Custom plumbing

A month or so ago, I noticed a pool of water in our basement, by the floor drain. Given that all of our things, particularly in basements, appear to be hydrophilic, this made me sad, but less so than the recent burst pipe in our wall that ruined carpet and dry wall!

However, the drain issue was some place I could see, and the problem was relatively obvious. There were three pipes running from the furnace, AC and humidifier, and they all just ran along the floor to the general vicinity of the floor drain. I didn’t think to take a before picture, but just imagine three pipes running to the drain, which was smaller than the three pipes side-by-side.

My first plan was to go to the hardware store and buy something that would let me combine the three pipes into one, but, alas, they don’t appear to make such a thing. Well, actually they do make a four-way connector that looks like a plus sign, but by the time you added the right-angles for the outer lines, the whole thing would get really wide.

So, 3D printer to the rescue (and not remotely an arbitrary reason to play). I created a pipe combiner that took the three inputs and combined them into a single output. Here is a shot of the prototype (i.e. the first one I printed where the holes were the wrong size):

You can sort of see how the lines come together inside. Yes, it is a bit more blocky than I would like–straight lines are just easier to create, although the new drain cover is nice and curvy…

Rather than just having the pipe just sit on top of the old nasty drain cover, I went ahead and printed a new cover that would take an angled fitting. You can’t see it so well in the picture, and I didn’t take a picture of it before putting it in place, but here is an image of the 3D model:

I had to do a little bit of trigonometry to position all of the smaller holes, but I like the way it looks:

More important, no more pools of water!


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