Introduction: Make a Clay or Sediment Trap for Your Sink.
If you work with pottery clay you need to clean the clay off your tools and equipment when you are finished.
The majority can be scraped or washed in a bucket but it is really convenient to be able to finish the cleaning in a sink under the tap.
Sediment traps from ceramic supply places are expensive. This instructable is about building one from plumbing parts available at the hardware store.
Step 1: The Parts
It is difficult to give a one size fits all solution but if you are handy or are familiar with basic plumbing, then it should be a simple matter to adapt this idea to almost any sink set up.
The bottom of the little unit is a septic pipe clean out and plug. The plug screws into the clean-out fitting and will allow for easy cleaning of the trap later. I am using 3" ABS pipe for this trap.
A short length of 3" pipe joins the bottom to the top. The top is a 3" by 1 1/2" adapter. If your sink has 2" plumbing you will need a 3" by 2" adapter, of course.
A fitting (for a bathroom sink drain pipe) is inserted into the 1 1/2" top or joined to it by a short length of 1 1/2" pipe, depending on the type of fitting purchased.
The sink drain pipe could be plastic or copper. I could only find the more expensive chrome plated kind.
A second drain drain pipe fitting finishes the parts list.
BUT! ... Before you try this idea you need to know if the sink drain pipe fitting will fit the bottom of the 'P' trap. Match up diameters and buy this part first. Once you know it fits you can proceed with the rest. This will be a little plainer in the next step.
Step 2: The Concept
The underside of a 'P' trap has a cap for clean out purposes. The threads should match the threads on a fitting that goes on a sink drain pipe.
A length of sink drain can be attached to the underside of the 'P' trap with a joint that is water tight.
A second fitting will allow the attachment of some plumbing parts to make the sediment trap.
Step 3: Dry Fitting Things Together
First I dry fit everything together.
I screw the plug in the bottom, insert the 3" pipe in the 'clean-out', and attach the adapter for a top.
The 1 1/2" pipe and sink drain fitting complete the assembly of the trap.
Be careful not to jam things together too tightly! It can be the devils own game to get them apart if you apply too much pressure.
Don't worry about the exact length of things at this point. Just make sure everything is going together as you think it should.
Step 4: Measure and Cut the Joining Lengths of Pipe.
The length of the pipe joining the "bottom" to the "top" will determine the height of the clay trap. This needs to be less than the space available under the sink.
Measure the sink space and then use that to determine a length for the pipe.
Cut the pipe and refit things to measure. Be aware that the pipe will slide inside the joint an extra 1/2 to 3/4 inch and this will shorten the final length. This is probably a good thing. Too short just means the sink drain pipe can be a little longer. Too long means it ain't gonna fit.
Once you are sure everything is the right length you can proceed to the final assembly.
Step 5: Prepare for Glue Up.
In order for the glue to work properly the edges of the pipes must be clean and smooth. Rough edges could cause gaps and lead to leaks in the final joint.
Taking the time to trim the ends of the pipe and sand them smooth is important.
Step 6: Glue the Pipe to the Clean-out or "bottom".
I am using ABS pipe so my glue is ABS glue. The glue you use must match the type of piping you have chosen. If you are unsure, just ask the ever-so-friendly guy at the hardware store.
Apply glue to both the inside of the joint and the outside of the pipe. The glue usually comes with its own applicator.
Be careful not to get glue on the threads of the bottom plug. A reasonable amount to both parts does the trick without too much excess.
Push the pipe into the joint and give it a twisting motion of about 1/4 turn. This spreads and sets the glue. The joint will be glued at this point and will not come apart. Try not to hesitate or change your mind or be thinking of paying bills or anything. Just go for it ... push in and turn. Nothing to it.
Wipe off the excess glue.
Step 7: Finish the Glue Up.
Repeat the process for the top adapter and the fitting that will attach to the sink drain pipe.
Step 8: Cut the Sink Drain Pipe to Fit.
Cut the sink drain pipe to length. A dry fit under the sink will give you the required length.
Allow it to go down into the clay trap a couple of inches. This will make it easier to install and uninstall.
You can let the glue set for an hour or two before installing the clay trap under the sink.
Step 9: Install
I am showing it being attached to an old 'P' trap I had on hand. This is just for clarity as it is hard to get a good picture under the sink.
I installed it under the sink with no problems and it did not leak. If you don't have very much hand strength you may need to use a pipe wrench to tighten the fittings to the sink drain pipe. Most people should be fine with just hand tightening.
Water will spill on the floor when this is taken out for cleaning. I intend to use some rags to soak this up. You may want to place a small catch basin or plastic container under the trap to catch this overflow.
I can't see the sediment build up but cleaning twice a year will be more than I need.
Thanks for making it this far. I hope you find the idea of some use.
2 years ago on Introduction
Thanks for the nice write up. How is it working for you? Have you had any issues? How do you know when it needs to be emptied? I'm seeing lots of commercial traps with a bucket... is this big enough?
Reply 2 years ago
It does the job for me. I empty it a couple of times a year. It may not be big enough for a commercial potter who does a lot of work in clay. The only issue I have is the mess it can make when taking it apart to clean. I just lay down an old cloth and clean up afterward. Some might prefer to have a pan under it when you put it back in place.