It figures that just as we get back into the swing of the baby bottle phase, and we break out a new pack of the Playtex Ventaire bottles--in mix-and-match pastel colors--a new study comes oot of Canada showing that all the popular polycarbonate baby bottles still--STILL!--leach Bisphenol A. Just like they did this time last year.
So I've been thinking about it, and I'd like to do something to improve this unacceptable situation, which the Bottle Industrial Complex seems unwilling to address: I want to make some of the neck ring and base pieces for the Ventaire in some non-pastel colors. The wife's thinking of white, and I'd like a nice, silvery grey. The Macifier: a parent's best friend [see artist (sic) conception below.]
These components are injection-molded from polypropylene [PP], with threads and a ring of tiny gripper teeth on the inside. The base is also perforated, and a little silicon vent cover [patented, btw, oh wait, so's the whole assembly. let's come back to that].
I guess replicating them entails making a mold [tooling?] and then producing a short run of them [10? 100? 500? 1000?]. There's a seam right on the edge, so the original mold may be like two nesting pieces [a last?], one for the outside and one for the inside?
The only reason I'm even considering this is because of the so-called rise of custom manufacturing and the computer-driven tools that have ushered in a new age of instant, cost-effective parts production. Only I'm not quite sure if we're there yet.
Do you scan these two 2-inch plastic pieces and 3-D print them in polypropylene? Because then I could just make a few. Do you scan them and make a more precise mold because ganking the tooling by casting from an original [is this called splashing?] invariably throws off the tolerances a bit?
Does the PP just come out looking like that, or is there another finishing step, or a plastic grade question I don't even know to ask?
As for creating new versions of someone's patented parts, if it's just for me, I frankly don't lose too much sleep over it. The aftermarket for car parts and accessories is huge, and long-established. If this ends up looking good--or if I end up having to make 500 rings to get the 4 I want. Though I'd probably cry about the B-school tuition gone to waste, I can't see any legal reason DT couldn't become the JC Whitney of the baby bottle industry. [Next up: stroller handle cats with turn signal eyes. And mud flaps.] More practically, is there some Secret Code of The Molders that means producing any of these things is out of the question?
I know you can do this while wearing Dockers, but can you do this on a stove? I don't have any Dockers, and I'd really rather not. Are there 496 other Ventaire users who want in on a set of white and silver rings?
Plastic baby bottles may pose danger [marketwatch]
Bisphenol A leaching from popular baby bottle [chej.org]
Sounds better in Quebecois: Des biberons toxique! [environmentaldefence.ca, which tested the Playtex bottles]
Epoxy molds yield production material prototypes [injection molding magazine]
eMachineShop: create real metal and plastic objects in a virtual machine shop! [emachineshop.com]
Previously: About that BOTTLE OF DEATH... 02/07
Related: If You Can't Buy It, Build It: Wanky the Safety Cat [jalopnik]