3D Printing Plumbing Tools

published on 2018-02-17 in howto

This weekend, I was doing a little kitchen faucet replacement and ran into some trouble removing the old Moen hardware. Moen faucets come with this install tool that's similar to a thin-wall deep socket but longer, thinner, and completely hollow. And, I’ve learned if you don’t have the tool, it’s neary impossible to remove the faucet without damaging the sink. Especially when it's 20 years old and corroded like the one I'm removing. Earlier this week, I had tried in vain to remove it without the tool...and ended up at Home Depot advicing with the plumbing dude, who sold me a tool that would definitely do the trick. Fast forward to today, I have the sink tore apart, discovered the HD basin wrench is hopeless for the Moen faucet, and realized the only way to remove this thing is to buy a $17 plastic tool from Moen (part # 118305)...that I’ll never use again. It looks like one of these, my faucet probably came with top right:

This tool is not available anywhere locally. The fastest I could get it here is next week, which means I have to reassemble everything so the family can use the kitchen in the mean time. I confessed to my wife the situation I'd created, and was considering drastic measures aka. brute force, without the tool (miserable). She asked what the Moen tool looked like - when I told her it was a plastic tool, she said "Plastic? Why don't you just print one?" Damn, I wish I'd thought of that earlier! 😍

So, set to work immediatly to make my own. I did some measuring & designed one in OpenSCAD. Mine has a 1/2 socket in the bottom for a wrench and knobs to turn it by hand. It should slip right over the nut and twist it off...if it's strong enough. Here's what my Moen tool looks like:

Here it is ready for printing:

I printed it in black PLA, at 100% infill with a 0.35mm layer height...it took about an hour and cost me 65 cents in material. Here is a video of it printing, if you're so inclined. And here it is going to work:

At this point, I just assumed that the first twist would snap something. But instead...


I can't believe it worked...I had read about other folks actually breaking the plastic Moen tool so I was skeptical it would hold up to the stress of a corroded & rusted nut. How I was wrong...I squeezed the hell out of it with vice grips and torqued on it hard with a socket wrench. Right out of the gate I turned it the wrong direction a whole turn before I realized it - if it was ever gonna break, it would have broken then. It's got serious battle scars but performed flawlessly!

If you find this useful, I've uploaded the files here and also to Thingiverse. If you're searching the web for this exact problem and don't have a 3D printer, let me know and I'll mail you my used 3D-printed tool. It's still good! 😎

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Tags: 3dprinting cad diy