Ketchup Bottle… Flexible Hose?

ketchup pipe

Need a corrugated flexible hose for your CNC machine? You could buy one… or you could make your own using tape and ketchup bottles!

One of our tipsters stumbled upon a very interesting hack on a Russian 3D Modeling website that sells 3D models ready to be CNC machined. They have a few articles on CNC machines, and this is one of them. An ingenious way of making your own flexible hose — in this case, used as a vacuum return on the CNC machine.

It’s pretty simple, although we would expect the labor involved quickly outweighs the cost of some cheap hose — but this is recycling so hey! You start by finding a source of cylindrical plastic containers, like ketchup bottles. You then cut a never-ending ribbon from said bottles, and then using a cylindrical template (like a can of spray paint), wrap packing tape, sticky side out, around the template. Now wrap your ribbon around the template, slightly spaced, and then cover the outside in tape as well. A one liter bottle of ketchup will make approximately a half meter of corrugated hosing. It’s not hard to continue doing this by sliding the hose off the can, and wrapping more ribbon and tape in place.

Now that’s a hack.

[Thanks Michael!]

62 thoughts on “Ketchup Bottle… Flexible Hose?

  1. I’ll probably do this at some point. I don’t need a hose like this anytime soon, but I expect to in the future. I think a Febreze Air Effects can would be a good mandrel. It’s narrower than a spray paint can and has no protruding rim at the bottom.

  2. Worldwide the #1 hacking material — TAPE! So essential and versatile that NASA included it on Apollo 13 ,Boy Scouts include it in survival kits, and no toolbox is complete without one form or another.

  3. I must see a vacuum in the trash every trash day. Hoses, hoses, and more hoses. Cheap plastic crap. The only thing they are good for is hoses. This hack is for when your spaceship life support system breaks down and it’s time to wing it to make it home.
    Tape starts with T and that stands for trouble and that’s temporary which ends up gooey.

        1. But maybe the motor blew its thermal fuse.
          I replaced the thermal fuse on a shop vac with a bit of rosin core solder, it’s been working for a number of times, albeit, not heavy or more than 5 minutes at a time.

          1. Do they still sell replacement belts just for that purpose? It’s been a while since I passed by a vacuum-cleaner parts supplier’s. It’s quite possibly one of the last user-serviceable parts still in existence, tho I think you need an actual Philips screwdriver to get to it, usually. My Mum used to fix hers like that, it’s hardly technical.

          2. That’s nearly always it. Cheaper to buy a new one than to pay bench time for a repair person to diagnose/fix it. Because, clearly, taking a few minutes to learn how to turn a screwdriver and finagle a belt into place is just too damn time-consuming/intimidating… Fortunately, vacuum cleaner shops are still alive and well and replacement parts are easily had locally in many places and certainly by way of the internet pretty much anywhere else. Find a good Made in the USA-vintage Hoover, learn how to field-strip/rebuild it, and you’re truly set for life. Once you’ve done that, learn how to fix other vacuums and offer your services to others on a barter system (likely more lucrative than a cash-basis these days… at least in many circumstances) and you’ve got an easy side-hustle… I’m just sayin’.

          3. I was picking up vacuums out of the trash and repairing them and other stuff I found and taking it to pawn shops and selling it to them at $15-25 a piece and making a good extra 150-200 /month back around 2005 still have a very nice Oreck 25th anniversary edition..I found the majority I got were from houses that had just gotten new carpet as well and usually needed a new impeller or just fuzz and carpet tacks cleaned out of it.

          1. mechanical (HVAC ) engineer here. duct tape is not permitted on my designs; however, if the tape bears the UL 181 label, it is generally code compliant in the united states. that does not mean that it will hold up, and experience has told me that it won’t hold up, but most municipalities will allow it.

          2. Let’s not forget that “duct tape” was called “duck tape” because of its water repellent nature. It gained popularity and the name during WWII. The idea of using it for ducts came later. (urban legend?)

  4. My first impression was that this was a bit silly seeing as the hardware store stuff is cheap and likely to perform better. I really like the recycling aspect of this hose though.

  5. i think that the most important thing to notice here is that this came from russia. i’m assuming the majority of russians don’t have vacuum cleaners, or pool hosing stuff, or even a hardware store near them. this is recycling, and making useful things out of “nothing”. this is like all of those guys that use aquarium tubing to attach their steppers to their threaded rod. ideally, you’d use a set screw or something to attach them. that might require a fulll machining shop, which few people have available to them. this is one of the best hacks i have seen in the 2 years i’ve been reading HAD, and i’ve gone back 3 years out of boredom.

    1. I’ve been living in the US for 13 years now and I am still amazed how ignorant americans are about any country outside their “civilized” part of the world (US, Canada, NW Europe and maybe Australia). Particularly striking is how little they know about Eastern and Central Europe, considering the significant percentage of americans originating from that part of the world.

      1. And I’m sure that the average Eastern and Central European knows everything about the U.S.

        It’s kind of stupid to be surprised that people don’t happen to know what you know about YOUR home. Why? Because they weren’t raised there and in all honesty what happens there matters very little to our lives. Just like the average Eastern and Central European doesn’t give a squat about what is happening in the U.S.

        That’s kind of like me saying people are ignorant or stupid because they don’t understand electronics. My doctor doesn’t need to know electronics and I don’t need to know doctoring.

        Sounds to me like you might be the one that needs to be a little less self-centered. If there is one thing I can’t stand more than anything, it is people coming here from other countries to live a better life and then complain about our country.

        If you chose to live here, YOU are an American. If you don’t want to be an American, GTFO.

        1. Why do you think people from eastern/central Europe don’t know what is happening in the US?
          Sure, people are different, but many both understand American traditions and know the current situation.
          Albeit in big part loudness of US media is the source of curiosity.

          1. Because I am certain that the AVERAGE citizen over there doesn’t know any more about the U.S. than the AVERAGE U.S. Citizen knows about over there.

            I’ve actually had several friends from over there (mostly England, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey), and many of them didn’t even know the name of our president. But do I think they are stupid because they don’t know? No. Why should they? It doesn’t change one aspect of their life either way.

            No, it’s mostly just the pompous jackasses on the internet making smartass anti-American comments that THINK they know what they are talking about.

            It takes a very small mind to expect people that have never lived in or even visited to know anything about your country. When I meet a foreigner here, I never once think they are stupid because they don’t know about my country. No more than I think my doctor is stupid because he doesn’t know electronics. Stupid is making smartass comments like you know when you don’t.

            Are you honestly going to sit there and tell us that every (or even most) citizens over there knows everything there is to know about the U.S. while we are a bunch of ignorant dolts?

            Besides, my response was directed to someone claiming to live here for 13 years talking about “Americans” as if they are separate from him. If he has lived here 13 years and doesn’t consider himself an American, it’s time for him to leave. That is disrespectful to my country.

          2. Nope, Americans in particular are known for their ignorance of world cultures and civilisation. It’s one reason your leaders find it so easy to declare war so often. Most of the world’s people who have at least a little intelligence know quite a bit about other people’s countries. For one thing we’re taught it at school while you’re all busy saluting flags.

      2. The geographic local of this hack immediately made it clear that this was done for expediency to get a job done NOW rather than wait till the next trip 30+ miles into town to a store which MIGHT have the tubing in stock this month. The tape was an obvious choice, and the vacuum line he tried wanted steal from the wife’s vacuum ,(but thought better of), obviously was based on a spiral. Needing such a spiral the garbage can was searched and an adequate material in sufficient quantities was found. Doesn’t have to be strong as the need is for high flow rates with little pressure differential.

        Definitely, this is a real and worthy hack, and expedience the reason that short-lived tape was used. +1 in my book.

        This hack will likely last 6+ months, and can easily be repaired with more tape.

      1. i realize i sound like uncultured swine, and it’s very possible that i am, but what i was trying to point out was that not everyone lives less than a mile from home depot, the vacuum cleaner bit sounds worse than i intended it to sound and i’m sorry for that. the pool thing is more applicable, because really, who wants a pool when it’s that cold? i live in oregon and we have pretty temperate climate here, but i only know a few people with pools. again, i’m only assuming this, because i don’t know anyone from russia. and have never and probably will never go there. a lot of awesome ingenious things come out of places without the resources your average suburban american has available to them. i was not trying to put russia down, and i’m sorry if i came across that way.

        1. It’s … not cold in Russia. I mean, sure, Siberia is cold, but is your impression that it’s cold all the time? I live in Canada, and lots of people have pools, and Much of Russia is in the same temperate zone as Canada. Summer is hot… cause… seasons. I agree It’s a great hack, because it was obviously something they needed and could not easily acquire.

    2. Leaving aside how you see other parts of the world, the idea behind using aquarium tubing to connect steppers to threaded rods is to use it as a flexible coupling.
      You can’t simply put a rigid coupling with a set screw because you can never align the stepper and the rod perfectly, thus you use a flexible coupling, and aquarium tubing is a cheap one that works quite well.
      Ideally, any two shafts that need to be connected should use a flexible coupling, if not you risk breaking bearings, loose torque, etc.

        1. Either they aren’t properly made or you didn’t see it. But don’t be surprised, many things today aren’t made the way they’re suposed to.
          If two rotating shafts are connected, and they already have a set of bearings each, you need some kind of flex coupling or universal joint, it’s impossible to perfectly align the two.
          There are cases where you don’t need them, but you mostly do if you wanna do things right.

          Take a look here:

          1. I checked my lasers, and yep, no flexible couplings.

            Looked at the router, no flexible coupling there either.

            Lathe, same story.

            How long do I have to wait before they magically change?

            BTW, your link doesn’t say you need flexible couplings, merely that you need to work out the tolerances caused by the misalignment. You might just need a change of design…

    3. Although you might find it mind blowing, of course Russians have hardware stores: where do you think they buy their flint stones for cooking their meals, and animals hides for their clothing?

    4. Er, pretty sure Russians have vacuum cleaners. They’re a source of much amusement and frustration in Russian households since, of course, they are yet to receive mains electricity.

    1. I’ve made this DIY tubing before (sometimes you need a bit of hose and either everything is close or they don’t have the size you want), and wire is what I used.

      Works well. Not exactly an original idea, I’ve seem commercial stuff like it.

      Still, top marks for cutting up a bottle, even if it’s a bit tedious (hmm, I’ve got a laser and a rotary chuck…)

  6. There are many sources of vacuum hoses, they are however not all the same. My little homemade cnc used a pool hose to suck the dust up. Sucks great, but the noise is terrible.The regular ribs produced a whine louder than the router. This is a useful hack if you can’t find a smooth inner vacuum hose.

    1. Yep. I can confirm that. I bought a length of 25 feet of “sump pump” drainage hose to use as a extra long hose on a vacuum. It ****screams**** like a banshie. I think it was the sharp edges start to resonate or something. You’ll notice real vac hose is made with more rounded, and flexible. The one thing I learned in the post, is that in a post-apolitical world, and can fab up a vacuum hose!.

  7. I like the idea of using bailing wire to make it but on another point of cutting the bottle take a piece of wood cut a hole the size of the bottle mount a razor at an angle to cut the bottle into strips and all you will have to do is twist the bottle from experience jigs always make things easier

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