Tag Archives: faucets

3D Printed Tap Handles

Have you always had that idea, but just didn’t know how to make it or didn’t have the funds to purchase an entire machine shop?

Well with recent advances in rapid prototyping technology and the expiration of some key patents, the availability of so-called 3D printers has exploded.

In this post, I’ll show you how I put mine to good use for my beer dispensing by designing and printing a tap handle.

Difficulty: level_5

Due to the investment in a 3D printer and the amount of time it takes to get one dialed in and making parts, this one gets a high difficulty rating.

You also must posses some CAD design skills to generate the required files to send to the 3D printer.

Time Required:

I can’t really put a time on this one.  It’s really a labor of love.

For the print time only, this particular handle took about 11 hours of print time.

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$300 to $3000 depending on how nice of a printer you want to get.


3D Printer

Ever since I first saw my first rapid prototyping machine in college and then to a greater extent, seeing that this technology was nearly affordable for a DIY person like me, I’ve had a child-like fascination with these awesome machines.  It may sound goofy, but I’ve got the same level of amazement that I did when my Dad bought our first computer in the early ’80s and I was able to type my name and have it appear on our television.

I got the Flashforge Creator and I am very happy with it.  It had the right balance of cost, dual-extruders, reliability, non-proprietary filament and has required me to do a little bit of tinkering that has allowed me to better understand the capabilities 3D printers.

CAD Software

I use SolidWorks, but there are plenty of different paid packages as well as some free ones.  I won’t even begin to list them here, but some good research will turn up what you want.


To print something, you must first have some sort of solid model.  I had the idea that I would make something that would be extremely difficult to make out of wood, metal or other material.  The beer geek in me also thought to go with the theme of beer ingredients.

Water + Barley + Hops + Yeast = Beer (the beer being real beer dispensing from the faucet)


016-WBHY_v3 CAD


This was mid-process in printing my first version of the tap handle.  I wasn’t confident that I could print the logo in the handle in a different color at the same time.  I printed a separate plaque that I would glue on later.  I was still learning and I still learn something new every time I use the thing.

016-WBHY_v1 getting printed

This is my second version where I was able to successfully print the letters vertically.

016 - Handle on print bed

I had to print the other parts separately and glue them in later.

016 - ready to glue

016 - WBHY Handle v3 - yeast flask

Version 3 is shown above.  I experimented with clear filament and was able to make a yeast starter flask instead of the boring one color flask.  All WBHY tap handles will have the this flask from now on.  I was also able to remove the gaps in the hop cone.  That looks much better now too.

3D printers are awesome, but they are still far away from being able to print everything usable.  I chose to use press-in inserts for the threading.

1. I didn’t think that the plastic threads would be durable enough

2. I didn’t think that the threads would be dimensionally correct

016 - brass insert

Here is my first version that I used for our Strausstoberfest party.

016-WBHY_v1 3_4 view

Whats next?

Your imagination is the limit…..

Want to build one?

The intention in making these files downloadable and free is for people to make this themselves or modify/improve the design to suit them.

Go to Thingiverse to download the STL files and build your own.


Don’t have a Thingiverse account?

If you don’t have a Thingiverse account or have no interest in creating one, you can download the CAD files & Templates by subscribing using the form below:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

By clicking on the download, you agree to the terms of this license and to be added to the awesome fermware.com subscriber list. Don’t worry, you won’t receive a bunch of trub in your inbox.
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If you are interested in this for commercial purposes (i.e. you want to make money on my effort), I’m flattered, but please contact me first.

Don’t have a printer and want to buy one?

I’m offering a printing and assembly service for $47 (including free shipping) for those that don’t have a 3D printer and would like a tap handle.

Everyone should understand what cosmetic quality one should expect from a 3D printed part and the pictures on this post I feel, do a sufficient job of it.  I will not do any finishing work on the tap handles.  I feel that the as-printed look is part of the charm of these parts.

I can offer customized text.  It looks like approximately 18 characters would fit.  I would of course let you approve a rendering first.  The text I’ve got on the tap handle now, is about the smallest I would want to go and have it look nice.

If you have a custom logo or artwork you want on a tap handle, the best thing to have is CAD friendly file formats such as DXF, DWG or some other native CAD file format.
I can accept a certain amount of customization (colors, fonts or wording), but for anything beyond that, please contact me for a custom quote.

I can now also customize the color of the plus and equal symbols.

My preferred logo/text method on the sides is now plaques as shown below.  They print much better and also allow two color logos.

016-customer - Linkenbrau

If you want ideas, check out my Gallery of Customer 3D Printed Tap Handles showing some of the tap handles already made for customers.

I also take custom orders, such as the kombucha tap handle I did for Pekoe Kombucha Bar in Toronto, ON.

Lead time from the date of order could be up to three weeks.

Use the link below to purchase for $47 via PayPal.  Shipping to the US only at this price.  If you live outside the US, contact me through the contact link in the top menu bar of the site.

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016 - WBHY Handle v3

SYNEK Draft System

Brew In A Bag?  More like Beer In A Bag!  This is like the countertop kegerator. And the thing is, that isn’t the coolest thing about the SYNEK. What is so cool, is that they have brought focus to a new way to package beer.  They call it “the ultimate growler”.

I first found out about this at the 2014 American Homebrewers Association National Homebrewers Conference.  At the time of this posting, their SYNEK Kickstarter campaign has about a week left.

Difficulty: level_1

Time Required:

Just keep reading.

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SYNEK Draft System



The best way to describe it is like box wine. If you’ve ever bought some and taken apart the box to find the bag inside, you’ll know what I’m talking about. I’m not ashamed to say that I still do buy it, because there actually is good box wine. I’m an ultra-beersnob, but I’m fine with the Two Buck Chuck (or Three Buck, depending on where you live).

Anyway, back on subject. The premise is that anyone from homebrewers on up to professional breweries will be able to use the new packaging. It’s one of those ideas that was waiting to happen, since all the technology was there. I like the fact that with growlers, you can go to most any brewery and bring home the deliciousness. The bad thing is that once you open them, you need to drink the beer within a few days or it goes flat. Unless you are using some sort of carbonation cap (I’ve got a method, which I’ll have a post on soon). In any case, glass is not an ideal material for holding pressure.

I talked for a while with Steve Young, the founder for quite a while at the Homebrew Expo.  He’s the guy in the videos on their site.  You really have to watch the videos at the SYNEK Kickstarter page. It can do more justice than me writing about it.

The unit shown in the pictures was merely a non-functional demo unit, but the way Steve explained it, I don’t see any huge technical challenges.

Some more details of the packaging from Michael Werner (Strategic Director):

The cartridge is the first ever flexible packaging that can withstand carbonated beverages.  It is patent-pending and meets all standards and expectations for consumables.  It holds 128 fl oz and can be filled anyway you need.  Under the right conditions (speaking to homebrewers), you can even force-carbonate, prime, ferment, etc. inside. Last, we insure a 30-day shelf life after the first pour.  We have designed it to completely avoid air contamination during and after filling.  If carried out properly, we don’t see why a cartridge wouldn’t maintain carbonation and quality for as long or longer than bottles and cans (4-6 months).  This allows for storing and aging consumable liquids in SYNEK cartridges.

Sounds cool to me!

Here are some of the videos they posted:


Here are some of the breweries they have ready to distribute using their packaging:


I myself am planning on acquiring an early unit, or at least one of the bags, to run it through it’s paces. For purely scientific reasons….


Super Easy Tap Handles

Ok, so the big party is two days away and you realize that in your months of planning down to the last detail, you actually forgot one important detail.


Keezer cart…Check

New faucet system…Check

Method to actuate said faucet system…DOH!!!!

A weekend of brewing followed by 9+ weeks of TLC and lagering of your Oktoberfest beer.  This needed some representation.  A couple pairs of vice-grips were not going to work in this situation.

Difficulty: level_2

Time Required:

Once you have collected all of the supplies, about an hour max.  More if you are also going to paint and design your own labels.

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Less than $10 for two tap handles


009-Brass Insert

3/8″-16 Brass threaded inserts

1x wooden staircase spindle


Chop saw or miter saw
Some sort of vice or clamping system
Hand drill and drill bits up to 1/2″

Insertion tool (optional if you plan ahead, not an option if only have days).  Make sure you get the 3/8″-16 version.  As of 5/31/14, the price was $10.99 at Rockler.



Or there are T-handle designs


Alternately, you could use a 3/8″-16 threaded bolt and two corresponding nuts, which I also didn’t have on hand at the time of build.  If you are doing these often, I would get a tool.  If not, maybe make the call yourself on how MacGyver you want to get.

How it’s made:

Cut handles to length

First, you need to cut off the little nubbin on the end of your spindle (if applicable).

009-Spindle nubbin

Then, decide how long you want your tap handles to be and cut each of the fancy ends off of the spindle to your desired length.  Try to cut perpendicular to the spindles axis.  I used a quick clamp to hold it to my miter saw (basically because I had misplaced the super handy integrated clamp that went with the saw).

009-cutting spindle

Drill holes

Using your vice or whatever clamping system you fancy, get your tap handle secured for drilling.  If you are seriously cool and have a lathe or a drill press, go for it.  I tried a hole drilling jig, but the problem is that the spindles do not have nice constant diameter sections, which made squaring up the jig virtually impossible.

Drill progressively larger holes in the bottom end of the tap handle to work your way up to a 1/2″ hole.  If you have the means, I highly suggest you don’t drill off center as I have obviously done in these pictures.

009-drill bits

009-drill 1

009-drill 2

009-drill 3

Install the insert

009-install brass insert 1

009-install brass insert 2

November 2, 2014 update:  You’ll see further down alternate methods to install the insert.  This picture directly below shows my most recent “tool-less” method.  I use a standard 3/8-16 bolt along with a wing nut.  You thread the wing nut onto the bolt as shown, then also thread the brass insert almost fully onto the bolt.  Then tighten the wingnut to the brass insert.  You can then use this assembly to thread the insert into the tap handle.  When the brass insert is fully installed, just undo the wing nut and unthread the bolt.

009-alternate install method

Here is the “proper” method below:


My initial MacGuyver method:

I don’t know how this worked out, but I needed something that would fit in the slot and help me screw the insert in.  I ended up using a cheapie wrench that came with some sort of put-it-together-yourself furniture.

These are hard to get started straight, so do your best. Usually they pull themselves straight after the first full thread or two. If not, you may want to back it out and start again.

009-install brass insert 3

NOTE: This is NOT the proper way to do this.  I just made do with what I had.  If you plan ahead, get an insertion tool or use the bolt method I mentioned above.

Getting the insert flush with the bottom takes a little extra “ingenuity”.

009-install brass insert 4


Alright, so it’s functional at this point and you could go ahead and use it.  If you want to make it a little more presentable, you could sand and paint it and add labels.  For painting, I just used a 3/8″-16 bolt I had and used it as a handle while I spray painted.  You can also stain as I did on some other tap handles.  Before you apply your labels, I would suggest threading the tap handles onto the faucets and determine which orientation is best for not looking crooked.  If you drilled the holes by hand this is imperative.  If you drilled using a method that is guaranteed straight, proceed at will.

009-Ready to paint

The first year, I designed some labels and my crafty wife stained the handles, did the burned edge treatment on the labels and sealed them with some mod podge.


009-Stained tap handle

These are my painted versions for my Dunkel and Rye PA.

009-painted tap handles

There you have it folks.  Super easy tap handles.