Super Toilet Plunger





Introduction: Super Toilet Plunger

About: CrLz : Ideas, ideas and ideas - Love it when I get one hammered out and working. Seems like there is plenty of room for creativity, in between cheap goods and expensive solutions, and beyond those boxes...
Toilet plungers are cheaply designed.  Plunger handles inhibit use.  Why?   Worst time to discover design faults is during a crisis- when you need a toilet plunger!

Design problems
  1. Too short- must bend over to use.  Strains the back and reduces use of body weight to drive the plunger.
  2. Wrist extension (dorsiflexion)- weak wrist position.  Damaging/tiring the wrist, which must transfer power from the body/arms to plunger.
  3. Handle surface area too small- resulting in painful contact pressure.
Garden spades and walking canes are good examples of short tools with better design.  Both are approximately waist high and typically feature a horizontal handle.

I found a cast-off aluminum cane, perfect to upcycle and improve my toilet plunger.   I tapered the wooden handle and flared the aluminum tube creating a strong, overlapping connection.  Secured with a few wood screws and finished off, the final plunger is much easier to use.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

  • Aluminum walking cane
  • Toilet plunger
  • Waterproof paint
  • Wood screws (5) #6 size, 1/2 " length

My tool list is not essential, but includes what I found useful:
  1. Wax pencil
  2. Center punch
  3. Hammer
  4. Drill
  5. 3/8" drill bit
  6. 1/8" drill bit
  7. Hacksaw
  8. Mitre box
  9. F-clamp
  10. Dremel
  11. Dremel Wood Shaping Bit
  12. Sand Paper 60 grit
  13. 5/64" drill bit
  14. Screwdriver
  15. Paint Brush
  16. Dremel silicone carbide grinding bit

Step 2: Mark, Drill, Cut the Aluminum Cane

Waist high is a good length for the improvement.  Allow additional 3" for the overlapping connection.  Mark the tube to length.

2" from the cut will be two strain relief holes, on opposite sides.  Use the center punch to mark / start these holes.

To split the tube into flanges (langets?), draw lines from the relief holes straight down to the cut mark.

Punch starts for the 5 wood screws between the split lines.

Drill the relief holes with the 3/8" bit.

Drill the screw holes with the 1/8" bit

Cut the tube to length.

Cut the split into the bottom of the tube.

Step 3: Taper the Wood Handle

A reliable way to taper the handle is to remove consecutive layers of wood, in successively shorter lengths. I tapered the wood handle to extend past the relief holes about 1".

Draw a ring around the handle's circumference.  Work from the mark to the end, using the wood shaping bit to remove strips of the first layer. Do not apply extra pressure.
 Draw the next mark closer to the end and cut.
  Mark and cut.
   Mark and cut.
    Mark and cut.

Use sandpaper to smooth out the blocky taper.

Step 4: Fit Together

Tamp the two parts together snugly, if the taper is good.

Drill pilot holes for the wood screws using the 5/64" drill bit.  Drill to the depth of the screw.  This will help prevent splitting the hardwood when setting the screws.

Insert the screws(prototype done!)

Step 5: Finish

Double check the action.  Good height?  Snug connection?

If all is good, disassemble and paint the wood to protect it.

Grind / bevel the flanges, deburring the metal using the Dremel grinding bit.

Reassemble - DONE!

  • The cane I used was height adjustable, two pieces telescoping for adjustment.  I'd keep this feature next time.  As I mentioned in the design goals, waist-high is a good height.  However, my waist is not the same height as others.  By fixing the length to me, the plunger is a bit too long for most.
  • Thanks to KaptinScarlet and slambert for illustration Instructables!
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    32 Discussions

    Regardless of all the discussion about which way a plunger should work, I just feel dumb for not thinking of this before. Thanks.

    1 reply

    have you tried the Home Depot sewer rods built for this problem? They cost up to $50. tho. but can reem through a big blockage. May be worth having if you gotago.

    Intriguing idea, since suction is this real work on a bad clog...

    Something like this perhaps- my kayaking bilge pump attached to the plunger head. Add some tubing on the out spout and your idea would work.

    The kayak pump is not really heavy duty, but it does feature one-way flow and handles a large-bore of water... I'll put this one on my to-do/experiment list and get back to you!

    PHOTO bilge plunger.JPG

    Cool, but it might work better to push air INTO the clog, forcing it down the pipe.

    Nope, it's actually the sucking backward action that clears the clog. Yours is a common misconception. What you want to do is not to force it further into the pipe, but to pull back enough of the clogging matter to make it small enough to pass.

    I'd say that it would depend on the location of the clog, the size and what it was mainly comprised of (kernel content) etc. But, when push comes to shove the way that sucks might be the way that doesn't.

    That's a great design for the handle but the problem we have around here is that the plunger lets more air/water around the plunger than into the pipes, thereby giving you the HIGH possibility of splashback of the gross kind. I'd love to hear any thoughts on how to get around that...those inflatable bladders, etc. apparently have similar problems so I don't really consider them solutions...

    7 replies

    In MAKE volume 23 I believe it is, there is a toilet plunger with a check valve. This should solve your problem! : )

    Sounds like an improvement for the "Super-Duper Toilet Plunger" !

    RE ehricweiss's ?: I pull more than push (just as n0ukf suggests), greatly reducing splash.  Better typically to loosen a plug, than trying to push further down system.  Either way, the longer handle keeps me a safe distance from burps.  Having more hand control allows for more finesse also. 

    I suspect I'm the only person in the world that is concerned about toilet plunger finesse...

    No, no I'm pretty sure the olimpic commity would be outstanded by your suggestion if you suggested a plunger finesse compition!

    Actually, looks like the cast of STOMP has already taken my humble skill to a whole new level. Those dancers have skills...

    STOMP dancing w plunger.jpg

    I'm pretty sure that guy on the left could really make use of this idea, I mean look how far he has to bend over, can't be good for his back...

    Splashing is fun, make a game out of it...Yuk yuk yuk but seriously, before you begin the, "dirty deed", take a couple of pieces of saran wrap about a yard/ meter long estimate the angle of the plunger when plunging and with the plunger inside the bowl, put one piece in front of it and one over the back overlapping with the plunger sticking out of the middle of them. If you lined everything up right and a little patience/ self control, total containment can be achieved.
    ** Your results may vary. This comment was included for educational purposes only. Use at your own risk!

    A plastic bag or 2 around the brushhead or plunger help no end, and make the clearup process a little easier and a little less unpleasant.

    hmm. you gave me a crazy idea, im gonna build one that uses a phneumatic piston with a co2 powerlett ! mmm..... destructive plunger......

    3 replies

    You might want to think that through a little more. By using a compressed gas mechanism for the plunger you loose control of the action of the plunger.. You might come up with the great killer plunger or you might end up with a face full of ... err well stuff you don't want your face full of.

    Think again

    this is when i go build it and say " forethought is for losers" then moments later come back covered in indescribable horror lol:]

    My comment was drawn from experiance. I was under the house trying to get a clog cleared from the toilet. The plunger bit didn't work so I was going to unscrew a clean out with a bucket under it. My sister asked if what I was doing was safe. Just as soon as I told her that I knew what I was doing I lost my grip on the cleanout cap as it came loose and the bucket at the same time.and the sewer water w/crap ended up all over me! FYI! Sewer water all over you is not nice!
    Hopefully you will be smarter than I was, LOL

    Take care