White clip

Lotion Flow Limiter

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We’ve all seen this before. A liquid soap or a lotion dispenser that dispenses too much product. This reminds me of those toothpaste commercials where they put toothpaste on the whole length of the toothbrush. That amount of toothpaste is not necessary. Toothpaste about the size of a pea is all that you need. But it looks very nice in the photos.

So can we fix a pump dispensing more required? There are different approaches to fixing this issue. I started by being very conscious each time I used the pump, careful to dispense only the amount needed. Not a good solution when considering guests or young kids.

Rubber Band for flow control
Rubber Band for flow control

My wife’s solution is inspired. Just tie a rubber band around the neck of the pump, and make adjustments as needed. It is a very good solution. Simple, cheap, and does the job. But not esthetically pleasing to the eyes. I wanted to find another solution that does the job of the rubber band, is aesthetically pleasing, and is not expensive to make.

3D printing to the rescue

Measuring the pump using a caliper
Measuring the pump using a caliper

This is where a 3-D printer comes in. This presents a simple project that I can work on. Sort of learning project. I created a flexible cylinder that I could clip onto the pump, replacing the job of the rubber band. I made the cylinder 1mm thick. As for the height, about 5mm. To make the measurements fairly accurate, I used an electronic caliper. I say “Fairly” because I did not have the caliper calibrated.  

Clip crawls up
Clip crawls up

The first run was perfect! I had placed the clip at the narrow end of the neck. I assume that the clip was not flexible enough to flex. But in fact, it did. Put enough pressure and it flexed and moved permanently up the thicker part of the neck. The result? Still, too much liquid was dispensed.

The solution is to print a longer clip and position it at the wider part of the dispenser, near the top of the pump. I also lengthened the clip. The result is a stationary clip that no longer moves to unintended positions. Changing the PLA I used to white also had a nice effect. The clip is not very visible.

If you are interested in giving this a try, the STL file is located at Thingverse.com.

© 2024, Norman Talon. All rights reserved.

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