Irrigation Pipe Clips

Home, Bangkok, Thailand, 2021-05-30 14:20 +0700

#3dprinting #farming


Here’s a quick post about another functional print for our Bangkok condo. This is an example of what I love about 3D printing - the ability to come up with elegant, purpose-built solutions for problems that have an addressable market of 1.

A few weeks back we renovated our balcony in Bangkok and as part of that exercise I completely re-installed the drip irrigation system that waters our many plants.

In the original install I had the flexible pipe just running along the tiles behind the pots. The problem with this that the pipe becomes a dirt trap, collecting soil particles and leaves behind it. For the re-install I wanted to get the pipe off the ground and thought maybe I could fabricate some clips to hold it under the lowest level of the balcony railing which would also put it somewhat out of sight as an added benefit.

I took some quick dimensions of the pipe and the railing:

Then sketched the shape in Fusion360 - this took all of 5 minutes:

It took 3 or 4 iterations of printing and testing to get the shape dialed in. The adjustments were reducing the inner dimension to make the clip hold onto the railing tightly, and progressively thickening the shape and increasing infill to make it stronger.

Here’s the test of the one that became the final version:

With the model finalized I printed 14 of them out and did the final installation:

The result was good. The clips are strong and haven’t deformed after being under load for a couple of weeks now, and the irrigation pipe is now mostly out of sight and more importantly is off the tiles making it easier for us to keep the balcony clean.

It remains to be seen if these PLA prints last long-term being exposed to the rain and sun - will be interesting to check back in on them in 6 months.