Introduction: Life Is a (Boundless Supply Of) Cabernet!

About: Our grandkids keep me busy!

"Life Is A (Boundless Supply of) Cabernet!" is a miniature 3D printed table top version of a twenty foot tall water based illusion I saw with my Dad at an International Petroleum Exhibition exhibit in the early 1960s. I stood at the exhibit for almost an hour trying to discover how water magically jetted out of an oversized spigot into a large circular water trough below with no apparent source of water. Then it dawned on me (with a little help from my Dad of course)...

I've made quite a few of this illusion throughout my years using water feature pumps, acrylic pipe, antique milk cans and purchased water spigots for family and friends, and this miniature 3D printed version operates on the same principles as the larger ones. The spigot is supported by a pipe inserted into its outlet nozzle. Water is pumped up through the interior of the pipe from a water pool, then exits through small holes in the top of the pipe inside the spigot outlet nozzle. Laminar flow keeps the water in contact with the exterior of the pipe as it descends back to the water pool, and the descending water flow cleverly conceals the pipe.

As usual I probably forgot a file or two or who knows what else, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask as I do make plenty of mistakes.

Designed using Autodesk Fusion 360, sliced using Ultimaker Cura 4.6.1, and 3D printed in PLA on an Ultimaker 2+ Extended, an Ultimaker 3 Extended and an Ultimaker S5.


Double sided tape.

Thick cyanoacrylate glue.

Silicon caulk.

Red food coloring.

Heat shrink tubing.

Step 1: Parts.

I acquired the following parts:

  • One submersible water pump ("HiLetgo 5pcs DC3-6V Low Noise Brushless Motor Pump Mini Micro Submersible Water Pump", online).
  • One micro switch (Uxcell a12013100ux0116 High Knob 3P 2 Position 1P2T SPDT Vertical Slide Switch, 0.5 Amp, 50V DC, 50 Piece, 3 mm, online).
  • One 3.0vdc AAA (two AAA batteries) Battery holder (local hobby shop, 53mm long, 25mm wide, 13mm tall).
  • Two AAA batteries (from my battery stash).

I 3D printed the following parts:

  • One "Axle, Handle.stl", .15mm layer height, 20% infill.
  • One "Barrel.3mf", .15mm layer height, 20% infill, supports (80 degree, build plate only), dual extrusion.
  • One "Handle.stl", .15mm layer height, 20% infill.
  • One "Riser.stl", .15mm layer height, 20% infill.
  • One "Spigot.stl", .15mm layer height, 20% infill.

If you do not have access to a dual extrusion 3D printer, you may try printing one "Barrel, Staves.stl" with supports as previously described, two "Barrel, Hoop, Large.stl", two "Barrel, Hoop, Medium.stl" and two "Barrel, Hoop, Small.stl", all at .15mm layer height with 20% infill. Once 3D printed, you will then need to glue the hoops onto the barrel staves starting with the large hoops, then the medium hoops, and finally the small hoops. I did not try this, so maker beware.

Prior to assembly, test fit and trim, file, sand, etc. all parts as necessary for smooth movement of moving surfaces, and tight fit for non moving surfaces. Depending on you printer, your printer settings and the colors you chose, more or less trimming, filing and/or sanding may be required. Carefully file all edges that contacted the build plate to make absolutely certain that all build plate "ooze" is removed and that all edges are smooth. I used small jewelers files and plenty of patience to perform this step.

The model also uses threaded assembly, so I used a tap and die set (8mm by 1.25) as required for thread cleaning.

Step 2: Assembly.

To assemble this model, I performed the following steps:

  • Sealed the inside of the barrel water compartment with six light coats of plastic safe clear spray paint.
  • Secured the pump into "Barrel.3mf" using double sided tape on each end of the pump.
  • Ran the pump wire down through the hole in the barrel and into the battery compartment.
  • Sealed the pump wire using clear silicon calk on both ends of the hole.
  • Attached the switch to the barrel using a small dot of thick cyanoacrylate glue.
  • Soldered the red white wire from the pump to the center terminal of the switch.
  • Soldered the black wire from the battery pack to an outer terminal of the switch.
  • Soldered the pump and battery holder red wires together then insulated with heat shrink tubing.
  • Secured the battery holder to the barrel assembly using double sided tape.
  • Threaded "Axle, Handle.stl" into "Handle.stl".
  • Pressed the handle assembly into the spigot assembly securing in place with a small dot of thick cyanoacrylate glue.
  • Pressed "Riser.stl" into "Spigot.stl" and secured in place with small dots of thick cyanoacrylate glue.
  • Pressed the spigot assembly riser onto the outlet port on the pump.
  • Added water to the water compartment.
  • Turned the switch on.
  • Added liquid red food coloring to the water.

And that is how I 3D printed and assembled "Life Is A (Boundless Supply Of) Cabernet!".

I hope you enjoyed it!