without the silicone there. But it occurred to me that the valve might slip out of place during shipping and I wanted to give it a little added security. I would suggest that you not use any epoxy. If it were to glue the valve solidly to the HDPE you would have a hard time replacing the valve later if need be.

Herrick Kimball said...

Re: Feedback on Toe-Tapper #007, and the matter of extending the fitting ends for easier hookup…..

It is possible to purchase "stub hoses," which are 6" long lengths of 5/8" ID garden hose. Do a Google search or check out this link:

RV Water Hook-Up Stub Hose

Steve said...

Plumbed in the valve today...a bit of frankenplumbing using bits I had about. Works like a charm. Will put it to use next weekend as I clear out a house of old layers to make room for the new pullets.