Here you'll find how I have transformed weak basic suction cups into strong lever suction cups with 3D printed pieces.
List of the steps:
- Step 1: Why?
- Step 2: Pieces and mounting
- Step 3: Pieces and files for 3D printer
- Step 4: How it works
Step 1: Why?
I bought some times ago tiny suction cups, but unfortunately they do not work as expected, and they often fall off randomly...
There are many tips and tricks (here for example) to make the suction cups stick better but I wanted something more reliable. I then wondered if it could become as strong as lever suction cups, and I decided to transform these regular suction cups into lever suction cups with my 3D printer.
Step 2: Pieces and Mounting
Here are all the parts I have printed to make the lever functional.
There are four pieces:
- A cup (printed with clear PLA). Its diameter is slightly smaller than the diameter of the suction cup. It also has a hole on the top to let pass the "grabbing piece" below.
- A "grabbing piece". The lower part grabs the top of the suction cup (that is why I called it the "grabbing piece"), while the upper part (a cylinder) passes through the plastic cup. And it as a hole at the top to fix it to the lever.
- A lever. Here you can see a version I made with a hook to hang things to the suction cup. But the first version was just a simple lever as you can see on the gif in introduction. The lever is important as it makes the inside of the suction cup to have a lower pressure. To do so, it has a pivot that is not centered! Thanks to this it will pull up or push down the suction cup with the grabbing piece.
- Then a kind of nail to fix the lever and the grabbing part together.
Step 3: Pieces and Files for 3D Printer
Here you will find the different parts designed on Fusion 360 and the files related if you want to download them. On the gif you can clearly see that the "grabbing piece" goes up and down when the lever is used; this way it can pull up or push down on the suction cup and increase or decrease the pressure inside.
Step 4: How It Works
As you can see on the gif above, and as you already know, this is the decrease in pressure inside the cup that makes the cup stick, because the pressure outside is much bigger. The lever of the lever suction cup helps making a lower pressure inside the cup, and makes it stick better.
Therefore if you want to remove a suction cup, don't pull it away from the wall because it will make the pressure inside much lower, and the suction cup will stick better. But peel it instead!
These 3D lever suction cups work great and I can see a difference compared to the regular suction cups. I would need more time to compare the cups on different surfaces, with different loads, and for long periods, but I am satisfied and I think it is a success.
However, some pieces broke easily, maybe because of the size (for exemple the diameter of the nail holding which is quite small) or because of the PLA I have used to print them. So I am designing new pieces to make them stronger, and I'll update the files if it is better!
I hope you guys liked it, feel free to try leave a comment or any suggestion!