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Rubber Soaker Hose Repair

A soaker hose leaped under a descending garden fork and accumulated a nasty gash:

Soaker Hose Splice - gashed

Soaker Hose Splice – gashed

Mary deployed a spare and continued the mission, while I pondered how to fix such an odd shape.

For lack of anything smarter, I decided to put a form-fitting clamp around the hose, with silicone caulk buttered around the gash to (ideally) slow down any leakage:

Soaker Hose Splice - Solid Model - Assembled

Soaker Hose Splice – Solid Model – Assembled

As usual, some doodling got the solid model started:

Soaker Hose Splice - Dimension doodle 1

Soaker Hose Splice – Dimension doodle 1

A hose formed from chopped rubber doesn’t really have consistent dimensions, so I set up the model to spit out small test pieces:

Soaker Hose Splice - Test Fit - Slic3r

Soaker Hose Splice – Test Fit – Slic3r

Lots and lots of test pieces:

Soaker Hose Splice - test pieces

Soaker Hose Splice – test pieces

Each iteration produced a better fit, although the dimensions never really converged:

Soaker Hose Splice - Dimension doodle 2

Soaker Hose Splice – Dimension doodle 2

The overall model looks about like you’d expect:

Soaker Hose Splice - Complete - Slic3r

Soaker Hose Splice – Complete – Slic3r

The clamp must hold its shape around a hose carrying 100 psi (for real!) water, so I put 100 mil aluminum backing plates on either side.¬†Were you doing this for real, you’d shape the plates with a CNC mill, but I just bandsawed them to about the right size and transfer-punched the hole positions:

Soaker Hose Splice - plate transfer punch

Soaker Hose Splice – plate transfer punch

Some drill press action with a slightly oversize drill compensated for any misalignment and Mr Disk Sander rounded the corners to match the plastic block:

Soaker Hose Splice - plate corner rounding

Soaker Hose Splice – plate corner rounding

A handful of stainless steel 8-32 screws holds the whole mess together:

Soaker Hose Splice - installed

Soaker Hose Splice – installed

These hoses spend their lives at rest under a layer of mulch, so I’m ignoring the entire problem of stress relief at those sharp block edges. We’ll see how this plays out in real life, probably next year.

I haven’t tested it under pressure, but it sure looks capable!

The OpenSCAD source code as a GitHub Gist:

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  1. #1 by madbodger on 2018-07-25 - 08:53

    It’s a soaker hose, so even if it leaks a little, it should be fine.

    • #2 by Ed on 2018-07-25 - 17:33

      The main line runs outside the garden plots, with hose bibs on vertical pipes emerging from the ground, and folks have backed over two of ’em in recent months: the jets must have been spectacular. Vassar locked the vehicle entry gates to prevent more carnage.

      Inside the garden, a popped coupler isn’t such a big deal …

  2. #3 by RCPete on 2018-07-25 - 11:36

    carrying 100 psi (for real!) water

    If that’s causing problems, a search on “rv water pressure regulator” will show regulators that will bring it down to 40-50 PSI. Sold by the usual suspects, including WalMart and Amazon. I found one non-adjustable for $6.72 from Amazon, with others running to $20-25.

    • #4 by Ed on 2018-07-25 - 17:36

      I put a four-line manifold just inside the garden gate, where turning on two or three lines keeps the pressure under control; we’ve learned not to run a single hose!

      One of the cheap regulators would make a nice Christmas Stocking stuffer, though.

  3. #5 by Mike on 2018-07-30 - 20:38

    I recently inherited an older RV, and am learning a lot (like the fact that nobody will insure an RV is the tires are older than 7-8 years). But we’re talking about water pressure. RV water systems have a limited pressure tolerance, and some RV parks have overly high pressure. Modern RVs can handle 80-100psi, where older RVs like mine are restricted to 50 psi or so.

    In the RV world there are two kinds of regulators, a cheap flow restrictor like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Camco-Pressure-Regulator-High-Pressure-40055/dp/B003BZD08U

    …and a true pressure regulator, like this one: https://www.amazon.com/Renator-M11-0660R-Regulator-Lead-free-Adjustable/dp/B01N7JZTYX/ref=lp_16187229011_1_1
    I have one of these on order, along with a lot of other RV stuff.

    • #6 by Ed on 2018-07-31 - 13:36

      We’ve learned the hard way to turn the water off / on at the riser pipe, rather than at the manifold. With at least two hoses active from the manifold, though, the pressure remains at sensible limits and, after fixing a few weak connections, the hoses have been stable for a couple of years.