by Bill Crocker
New automatic plug for your boat drain!
About this project
I have a working prototype for a one way valve for use on boat drains. Once installed, the user will no longer need to remember to plug and unplug their boat. The two most prominent designs out on the market today have issues that this valve is designed to fix.
Check valves are a popular solution. They utilize a weak spring to press a ball into a seat to create the seal. They open just enough to allow water to flow out of one direction, yet close when that pressure is removed. Debris will often times get stuck between the ball and the seat as the spring pins the debris in place, causing a leak the next time you use it. In addition, that debris can be difficult to remove once in place. One solution is to filter the water before reaching the valve. But the filter eventually clogs up, rendering the apparatus useless until cleaned.
Ping-pong ball style scupper valves require a lot of work to install. In many instances, you have to modify your boat to utilize these. Like the check valve, these too can leak due to debris being stuck the ball. It is less of an issue, though, as water can wash over the ball clearing the debris before it completes its seal. The submersion valve proposed here solves both of these issues. By using a floating ball to create a seal, there is not a constant closing force to trap debris. While submerged, the ball floats up into the seat. Once out of the water, the ball falls and allows any fluid and debris to flow out. Both the seat and the ball are coated with a special material that makes it very difficult for debris to stick. Additionally, in the event debris such as grass does manage to stick to the ball, the rising water generally washes over the seal before the ball reaches the seat. The valve interfaces with the existing plug’s threaded hole. The user can simply discard the plug and replace it with this valve permanently.
Due to the nature of manufacturing and shipping, large production quantities are necessary to bring prices down to levels that benefit everyone. Kickstarter is the perfect platform for projects like these as it both allows one to raise funds for production instead of depending on distributors and it allows one to gauge interest in their product. There are two options for funding this project depending on whether or not you’re interested in this for yourself or you’re interested in this to resale. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!
Risks and challenges
While this isn’t my first project as an independent engineer, these valves are much heavier than the product I’ve previously produced so I could end up underestimating shipping expenses or time from abroad as this will be the first time utilizing sea transport. In case you’re wondering, my manufacturer is in China. However, we’ve done a lot of work together since March of this year and we have a great working relationship!