Additive Manufacturing Strategies

High School Student Creates a 3D Printed Bottle Tree Tap to Harvest Maple Sap this Winter

ST Medical Devices

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treetap2One of my favorite foods to eat, especially in winter, is pancakes with fresh maple syrup on them. There is just something about the sweetness and flavor of real maple syrup, fresh from the tree, especially when warmed on a cold morning. Personally I envy those who live in areas plentiful with maple trees, as I would absolutely love to be able to go outside, tap a tree, and bring fresh maple sap back home to use for cooking. Unfortunately though, I live in an area with plenty of palm trees, and absolutely no maple trees at all.

However, for one high school student, named Timothy Lapp, this isn’t the case. In fact, he lives in Canada; you know, the country with a big red maple leaf on its flag. In his neck of the woods, there are maple trees everywhere, always presenting a good opportunity to tap a tree and bring home the sap!

“A couple days ago, I remembered that at about this time of year, the sap in maple trees starts to flow,” Lapp tells 3DPrint.com. “Normally you boil down sap to create maple syrup, but for some reason our maple syrup never tasted right, however I still enjoyed the taste of the sap before we boiled it. So I decided to try to design a tap that lets a bottle screw on, so you can just screw a bottle on for an easy drink of sap!”

Using a couple of more traditional taps that his family had laying around the house, he set out to design his very own 3D printable version of one using Fusion 360. Not having all that much experience designing objects for 3D printing, Lapp admits that the project was quite challenging for him. He could not figure out how to design a 3D printable screw thread, so he used an already created open source design by another Thingiverse user from the Institute of Polymer Product Engineering in Austria. Once complete, Lapp posted his design files on Thingiverse.

bottletap1

“I printed out the design on my Printrbot Simple Metal which took about 4.5 hours, put it on a tree a couple days ago, and it worked surprisingly well,” Lapp tells us.

In order to use the tap, a hole must be drilled into the tree. This works on maple trees as well as a plethora of other trees such as boxelder, gorosoe, butternut, black walnut, birch, sycamore, and more. Once a hole a couple inches deep is drilled, the tap is placed into this opening and the sap should begin to flow.

According to Lapp, he has been able to fill up a single water bottle per day, and he has been using his tap quite often, filling up his bottles on a frequent basis.

“Fresh maple sap is actually quite delicious, especially if you add a little bit of lemon juice,” says Lapp. “Put the bottle on at the beginning of the day, and enjoy some sap later.”

This is just another example of a clever high school student utilizing 3D printing to create quite the useful tool. What do you think about Lapp’s 3D printed tree bottle tap? Discuss in the Tree Bottle Tap forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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