Improved Tubing ConnectorPosted: September 7, 2011
The first version of the tubing connector looked nice, and was functional in theory, but it was a bit challenging to actually print on my Up! printer. There was an ‘overhang’ which required the use of support, and that’s kind of a waste of plastic on such a small piece. Besides that, it was hard to print at very small sizes.
I made a couple of improvements to the design
So, now there is Flanged Connector – V2. On this connector, there is a cylinder located at the hub. This provides a nice strong flat spot from which the rest of the print can be supported. Also, the tubing coming from that center out to the flanges is now the same diameter as the widest part of the flange. This ensures there is no overhang for this portion of the object. This design is much easier to print than the first one, even down at smaller sizes.
One of the challenges is that with small sizes, depending on your printer, there might be support material inserted inside the tubing. That’s very hard to get out. But, if you’re just using them as connectors, and not flowing liquid through them, you can just leave the support material inside.
I have used the connectors to form my favorite tetrahedron, albeit in spherical form. This is vinyl tubing with a 1/4″ interior diameter, and the connectors were done with a 5/16″ outer diameter. The fitting is snug for hand pressing. The tubing is removable, but won’t come off easily. I imagine that if I had used a spot of glue, it would be permanently affixed.
I am very pleased with the outcome of this design. It is a useful item, that required only 2-3 hours of work between the first and second, and third iterations. Now I have something added to my little toolbox of bits of plastic that can be used to do interesting things.