Quick 3D-Printed Sprinkler System Fix

My lawn guy aerated my sprinkler lines, so I had to fix 'em.

Public Chat
Similar projects worth following
When the correct size fittings to repair underground sprinkler lines proved to be unobtanium, I resorted to printing my own. Worked out just fine.

So we decided to have our lawn guy come over and aerate the lawn. Seems like the appropriately suburban thing to do, and the lawn really needs some help. He's got a nice machine, good plug-type deal, and he went over the whole yard good, leaving plenty of dog-turd looking plugs scattered about.

A day or two later, I'm up when the sprinklers come on. I spied an extra fountain of water coming from the lawn, not coming from one of the sprinkler heads. Uh-oh... he must have hit one of the lines.

When I dug the area up, it was clear why -- the lines were at most 2" below the surface. There were a couple of half-moon shaped holes in a 1" main, and a slice out of a smaller lateral. No big whoop, just head to Depot and pick up some fittings and repair pipe. 

The 1" main was easy peasy. The lateral, though, kicked my butt. I had bought 1/2" because that was the smallest they had, but the tubing was even smaller. Went back to Depot, nothing. Went to Lowe's, nothing. Finally resorted to a supplier to the irrigation trade. Dude didn't want to know about a homeowner problem, and said he'd never seen the stuff before. Not at all helpful with the few questions he deigned to let me ask. 

"Oh, well," I chirped. "Guess I'll just have to 3D print my own fittings," I told him. He looked at me like something was crawling out of my ear. Time for me to have the last laugh.

fusion - 131.15 kB - 05/18/2018 at 03:41


  • Printing the Fittings

    Dan Maloney05/18/2018 at 03:40 0 comments

    I grabbed my calipers, the fittings for the 1/2" tubing I got, and a scrap of the smaller pipe, and off to Fusion 360 I went. I designed a little barbed adapter between the two tube sizes and printed up a sample:

    I went through a few iterations of the design, slightly changing the measurements to sneak up on a tight fit. Fusion 360 made that easy -- all I had to do was select the small end of the fitting and scale it up or down by 5% or so in the X and Y planes. I printed in PLA -- I'd have preferred ABS, but I don't have any. 100% infill.

    The parts took about 1.5 hours to print each -- I needed two. Not too shabby after cleaning up the supports and raft:

    I could have done better on the barbs for the smaller end. They should have been deeper, like on the large side, to bite into the tubing better. Oh well.

    I was pleasantly surprised by how sturdy the fittings were. I was able to hammer them into the tubing with a soft hammer without any deformation. They are a little less resistant to bending forces -- I snapped a prototype off in a pipe by accident. That makes me think they fitting will be susceptible to breakage once buried, if someone steps right on one. But what are you going to do?

    Here's the final fit up before burying it all:

    I know PLA will probably degrade, but it's good enough for now, and I can always print more when they break. There was a small leak on the small sides, thanks to the not-sharp-enough barbs, but really, the whole point of sprinklers is to make the ground wet. If it gets a little wetter in one spot, what do I care?

View project log

Enjoy this project?



Mike Szczys wrote 05/25/2018 at 11:30 point

You've been wait your whole life to flip up your collar and tell someone you'll be 3D printing your own replacement parts. Hahahaha. Good hack Dan!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates