Fixing a bathtub with a 3d printer

Avatar Evan | August 24, 2016 16 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

Hey y’all, Evan here! *gasp* yes I know I haven’t posted in forever, I’ll try to be better! I’ve actually started my own freelance product design and engineering consulting company at eksdesigns.com, which has been keeping me very busy, but hopefully this will also lead to some more crossover posts.  As you might have seen in “office saga continues“, I’ve setup a home office that is very much still in progress but I’ll get working on an update posts with lots of fun things in it such as a custom standing desk, new shelves, and other storage solutions.

For now I thought I would dip my toe back into blogging with how my 3d printer totally saved us. Now to add a qualifying remark here: 3d printing is awesome and you should totally get a printer but it really is only useful if you have 3d modeling skills or are up for learning the programs you need to make 3d printed parts.

For ours I went with a fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3d printer (there are so many types out there but most consumer ones use are FFF) from Lulzbot called the TAZ.

lulzbot-tazSo to get into the problem, the hot water handle on our bath tub broke… Not an easy to replace part either. It was the stem coming from the valve that broke in half. No good way to get a good picture of it so I found this illustration online that will help:

Two-handle_faucets (source unfortunately unknown and unattributed)

Now to replace the stem I would have to replace the valve itself, which was underneath the frame of the bathtub and completely inaccessible without tearing up our slate tiles (not at all an appealing idea). I noticed however that the stem that broke off was actually threaded! Using my nut and bolt thread checker (must have tool in my opinion, so good) I found out that the threads were M6-1.0.

20160824_115726

This lead to the temporary solution below of a bolt and hex key as a make shift handle:

20160818_143530

Not at all pretty but it got me thinking of printing an adapter between the bolt and the handle… Using my calipers I measured the broken off stem and modeled it in Solidworks (but plenty of other cheaper/free 3d modeling software out there).

20160824_120040

simple-adapter61yJDhVX39L._SL1000_

To strengthen the print I added a hex key down the shaft and then glued it together with cyanoacrylate (typical “super glue”) with a kicker. Now I really never understood how great super glue could be until I used it with the kicker/accelerant/insta-cure. Usually you have to find a way to hold two objects in compression for 10 minutes, then 24 hours for full cure. Most of what I’ve tried gluing together are not easy to hold without movement while maintaining compression. This kicker allows for setting in just seconds though. You can put super glue on one side and the kicker on the other or just spray the kicker on top and BOOM you got a good solid connection. I also didn’t know recently that there was a super glue debonder. Great for when you glue your fingers together and don’t want to rip the skin. Or you know, to debond your actual parts. It stinks and is super strong, but works well! Anywho, back to the project…

20160818_143255

Using this little guy allowed me to connect to the original handle!

ezgif-1363390562Success!!!

ezgif-2331949995I know this post may be a little technical and not applicable to those without 3d printers but I wanted to share a nice little successful project with y’all. Let me know what you think about these types of posts!

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!


Comments

This post currently has 2 responses.

  1. Maria

    August 30, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Congrats on the new business! I enjoyed the 3D printing post and would love to see more. I don’t know how to model yet but still want a printer :P

Leave a Reply