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Water Bottle Holder

The Challenge

I retrieved a bottle of drinking water from the refrigerator. The product is grossly overpriced so we tend to stock the lowest cost wholesale bulk vendor brand. The cost is lower because the plastic in the bottles is about the minimum thickness possible and still hold water.

This tends to create some round bottom bottles that will not stand up alone. Others do a nice impression of the “Leaning Tower of Pizza”. Then they fall over.

The solution is to make a water bottle holder to support these misfits and allow the cap to remain off while in use.

A Solution

A402My sketch - Irrelevant material has been deliberately blurred.Perfect application for something that can be created using 3D printing. I immediately reached for a pencil and my sketch note pad. I find it far easier to brainstorm with a pencil sketch than to jump right into a computer based alternative. Your preference may vary.

I figured some type of cup shaped holder should solve the problem. Several bottles were measured and a determination made that 75 mm would be a suitable inside diameter.

The holder needs to have some style so a taper form was sketched. The top edge should be thin. With an I.D. of 75 mm, the O.D at the top was figured at 80 mm, allowing for a 2.5 mm wall thickness at the top.

The bottom needed to be wider for stability. 90 mm was selected. With a straight sided I.D. to remain at 75 mm all the way down, that will provide a 7.5 mm wall thickness at the bottom.

A solid bottom was considered but I opted for a hole in the bottom so the holder would not retain water. It is also a bit lighter and requires less material.

The height needed to be aesthetically pleasing as well as tall enough to do the job intended. 80 mm was the determination for these requirements.

The last consideration was to do some type of cut out on the sides. It is a bottle support device and not to be considered a drinking cup. That was also the reason for the hole in the bottom.

During CAD I experimented with using a pyramid shape (4 of them) for the cutouts. I liked what I saw.


I moved to my Rhinoceros 3D CAD drawing program. I have been using it for many years with CNC machining so I can work with it quite easily. There are a number of suitable 3D software programs available for a simple project like this. The sketch keeps the dimensions handy while building the 3D model.

In an hour or two I had the drawing I wanted and had decided on the openings in the side of the holder. I used four identical pyramids I built and Boolean subtracted them through the sidewalls of the holder. It provided an interesting variable taper to the through holes that resulted.

A creation should look as good or better than it works, Ha!

The first version I ran on the printer, I was unsure about the fill and the number of top layers. I went with 15% fill and two top and bottom layers. The top layers are at the bottom inside of the holder. There are no top layers at the very top. The edge doesn’t need them.

15% is too little density to properly support the top layers inside the bottom of the holder. I ended up with a few holes through the layer. Prototype #2 used 25% fill and three top layers. The bottom and shell are two layers. It now creates a beautiful (to me) bottle holder. Layer height is “fast” or 0.03 mm height.

Run time is close to four hours. The surface finish is very good. I just load it up and let it run. The settings can be adjusted as much as desired to vary the results. That’s the fun of running your own designs. Deciding what works best for the results desired.

Here is a link to the Water Bottle Holder .stl files:

WB Project files (zip archive)

The material used here is ABS filament. That’s another area for experimentation.

wb holder WB Holder2
 The 3D rendering from Rhino  This is a rendering of the .stl file made when submitted to Thingiverse.
DSC07229 DSC07226
 This is around #6 under construction on the 3D printer.  Prototype #1 is the green one. Flaws are not visiable unless looking for them. Note the lean on the round bottom bottle.
A slightly larger diameter version has also been made. Some people have really large bottles...  


As you see in the last picture above, the project has expanded slightly in scope. I gave one of these to my adult daughter and she took it to work. She is senior photographer for a major manufacturer and retailer. She wnated something to hold her water bottle at work and suggested it could be double sided taped to her workstation for even more security.

One of her water bottles is a refillable "sports" type bottle and it is larger in diameter than the usual packaged water bottle. No problem. Back to the drawing table and in about 30 minutes the Big Bro version was created. The original holder is 75mm ID and Big Bro is 85mm ID.

She measured her bigger bottle and told me it was 3 inches in diameter. That's 76.2mm. Just a bit larger than Little Bro. The new holder is close to 3 1/3" ID. There should be a good 1/8"+ clearance all around for her bottle.

I also received a request to make yet another Big Bro for her mom / my wife.

It's fun to rise to a challange and do more engineering... The printer doesn't mind at all. About a 20 minute longer run.

The Author

Ramblin' Dan Kautz

dankautzThere is no doubt one of my hobbies is writing about my hobbies. I read somewhere a long time ago, the best things to write about are the things you know very well. I have been writing and publishing long before the personal computer became the tool of choice.  My first printed and published club newsletter was created in the late 60's.

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Our Mission

The intention of this web site and “Ramblin’ Dan’s 3D Print Design Studio” is to promote creative design thinking and demonstrate how ideas can be changed to tangible creations through the proper application and use of Three-Dimensional Printing systems.

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