Designing and 3D Printing a Starter Replacing Attachment

Had to change the starter of the fluorescent light in our stairway recently as it would no longer turn on. Unfortunately, due to the placement of the light over the stairs, it is almost 2 metres up and made it a pretty dicey proposition (even with a ladder).

Not wanting to end up on one of those “dumb ways to die” meme, this seemed liked a good chance to crank out a quick 3d design and print something which may help.

Thankfully, we had some lengths of standard PVC piping around so that should give us the length to reach the tall spot.

Measuring Up and Modelling Out

Taking a closer look at the fluorescent lamp starters, luckily they are pretty standard sized and have 2 very helpful notches which we can use to our advantage to twist them out. So whipping out the trusty ol’ calipers, it’s time to take some diameter and dimension measurements.


With those numbers, we jump into Fusion 360 to sketch out the various 2d elements of the design. The top section will be the working end which wraps around, notches and helps to twist the starter out. The bottom half is a simple fitting which will help it go on top of the PVC pipe.


Few extrusions, combines and fillets later for good measure – we get a pretty decent and functional looking piece.

Here’s the same design viewed through cross-section analysis for a clearer view.

3d Printing and Fitting


Next to bring it into meatspace by 3d printing it out – and in a little under and hour, we get this little buddy.

Test fitting the top section on the replacement starter we had on hand evidences the firm fit, and shows that the side walls of the piece should be tall enough to cup around the starter to hold it once it has been loosen from it housing.

The bottom part fits snuggly on the PVC pipe too, so only one thing left to be done – change the starter!

The Operation

Pipe goes up, pipe goes around, starter gets loose and comes out. Repeating the same process in reverse helps us get the new replacement starter in

And there we go – let there be light!


This was one of those neat situations where the ability to quickly 3d design and 3d print a custom part can really come in handy at times, and we’re pretty happy with what it had helped us do.

Hope this inspires some of you out there to think about what you can do with 3d to solve stuff in your life. As always, happy 3d designing and 3d printing y’all!

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