Introduction: 3d Model and Print Hose Adapters

About: A husband & wife team. Amateur makers. Expert high fivers. New video every week (or so).

Hey guys! Today we’re going to walk through how to make custom dust collection hose adapters for your workshop using 3D modeling and 3D printing. If you’re new to 3D or don’t have a printer - don’t sweat it. We made templates for common adapters (links below!) and we’ll walk through how you can customize them by typing in a few measurements. We’ll also touch base on how you can get things 3D printed if you don’t have a printer. The templates should cover most of your needs, BUT we’ll walk you through how to make an adapter from scratch too (just in case!). Alrighty, let’s go.

First off, here are the links to the templates:

And here are tools you’ll see us use/you’ll see/you might need:

Step 1: Measuring

Whether you use our templates or model one from scratch, you’ll need to take a few measurements first. We hiiiighly recommend getting a set of digital calipers: we use ours all the time, and even cheap ones are gonna be way more accurate than any ruler.

Above you’ll see a detailed diagram we made that covers what you’ll need to measure. Really, you need to get two things:

  1. The diameter of the hose at the very end of it (y on the left side of the diagram)
  2. The diameter of the hose a known distance inward. We like to do it 1” inward (x on the left side of the diagram)

The reason you get these two measurements is because hose ends are tapered slightly, and taking 2 measurements a known distance away will define the angle of the taper.

If you’re measuring a male piece (and modeling a female piece), you’ll measure the outer diameter of your hose. If you’re measuring a female piece (and modeling a male piece), you’ll measure the inner diameter of your hose, which is a little trickier.

Next we’ll go into how to use our templates, and then how to build an adapter from scratch.

Step 2: Open Template in Onshape

We like a program called Onshape. First create an account, then open whichever of our templates you’d like to start working on. The model will open, just click “Make a copy” in the upper left to duplicate the file so you can modify it.

Step 3: Change Template Measurements

Now we’ll use the two measurements from earlier to edit the dimensions of the template model. We first like to click the “Front” plane of the little cube in the upper right to view the model from the front (optional, but it makes it easier to see what’s what).

Then double click “Sketch” in the left panel to view the dimensions. We have all the editable variables in the left panel (above sketch) and if you double click on any of the dimensions on the sketch you’ll see what variable on the left defines it.

Find the dimensions on the left panel that you need to change, and click them to edit in the new measurements you took earlier. As you saw on the measurement diagram on step one, we add .02” when we measured a male end and are designing a female end, and if you’re measuring a female end and designing a male end you’ll subtract .02”.

Onshape will automatically update the rest of the model when you make your changes. You can also change things like the length or wall thickness if you need to.

Step 4: Model From Scratch - New Document

In 3D modeling, you almost always start with sketches. These are 2 dimensional and you either extrude or rotate the sketch to make it into something 3D.

We’ll start by clicking “Create” > “New Document” in the upper left to start a new workspace, and then a box will pop up prompting you to name it. Next click the “Sketch” button to start a new 2D sketch. It will ask you what plane the sketch should be on, so select one of the three planes. I usually work on the front plane.

Step 5: Making Your Sketch

To make our sketch, we are going to draw a 2D cross section of our hose, and then rotate it around an axis. To define the axis, select the “Line” tool, select “Construction Line”, and draw it along your horizontal axis.

Then unselect “Construction Line” (but keep using the “Line” tool) to draw the basic cross section of the adapter. It doesn’t have to be exact because we will define all the dimensions in a minute.

Step 6: Defining the End Diameter

Now we’ll use the dimension tool to define the sketch. If you remember from earlier, we measured the diameter at the end of our adapter, and the diameter a set distance inward. We’ll input those measurements now.

Click the “Dimensions” tool. Then click the point you want to measure the diameter from, then click the mid-line (the construction like we drew earlier), and then click in the empty space on the opposite side of that mid line. A text box will pop up prompting you to input your measurement. This measurement is the diameter at the end of the adapter. When you add this measurement, it will scale the rest of the sketch to that dimension

Step 7: Define the Wall Thickness

To define the wall thickness of your adapter, use the Dimensions tool to click between the two points at the end and a text box will pop up prompting you to input the thickness.

Step 8: Defining the Inward Diameter

To measure the other diameter a known distance inward, you’ll have to create a point. Click on the “Point” tool, and then click along the line of your sketch. Don’t click on the box that pops up halfway along your line, because that will define that point as the midpoint.

Go back to the “Dimensions” tool, click your new point, and then click the existing point at the end of that line. A text box will pop up. Type in your known offset distance between the end diameter and the inner diameter. For us, that was 1”. Then follow the same steps as before to define that diameter: click your point, click the center line, click somewhere on the opposite of that center line, and type in the dimension of that diameter.

Step 9: Define Adapter Length

You can define the length of your adapter end by using the Dimensions tool to click on the top right line. A text box will pop up prompting you to type in the measurement.

Now this side of the adapter is fully defined. You can tell it’s fully defined because the lines have turned black and you can’t move it. If the lines are blue, it’s not fully defined and you can move them all over the place.

Step 10: Finish Sketch and Revolve

Follow the same steps for the other side of the adapter, and the sketch is done!

Now we just need to rotate it around that center line. Close the sketch by clicking the green checkmark. Then select the “Rotate” tool. Select “Sketch” on the left panel, then click “Revolve Axis” on the pop up, then select the center line (the construction line we drew in the beginning) because that’s the line we’re going to revolve around, Now it actually looks like a hose adapter! Your model is all done and ready to export.

Step 11: Export and Print

To export, click on the “Part 1” (or whatever you named your part) on the left panel, and then click “Export.” A box will pop up prompting you for export settings. Set the format to STL, the unit to millimeter, and the resolution to fine.

Now the file is ready to print. If you don’t have a 3D printer, you can make use of sites like Shapeways or 3D Hubs Both allow you to upload the model we exported earlier and will give you a quote. Shapeways is a little more expensive, so we’d recommend 3D Hubs if there is someone near you. Another option is to look into local maker spaces (some are stand alone but they are often in libraries too). They will usually have a 3D printer you can use. Please let us know if you have any questions. Also, if there are any commonly requested sizes or shapes, we’ll make a new template and add it to the links at the beginning of this post. Thanks!


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