Julia (left |gauche) - Lucas - Images: Tulipal

28 Days to Change the ‘Rules‘” – pun intended – This sounds like the title of a Friday night action movie, but it’s not. It’s about “menstruation” and that’s a topic we never thought we will address here. As the saying goes, there has to be a first time, right?   

If you are a woman and you are reading these lines, I certainly do not teach you that there are several types of sanitary protections: sanitary napkins (pads), tampons, period underwear or menstrual cup.

However, 95% of women who use the latter one often find themselves “stuck” when they are not at home and when they need to rinse their cup and put it back.

This is where Lucas Secades (engineer) and his teammate, Julia Thieffry (bioengineer), founders of Tulipal come into play. The Brussels-based startup “is committed to demystifying menstruations and aims to play its part in the ecological transition by facilitating the use of the menstrual cup“.

How? With a group of users, the team has developed a handheld and reusable product that allows each woman to clean her menstrual cup whenever she wants, and wherever she is. This “handheld menstrual cup cleaner” incorporates a magnetization system, an internal brush, and a double rinse tank. To use it, the user should simply fill it with water, insert the empty menstrual cup and turn the joystick in several directions to clean it. Thereafter, the next step consists in emptying the device from the side where the cup remains stuck and in activating the tank again to start over.

From a technological perspective, Tulipal does not only raise attention for what might very soon become a “trendy product” for women, it also draws our attention because 3D printing has been leveraged to produce the cleaner’s prototype. As you can see from the video (in French), the team would have used an FDM 3D printer for makers. An exchange with Secades confirms that the end-product will be produced via plastic injection.

However, to achieve their project, the start-up has launched a crowdfunding campaign on ulule and early bird backers could benefit from a short 3D printing training, which would include: personalized video tutorials, 4 hours of individual training, tests on 3D printer and a custom part. You know what to do if you want to learn more.

Note: The ratio of 95% mentioned is “based on a survey conducted by Tulipal with 1,000 respondents, including about 400 cup users of different age groups. The rest were former users and non-users.  The ratio of 95% came from the 400 respondents.”

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