Cat drinking pond

by JohK, published

Cat drinking pond by JohK Dec 17, 2012

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UPDATE: Version 2 of the drinkpond has been out in the wild for quite a while now and I haven't received any complaints whatsoever. If you want to have a drinkpond, you should chose version 2 over version 1.

UPDATE: Version 2 of the drinkpond available now with 5mm higher water level and a cutout to reduce amount of plastic needed and hopefully reduce ABS warping. ATM untested, print at own risk.

This is a cat drinking pond that takes soda bottles (like coke, pepsi, etc) with a pco028 thread as a reservoir. The water level is kept constant without the need for permanent monitoring on your side.

All corners and edges are nicely rounded so your tippy-toe doesn't hurt itself - also it looks much better.

L*** the cat: "Yay, I can haz water purr*"

Got inspired by the "pond for small animals", my thing is a complete redesign though.

Print Settings

Printer Brand:



MendelMax 1.5+ Custom


Doesn't Matter








I got good results with PLA, .35mm nozzle at .2mm layer height. I also used 4 perimeters and 5 top layers to make it watertight. You might get away with fewer layers and perimeters, but I didn't want to take a risk.


Print the cat-drinkpond-v2.stl file:

Please make sure to use a "food safe" plastic to not put your pet's health at risk. Extruding the plastic through a brass nozzle might increase the lead content of final product. (Also see the discussion below)

I got good results with PLA, .35mm nozzle at .2mm layer height. I also used 4 perimeters and 5 top layers to make it watertight. You might get away with fewer layers and perimeters, but I didn't want to take a risk.

Then go and find some empty PET-bottle (no pun intended) that has a PCO028 thread (coke bottle, or similar thick-walled bottle). Fill the bottle with water and screw it into the socket of the pond. I would suggest the small .5l or the 1l size at max. any bigger than that and the pond will probably tip over quite easily.

I designed this thing to be massive and survive everyday use: before you print, double check the gcode so you don't waste plastic on a useless non-watertight print.

If you already have a bowl that you like to use with a bottle as a reservoir you can also print the cat-drinkpond-tower.stl, which basically is a stand for the bottle with some openings. You'd have to tether the bottle somehow to avoid that your cat tips it over, though.

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good idea bud i have a qustion can i use PLA Filament for this as wel or not ? want to make sure its save for my Cats to drink from

You'll want to use FDA "food safe" PLA, approved for contact with food.

You might want to consider PETG over ABS as PETG is 'food safe' and ABS isn't.

Thank you for your input on this topic. We had a discussion on this topic (see comments below) in the past.
My current understanding is that no (FDM) printed part is inherently food safe due to the surface quality that promotes bacterial growth. Difficult topic: if you print this thing, use it with care.

First time I see photo of cat with privacy bar, you made my holidays, thanx ;)

PS. The Thing looks interesting too

cat thing funny. sorry im late

i'm glad you take cat privacy seriously

that cat privacy bar is epic :D

Hahahaha,you made my evening!!!!
The picture with the cat is brilliant!!!!

Cat privacy bar! That's amazing!

I know this bottle, there is an internationnal Wanted Notice on it.

Don't look like a cat to me

Very cool use of physics!

can cats say they don't want there picture on the internet if that is true than we would not have cat pictures

I don't even have a pet and liked this. That pic is too funny.

I'm just here to giggle over the cat's privacy bar.

Me too! Thank goodness there are people left in this world who will respect a cats privacy! lol

Hahah that pic! damn, you are my Hero!

That pictures is awesome :D

I agree - it made me genuinely LOL

I know this cat !!


The cat has powers and if you see its eyes You will turn into a cat forever

Comments deleted.

That moment when you have to blur out your cats face

Ahahhahahhahaha :D


Just printed my own (v2) in PLA at .2 layer height, 5 top, 5 sides, and 2 bottom. Works flawlessly! I'm using a smartwater bottle and the threads fit perfectly. Probably the 4 top/sides perimeters would have been fine. I just threw an extra on there to be sure. Nice design! Thank you!!

The cat censor is the best!

Very interesting to read. Never gave much of a thought about it...

Printed this and set in pan to see if it leaks....infill was 50%....in one hour metal pan was filled because water leaked thru print which seemed solid....any suggestions anyone...printed on Robo 3d R1+

If it was printed in ABS, you can possibly fix it using acetone (vapor). If you re-print it, 30‰ infill, 4 perimeters and at least 5 top layers should work.

Otherwise it might be a calibration issue with your printer. Or you are printing too low a layer height or extrude too cold. This results in bad adhesion between layers and then cracks during cooldown.

I hope this helps.

At least clean it off really well. I don't really trust 3D prints with my pets.

Actually used PLA with 50%infill.......will ck perimeters and layers....thanks my friend

why nu covering the cats eyes?

Hahaha! I practically choked when I saw that.

The cat cracked me up. LOL
But good job

This cat is part of a clandestine organization tasked with protecting high value targets. Showing this cat without censor would amount to a national security threat. A true hero.

Protect the innocent!!! lol, the cat is awesome!

LMAO at the protected cat.

loooooool protected cat

I love that the cats identity is guarded

wath did you expect

i only have a 15X15cm printer, could you upload one that is slightly smaller? i cant just scale it down because of the thread.
That would be awesome =)

Heya, I am wanting to change/edit the item posted. I'm an openscad user, and having issues importing the stl files due to errors. Are you able to export to scad per chance?

Hi, usually I prefer using OpenSCAD for my small private projects as well, but in this case using Pro/Engineer was much quicker (this object was less than 60mins of modelling!). I can export different formats like .stl, .stp not scad; afaik none of these will help you import the model into openSCAD.
What modifications do you have in mind?

The cat in the photo looks like it could be my cat's twin! Coloring is almost exactly the same but my cat would be a little bit older. His name is Cow :)

Is your name Arizona? LOL!

Half the comments are about the pets health.. I guess these people never seen an animal eat its own crap before.

They have given warnings about PLA not being food-safe which includes liquids. The composition of PLA and anything that you eat or drink out of it can harm humans and animals. I don't recommend this for anyone's pet.. not unless you seal it with a food-safe epoxy.

PLA is corn based, so it is food safe.

It's not the corn that will kill you, it's the additives. I've only seen one brand of PLA stating FDA approved for food contact. I'd be cautious of PLA from china or any where the actual manufacturer is not known.

loving it - I will use the tower for instant water supply for my turtles.

Thank's for the idea!

Pretty cool. It can be used also to water the birds outside.
They are particularly thirty in winter.
Definitively something I will print soon !!

The identity of kitties involved have been redacted to protect the innocent.

PLA will degrade alot faster when wet all the time and sunlight isnt helping on that one too.

I did some research into PLA degrading earlier this year and really couldn't find too much about. In essence the results of my research was: PLA is far from environmentally friendly (stuff is used during production! stuff!). Also degrading of small PLA chips in special reactors has a timescale of years.

If you have any more detailed information on this, I'd be really interested.

All I know is that PLA is one of the plastics used in dissolvable stitches. Presumably:
1) The products aren't toxic in small quantities
2) It does dissolve, these stitches take about 3 months.

Blood is warm and slightly alkaline so will probably break down PLA significantly faster, and the bodies immune system may also be able to attack it.

Considering how thick that part is, I don't think its going to fail any time soon, and it should go soft before it fails anyway.

However, just because something is safe for humans doesn't make it safe for animals. Cooking with teflon pans can kill a bird if it happens to be in the kitchen at the time but is harmless to humans.

I'd assume the plastic used in dissolvable stitches differs a fair bit from 3D printer filament.

Well, now we have a use for all that extrudate we create when priming for a print. Just need to find a needle with a big enough eye...

Hey i know that cat! I think she lives next door!!!11

There are components of 3D printers that the PLA touches that may make it not safe for your pet to drink out of. I personally would be concerned about the long term effects it could have on a pet's health. I don't think it would be immediately harmful, but could in the long run cause health problems.

Hmm not sure about this. If I follow the path of the PLA through the hotend, it would in my case touch the following materials:
-> PLA (cold, guide) -> ABS (cold, extruder) -> Steel (cold, bearing, extruding wheel) -> ABS (cold, extruder) -> PTFE (cold to hot, liner) -> brass (hot, nozzle).
I don't think there is anything transfered to it while it is cold, except there is ABS-abrasion. The hot PTFE contact should be very comparable to your typical PTFE-coated frying pan. Also at the Temperatures below 250C PTFE is chemically stable. Afaik, brass is food safe?

Can you be more specific and elaborate what exactly you are concerned about?

the brass in the hot nozzle, contains 5% lead

And you get about 0.00001% from that nozzle in your print. Check your tap water for lead content.... And you drink that. You don't eat the plastic. PLA is NOT known in state of California to cause cancer...

All depends on the source & time of making. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass#Lead_contenthere (esp. the reference to keys - we seem to have survived that). Also note the extruder type affects this, many have PTFE down most of the tube, so only the small melt area is exposed.
Anyway we all gotta die of something...

also see my comment further below.

is it food safe PLA?

Is there a european supplier who guarantees food safety for his PLA? To my experience the suppliers are resellers who are unable to tell you the constitution according to the relevant DIN/ISO norms... I wouldn't really trust any "food-safe label" if they can't even recite the datasheet of the original manufacturer.

BUT, this was the only PLA that I have that has zero smell while printing (this is something I learned for children plastic toys: if it smells, it's probably not healthy). Also from the stiff feel to this filament and being the natural type it shouldn't have any flexibilizers in it, which eliminates another source of unhealthy constistutents.

The main point I'm still concerned of is the color, depending on what it used to color the filament it might be slightly poisonous. In my next batch there I will use natural PLA without coloring to eliminate this risk.

I dont think its the pla per say, from what I've read there are components that may contain traces of lead in the pla path of the extrusion as well as the unknown path from the supplier.. even trace lead contamination is poisonous. aside from that I appreciate the creativity

Do you know of any quantitative data about lead in typical filament after extrusion? Could you also post some of the links were you got your infos from?

In earlier days when we had lead pipes for water, the problem of lead poisoning would actually arise when the water sat for an extended period in the pipes and had the time to acquire higher concentrations of lead. (Faucets made from lead containing brass were actually made until the late 80s).

My guess would be, that due to the little contact time the filament and the brass actually have, there isn't much mass transfer taking place. So the concentration of lead in the final plastic product should be in the ppm range at max? The concentration of lead in the water will be even lower, probably by orders of magnitude? What is in the filament originally (flexibilizers, etc) is probably a lot worse.

I think the fact that the hot end reaches high temperatures would magnify the ppm problem.. on my list I plan to print something and have it tested for lead

Got results ?

havent got around to it yet (forgot about it actually).. thanks for reminding me, I'll make an inquiry to my connection

Any news on the issue?

LOL  like the block out cat.  reminds me of a Trailer Park Boys episode; they blurred the cat's identity :)

Secret Operative Ninja Cat ;)

I do value customer privacy!