Introduction: Motion Controlled Faucet

Interested in making your faucet motion controlled? Waving your hand to one side or the other, in front of the sink with this device attached, will turn on the flow and activate the temperature according to your hand motion. Simply leaving the sink will turn it completely off too.

Every component in this design is 3d printable, but some should be made out of more suitable materials for their purpose. I will walk you through making what parts out of the best material but keep in mind if all you have is a 3D printer and cannot fabricate these parts, Print away!

Step 1: Gather Materials


2x Turnigy G10 Brushless Outrunner 1100kv (comes with motor bracket, screws, and propeller adapter for spur gear)

2x TURNIGY TRUST 45A SBEC Brushless Speed Controller

2x 11.1 V 2200mAh lipo battery

1x Infrared Proximity Sensor Long Range - Sharp GP2Y0A02YK0F

1x Arduino UNO

1x ½ size Breadboard

1x Extra-long break-away 0.1" 16-pin strip male header (5 pieces)

1x Parallax high-speed continuous rotation servo

2'x3' Plastic tarp

High-Heat-Resistant gloves

24x 9 or 10 gauge Nails for gears depending on your printers resolution (I used 9 gauge with length 1”)

8x #5 bolt for motor bracket 1/2“ long

8x #5 locknut for motor bracket

9x ¼-20 bolts 2.5” long

1x ¼-20 bolts 1.5” long

6x ¼-20 Threaded rod 7.5” long

55x ¼-20 Nut

16x ¼” Lockwasher

70x ¼” washer

21x ¼-20 Locknut

1x 1/2”x6”x6” pine wood board

1x 3/8" wood rod 2” long

1x 7/32”X1’X2’ plexiglass

1x 2” diameter Schedule 40 PVC pipe 12” long depending on sink height

Double sided tape

1x zip tie

3d printer

3D printed parts:

  • Vertical gearbox or flow control gearbox (not named vertical because it’s orientation which is actually horizontal)
    • Motor mount
    • End cap counterbalance mount
    • Gear Set 1
      • 3x planet gear
      • 1x Ring gear
      • 1x “Propeller Gear” or sun gear
      • 1x Planet Carrier
    • Gear Set 2
      • 3x Planet Gear
      • 1x Ring Gear
      • 1x Planet Carrier
    • Gear Set 3
      • 3x Planet Gear
      • 1x Ring Gear
      • 1x Planet Carrier
    • Gear Set 4
      • 3x Planet Gear
      • 1x Ring Gear
      • 1x Planet Carrier
      • 1x Planet Carrier Counterbalance End Cap
  • Horizontal Gearbox
    • Motor Mount
    • Gear Set 1
      • 3x Planet Gear
      • 1x Ring Gear
      • 1x "Propeller Gear" or Sun Gear
      • 1x Planet Carrier
    • Gear Set 2
      • 3x Planet Gear
      • 1x Ring Gear
      • 1x Planet Carrier
    • Gear Set 3
      • 3x Planet Gear
      • 1x Ring Gear
      • 1x Planet Carrier
    • Gear Set 4
      • 3x Planet Gear
      • 1x Ring Gear
      • 1x Planet Carrier Spur Gear
  • Base Components
    • 1x Base Rail
    • 1x PVC Base Gear
  • IR Mounting Components
    • 1x Servo Bracket
    • 1x IR Bracket

Step 2: Cut Out Lever Bar and Pusher Bar (if You Are Not 3D Printing Them)

The dimensions for these can be found in a pdf in the files posted. I would recommend, though, for cutting out the Pusher Bars, scale the laserjet print so the pdf comes out as a 1:1 ratio and hold the image under the plexiglass so it may be traced. I used a fine-toothed blade in a jig saw for this step.

Step 3: File Off the Burrs

File off the burrs and smooth the edges with a wood file. Make sure to clean the teeth regularly or the plastic will ruin your file. (You may want to go back and adjust the length of the bar based off of your sink dimensions. The safety factor was large enough to accommodate significant changes in the geometry of this bar.)

Step 4: Cut Out the Wood Connectors

Based on the lever 1 and 2 pdfs, cut out the lever arms from the 1/2" board. (note. mine are crude for lack of the proper tools.)

Step 5: Cut Out the Push Bar Mounts

Based on the dimensions in the pusher bar mount and vertical gearbox mount pdfs, cut out the blocks from the 1/2" board. use a 1/4" drill to create the holes for mounting. You may have to use a round file to lightly remove burrs in the hole.

Step 6: Cut the PVC Bar Out

Using the PVC Dimensions pdf, cCut the PVC bar out of your pipe to the specifications. Make sure to go to the .f3d drawing and edit the bottom length to fit your individual faucet height.

Step 7: Make PVC Assembly

1. Print the PVC Base Gear. I would recommend using a high infill since this part will be put under a large load in several spots.

2. using the properly rated hear gloves and good ventilation, hold the PVC bar and PVC Base Gear over a heat source until the plastic around the PVC slot becomes slightly malleable.

3. Slide the PVC bar completely into the slot and allow it to solidify around the PVC.

Step 8: Assemble the Push Bar Assembly

I used pieces of threaded rod but the 2.5” bolts should be used here along with lock washers where appropriate. Also, include the Servo mount if this is where you would like the IR sensor located (see CAD rendering).

Step 9: 3D Print Vertical Gearbox Components

  1. Print out the required gears, end caps and counter balance.
  2. Remove supports and rafts if appropriate and make sure tolerances are set correctly.
  3. Tolerance viewing can simply be done by putting each set together with nails or screwdrivers and seeing if the gears mesh and spin with a small amount of torque on the center sun gear. If they don’t either edit the .ipt file for the planetary gear or scale the .stp file appropriately and print again with a higher resolution.

Step 10: Measure and Cut Nails

The nails will now replace the screwdrivers as permanent pins so cut each nail length to exactly (planet gear thickness)+(toothpick thickness)+(planet carrier thickness at nail rotatory hole).

Step 11: Epoxy Planetary Gears

Tightly wrap the surface you are working on with a plastic tarp as not to leave wrinkles or seams. The next step is to epoxy the nails to the planet gears and not to the planet carriers! This will allow them to freely spin and drive the planet carriers. (Hint. The same process will be done with the Horizontal Gearbox so You may want to do all of this in the same step to save plastic tarp and epoxy.) I used a 2 part epoxy from a local hobby store. Super glue and hot glue didn’t hold at all but other glues may work since there is not a large axial load on the planet gears. Do this for each set of planetary gears.

To glue the planetary gears in place, place the epoxy inside the shaft hole, pass the nail through the planet carrier and insert it into the planet gears shaft hole. Make sure you avoid getting glue on anything else such as the planet carrier. Insert a toothpick in between the planet carrier and planet gear to leave room for play.

Step 12: Confirm Gears Mesh Properly

Once the epoxy has cured stack them in the correct order and confirm the gears fit together. This will also give you an opportunity to see if anything, such as nail heads, are snagging and preventing the gears from smoothly rotating.

Step 13: Cut Out 7 1/2" Threaded Rods

Cut out the 7 ½” threaded rods. (Hint. screw a nut past the 7 1/2 “ mark so you can unscrew it after the cut and restore the threads as much as possible for the next rod if you don't have a Die set)

Step 14: Gearbox Assembly

Begin assembling the gearbox from the bottom up, starting with lock washers at the end of the threaded rod, then the motor mount, and the motor. At this point, you will want to add the propeller adapter and the first sun gear from set 1. (I am using a piece of the plexiglass as my motor mount but 3d printing one will work better because it will be more accurately centered.)

Use a washer in between each nut and ring gear as the next sets are added.

Step 15: Attach Vertical Gearbox to Push Bar Assembly

Once set 4 is added, slide two of the threaded rods into the Vertical Gearbox Mount Block and securely fasten a lock washer and nut on each threaded rod. Add the ⅜” wooden dowel to the last planet carrier, slide the lever over the dowel, and attach the counterbalance to the end of the dowel.

Step 16: Make the Counterbalance Axle

Cut a 2 ½” bolt to ½”, leaving the unthreaded section, and pass it through the center hole, securing the counter balance axially, and add glue in between the bolt head and the end cap so the bolt doesn't come out.

Step 17: Assemble Lever Arm Mechanism

Attach the lever arm and lever 2 (the small block of wood cut out in step 1) to the Push Bar assembly and the Vertical Gearbox.

Step 18: Assemble Horizontal Gearbox

1. 3D Print the Base Rail.

2. Repeat steps 9-16 on assembling Vertical Gearbox with the only exception that there is no end cap or counterbalance, only the end carrier spur gear.

Step 19: Secure the Horizontal Gearbox

Secure the Horizontal Gearbox and Base Rail as seen in the CAD rendering. Use locknuts under the Base Rail. There should be a small gap in between the base and the sprocket coming out of the gearbox. If there isn't either loosen the locknuts or sand the two surfaces so they smoothly glide against each other.

Step 20: Mount the Base Rail and Device

Apply double sided tape to the Base Rail and mount it to the counter top. It should be centered with the axis of the sink handle, not necessarily the sink base.

Rotate the PVC base Gear onto the Base Rail, avoiding the Horizontal Gearbox (not shown in picture). At this point, you can't remove the end bolt on the push bar arms and allow the sink handle to fit in the push bar gap. Zip Tie the lever 2 to the sink head.

Step 21: IR Sensor Mounting

  1. 3D print the IR sensor bracket
  2. Bolt the servo onto the Servo mount
  3. Glue the IR bracket to the servo arm and bolt the IR sensor upside down on its bracket so the wires are pointing up. Now, mechanically speaking, you’re done.

Step 22: Solder Capacitor on IR Sensor

Solder the 10 microfarad capacitor to the back of the IR sensor as shown.(Be aware of the direction of the polarity!)

Step 23: Wiring Electrical Components

Attach the wires to the respective pins on the Arduino.

Step 24: Uploading the Code

Install this sketch on your Arduino uno once. After uploading the code, use the power supply to give the Arduino power without a computer and USB cord. Also based on the direction of your hot and cold water gauge you may need to edit some of the initial variables to suit your sinks specifications.

Step 25: Design Process

See this PDF for the design process and some theory behind the calculations in case you wanted to change anything with the design.

Arduino Contest 2016

Participated in the
Arduino Contest 2016

Design Now: 3D Design Contest 2016

Participated in the
Design Now: 3D Design Contest 2016