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Thread: 3D Printed Pipe Stem, Looking for Feedback

  1. #21
    Moderator jimbo44's Avatar
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    I didn't comment earlier - but, now, Dean has said what I felt (merely better!).

    Keep going though - all pipesmokers are not old farts like Dean and I - but you do need to get the mechanics right as well as the looks.
    Last edited by jimbo44; 07-07-2016 at 18:36.
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  2. #22


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    Strange how people think I'm trying to change the world of piping and reinvent the wheel. As if I'm going to force every pipe smoker out there to use these. Funny enough these same people clearly have not actual read what ive posted. I'm noticing aa HUGE trend in these forums of people not reading and instead jumping to conclusions.

    I made some fun pipe stems... Because... Well I think they are fun. Period. I'm sorry if this upsets some people and that it somehow goes against their mental and moral code of how they think pipe smoking has to be (simple because it has always been done that way). It's clearly not for them, and that's OK.

    Thank you for all of those who have provided actual constructive feedback and technical information.

    I will have to do some more research. I've designed these stems based on how my cob pipes work. I imitated fit and size. Mainly because this is what I use and know. But this should be easily fixed.

    I question the critical internal designs of stems. Specific angles and drafts, hole sizing ect. I've used my purchased acrylic stems and then I use my 3D printed stems and I honestly cannot tell the difference. Either way it's simple enough for me to change a few dimensions and redesign the internals in just a few minutes. I might send some of you screen shots with dimensions to get specific feedback.

    Sorry for not having gotten back to everyone yet. I'll get back with everyone later this evening. I've been scouring the Internet looking for translucent ABS to print with. The best I have found is simply "clear" ABS which will end up cloudy. Not great.

    The next best thing I have found is a food grade plastic with fantastic visual properties (prints clear and Shiney). However it's downside is that it has a low glass transition temperature of 70C which I'm not as comfortable with. Can anyone confirm what temp the bottom of the stem gets up to? I might do some testing with my IR gun.

    Otherwise I'll just be sticking with solid color ABS.
    Last edited by Mo3dPrinting; 07-07-2016 at 21:06.

  3. #23


    1 members Liked or found this post helpful.

    Oh and my 3D printer can hold tolerances to about 0.1mm. It's not aerospace grade tolerances but we are talking about a pipe after all... Not a NASA aircraft. I've printed stems that fit perfectly into the pipe. Worst case scenario I did some minor sanding.

    Im not exactly sure what the concern is with fit? Are people worried about pipes being damaged? (this is the only thing I can think of that makes sense to me)

    Seriously what am I missing? We are fitting a piece of plastic into a piece of wood. I cannot for the life of me figure out what people are nit picking about.

  4. #24
    PSU Member RP McMurphy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mo3dPrinting View Post
    Oh and my 3D printer can hold tolerances to about 0.1mm. It's not aerospace grade tolerances but we are talking about a pipe after all... Not a NASA aircraft. I've printed stems that fit perfectly into the pipe. Worst case scenario I did some minor sanding.

    Im not exactly sure what the concern is with fit? Are people worried about pipes being damaged? (this is the only thing I can think of that makes sense to me)

    Seriously what am I missing? We are fitting a piece of plastic into a piece of wood. I cannot for the life of me figure out what people are nit picking about.
    Your use to Cobs and they are certainly not artisan pipes and I understand that. But, a pipe maker and I'm talking about ones who make hand made pipes, makes a pipe everything must fit perfectly and air flow must flow perfectly otherwise we get gurgle or other problems. Our fit and finish is also near perfect or at least perfect is what we strive for.
    In a cob with a draft hole the same size as the mortise in most cases around 1/4" it really doesn't matter what size the airway is in the stem as long as it's not over a 1/4".
    A regular pipe made by any manufacturer or pipe maker draft holes vary and all or at least most all are the same as the stem with the difference of the tapering of the
    hole in the stem and of course the size of the slot. Now if these are just made for corn cob pipes fine but, if you wish to make the to use in others they'll certainly need to be changed.
    I'm not asking you to make different sizes just suggesting that if the draft and slots was smaller so one could drill it out to what he needs and the slot they'd be more versatile. If you were to check out a Vulcanite preformed stem you'll find that the slot is small, the draft is small, and the tenon is large and it's made a little oversize. This is so when fitting it to a pipe it can be modified for a perfect and draw. Corn Cobs are all made the same, there simplicity at it finest but, you'll never pay anymore then a few dollars for one and there lies one of the differences. Not poo pooing anything, just trying to give you some helpful advice so your stems can be fitted to ANY pipe like other stem manufactures stems are. I am not expecting to purchase any stem that is expected to fit when received, that's just impossible.
    Last edited by RP McMurphy; 07-07-2016 at 22:13.

  5. #25
    PSU Member Estate Pipe Shop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mo3dPrinting View Post
    Strange how people think I'm trying to change the world of piping and reinvent the wheel. As if I'm going to force every pipe smoker out there to use these. Funny enough these same people clearly have not actual read what ive posted. I'm noticing aa HUGE trend in these forums of people not reading and instead jumping to conclusions.

    I made some fun pipe stems... Because... Well I think they are fun. Period. I'm sorry if this upsets some people and that it somehow goes against their mental and moral code of how they think pipe smoking has to be (simple because it has always been done that way). It's clearly not for them, and that's OK.

    Thank you for all of those who have provided actual constructive feedback and technical information.

    I will have to do some more research. I've designed these stems based on how my cob pipes work. I imitated fit and size. Mainly because this is what I use and know. But this should be easily fixed.

    I question the critical internal designs of stems. Specific angles and drafts, hole sizing ect. I've used my purchased acrylic stems and then I use my 3D printed stems and I honestly cannot tell the difference. Either way it's simple enough for me to change a few dimensions and redesign the internals in just a few minutes. I might send some of you screen shots with dimensions to get specific feedback.

    Sorry for not having gotten back to everyone yet. I'll get back with everyone later this evening. I've been scouring the Internet looking for translucent ABS to print with. The best I have found is simply "clear" ABS which will end up cloudy. Not great.

    The next best thing I have found is a food grade plastic with fantastic visual properties (prints clear and Shiney). However it's downside is that it has a low glass transition temperature of 70C which I'm not as comfortable with. Can anyone confirm what temp the bottom of the stem gets up to? I might do some testing with my IR gun.

    Otherwise I'll just be sticking with solid color ABS.

    Ok lets go here then................. as you came here with the 'I'm making these & want some feedback' ......well if you didn't want the opinion of someone who works in the trade that's up to you, I did not jump to conclusions I replied to you wanting honest feedback, sorry it wasn't what you hoped for, but you came here with no previous posts & we have no knowledge of who you are or what your intentions for these stems were, did you want to find customers for them ? give them away as gifts to all members here? buildup marketing feedback on this forum to spread the word?
    I have read your posts very carefully & studied the images of the stems you have done & ONLY then did I make a conclusion

    Thanking people who thought the stems were cute as being constructive feedback & dismissing everyone else that tried to explain the mechanics of how stems are made & have been made for a long time by very skilled craftsmen for over 100 years & still to this day is plain daft, do you not think many many others have not already experimented with all sorts of designs in the past, but the simple basics remain the same when it comes to functionality, which after all is what it is there for & not as an ornament

    I am not upset in the slightest about what you do & reading your posts was not upsetting either, taking my time to write this now though, is pissing me off, you say the trend on forums is to jump to conclusions, well here's a conclusion, go & see how much skill & thought goes into hand cutting a stem so that the airflow is smooth & tapered allowing the smoke to flow freely, the V cut in the end of the bit in such a way to allow it to express itself into your mouth, the draught hole the right ID for the size of bowl & the list can go on to specifics like, would the owner prefer a large button as he/she is a clencher or a thinner button as a sipper, these are only a few things that are considered & then come back with something that is at least functional & looks comfortable to smoke

    You question internal designs of stems, specific angles etc, so countless pipe makers & people who have dedicated there time to just stem work have got this are all wrong ? well fukme, I will drill 2 hole's in a block of briar & insert a piece of 10mm alkathene pipe into one hole, should be good to go then, I might even tie a knot in the alkathene, so I can't get a pipe cleaner down it to clean it while I'm at it, as sod that who needs to clean the bloody thing anyway

    My mental & moral code on pipe smoking, as you put it, I will sum it up easily ' I want the best experience I can get from it ', so sorry, but if that means I want, a comfortable, free flowing, non gurgling, asthetically pleasing, soft material, easy to clean, light weight feckin stem, with no bloody fangs, then that is what I will smoke

    And by the way 0.1mm tolerance on a tenon may as well be 2 foot, tenons on a lathe are turned to thousandths of an inch, to fit correctly, not that is close enough, I will give it a quick sand & is if by magic it fits perfectly, I am not sure what pipes you are fitting stems to, but a few thou too tight & you can crack the shank & few thou too loose & oops the bowls on the floor & the stems still in my mouth

    It ain't nit picking, is called learn the basics, instead of dismissing the members here who have taken the time to try & advise you as being picky or jumping to conclusions
    Last edited by Estate Pipe Shop; 07-08-2016 at 02:00.


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  6. #26
    PSU Member BillyPM's Avatar
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    6 members Liked or found this post helpful.

    Knock yourself out dude. If it's fun to make and smoke I say why not. But I happen to be firmly in Dean's camp. A superb smoking pipe is not a casual coincidence. Cool smooth dry sweet comfy consistently flavorful bowls of tobacco are no accident. They start with well cured wood of course, but a proper stem is crucial and an improper one is a deal breaker every time for me. If you don't see a difference I won't look down on you. But I think I'll pass on your offer.
    Last edited by BillyPM; 07-08-2016 at 04:05.
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  7. #27


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    Quote Originally Posted by RP McMurphy View Post
    Your use to Cobs and they are certainly not artisan pipes and I understand that. But, a pipe maker and I'm talking about ones who make hand made pipes, makes a pipe everything must fit perfectly and air flow must flow perfectly otherwise we get gurgle or other problems. Our fit and finish is also near perfect or at least perfect is what we strive for.
    In a cob with a draft hole the same size as the mortise in most cases around 1/4" it really doesn't matter what size the airway is in the stem as long as it's not over a 1/4".
    A regular pipe made by any manufacturer or pipe maker draft holes vary and all or at least most all are the same as the stem with the difference of the tapering of the
    hole in the stem and of course the size of the slot. Now if these are just made for corn cob pipes fine but, if you wish to make the to use in others they'll certainly need to be changed.
    I'm not asking you to make different sizes just suggesting that if the draft and slots was smaller so one could drill it out to what he needs and the slot they'd be more versatile. If you were to check out a Vulcanite preformed stem you'll find that the slot is small, the draft is small, and the tenon is large and it's made a little oversize. This is so when fitting it to a pipe it can be modified for a perfect and draw. Corn Cobs are all made the same, there simplicity at it finest but, you'll never pay anymore then a few dollars for one and there lies one of the differences. Not poo pooing anything, just trying to give you some helpful advice so your stems can be fitted to ANY pipe like other stem manufactures stems are. I am not expecting to purchase any stem that is expected to fit when received, that's just impossible.
    You're not poo pooing at all. I appreciate the constructive and specific feedback. Thanks for taking the time to actually answer my questions with detailed info.

    You've taught me my stems will work with cobs but I'll need to do some design updating for other pipes.

  8. #28
    Super Moderator HCraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mo3dPrinting View Post
    You're not poo pooing at all. I appreciate the constructive and specific feedback. Thanks for taking the time to actually answer my questions with detailed info.

    You've taught me my stems will work with cobs but I'll need to do some design updating for other pipes.
    I think another lesson here is that there's a big difference between cobs and briar pipes, not only in terms of construction and sizes, but in what people expect of the aesthetics and smoking properties. I'm not a connoiseur or snob by any means when it comes to pipes - most of my regular smokers are fairly inexpensive factory/workshop pipes that likely sold for less than $100 brand new - but even most of those pipes have the feel of a unified work, that the stummel and stem were made for each other, flow into each other (including well-done designs with military or spigot mounts), and work together to make a pleasing whole. Those that fall short in that manner, at least to my eye, aren't on the same plane.

    I have a Savinelli Canadian, an 804KS, that was my first good pipe, bought for about $40 in 1989. Sometime in the early 90's, it suffered a mishap and the stem broke off at the tenon, so I took it to my B&M and had them send it out to a repairman for maybe $15. Though I still smoke it today, the pipe I got back wasn't the same. It now has a saddle bit that was probably pre-cut and modified to fit. The fit is fine, the bit is comfortable, and it smokes as good as it ever did, but frankly, it just really bothers me, because it doesn't look as good as it did. So much so that I seriously consider having it re-done by someone like Dean who would take the time and has both the skill and the eye to do it right. It's not a fancy pipe, but I'd smoke it more if I truly liked the damn stem, if it really felt like an integral part of the pipe. As it is, it looks clunky, though that is probably its only fault.



    Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking your own ability nor the potential of 3D printing to create such a thing, but from a business perspective, why spend a lot of time trying to do custom jobs, trying to please one persnickety person like myself in the same amount of time that it probably takes to manufacture a dozen nice looking, decorative stems for cobs that are of known dimensions? Walker Briar Works made a good business out of their Forever Stems, mind you they are either vulcanite or acrylic, so they do have a better feel than ABS, but they are beautiful, too, and enhance the look of otherwise run-of-the-mill cobs. I think your product could fill a nice niche in that market, because people like to customize their cobs. They are a sort of blank canvas, and much more modular than briar pipes, despite the necessary transition between stem and stummel.

    Again, I'm not looking to slam you or your idea, and I don't think anyone else is either. I only hope to help you find your place in this market and tweak what could be an excellent product for the right application. I'd still be very happy to test these products and provide further feedback.
    Last edited by HCraven; 07-08-2016 at 16:21.
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  9. #29
    PSU Member PyrateMate's Avatar
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  10. #30


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    Bumping an old post.
    Mo3dPrinting, I've a couple of 3D printers and am interested. I like your designs--the quad spiral would be great with a single tube down the center -- but would also be looking for something simpler to replace damaged stems.
    Sure, i can get a blank for $3 plus $20 s/h to Canada, plus $70 plus sh/h for the turning machine, plus taxes and import duties. Whoever suggested the blanks didn't think it all the way through. If you'll send a file I can use or adapt, I can print a stem in ABS or PETG or Nylon for only a couple of bucks.

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