DIY Bottle Filler?

I fill, cap and label my own small paints (craft/ceramic).  The bottles range (in volume) from 1/2oz - 8oz.  The most common, and the one I'm most concerned about speeding up, is the 1/2oz bottle size.

I currently use large ketchup/mustard bottles, which means I'm continually re-filling those bottles for any given batch I'm filling.

I've been trying to figure out how I could create my own DIY bottle-filler, as a commercially-available, bench-top filler is several thousand dollars.

What I've envisioned up to now is some sort of air-tight container to hold the paint with an air-compressor (at a very low pressure, but enough to push  the liquid through when gravity won't) connected at the top and a tube connected at the bottom.  At the other end of the tube (to be held by the user) would be a nozzle with a release valve of some sort.

Anyone have some more technical thoughts on how I might achieve this contraption?

sort by: active | newest | oldest

I think I also have an idea / project for putting caps on bottles using a $20.00 power drill and some plywood.

jchonparadise (author)  Ghostrider131 year ago
really... what's your thoughts?
You have to mount your corded drill in a way that holds it facing down.

Some plywood and a jigsaw and screws should be all you need to make it.

Next, take a ZipTie and tie the trigger so the drill stays on all the time. Set the speed of the drill at the slowest speed possible.

You can also set the speed by adjusting the ZipTie until the drill reaches the proper speed.

Now make the ARBOR CAP. It's made from a piece of foam rubber tubing epoxied into a bigger cap. The hole of the foam must be smaller than the caps you are using for your tubes or bottles. The rubber holds your cap.

How it works. You probably figured this out but in case someone else tries it, this will be for them.

Push your cap into the foam tubing then push your tube up until it screws onto the bottle or tube. It will take a little practice but loading the caps should get easier.  Hope this helps.

We just came up with something that will work for this. I'm about to build it but I can say that the info is solid enough that you can do the same. Check it out here.

jchonparadise (author)  Ghostrider131 year ago
Thanks - we never got around to making anything. What you're talking about doing is right in line with what we were thinking.

I'm on the fence about starting my own business or not. The plan concept should work. I was hoping you built one that worked.

fifa124 years ago
Good , thanks
BARKing4 years ago
How about a garden sprayer, 1-2 gallons, it has a pump to pressurize, a trigger to dispense, remove spray nozzle so it just flows.
you could replace trigger with a CO2 thumb tap from a home brew shop.
Jayefuu4 years ago
How many bottles do you fill at a time?
How thick is the paint?

You could put the paint in an airtight container with a tube in the bottom and pump air in the top with a bicycle pump. As you pump air in the air will displace the pain and the paint will be forced through the tube and into the bottles. You might be able to start with something as simple as piercing your original paint drums at the lid and installing a check valve in the lid.

OR if it's thin enough you might use a peristaltic pump with a switch connected. That would allow you to pump the paint into the bottles.
it's certainly thin enough for a peristaltic pump. get enough rollers on them and they won't even drip
jchonparadise (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
In my brief research of the peristaltic pump - it looks promising - but without getting my hands on one to see how it really works, I can't tell if it's worth the cost of getting one just to see...
Check on Ebay. What would be cunning is that, if you get the right kind of pump, the flexible pipe (cheap) could be left on the main containers, so you don't have a clean up, and you don't get cross-contamination.

The ones we use at work are around 150 bucks.
jchonparadise (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
How do you use them at work (for what purpose)?
I like this idea the best. The pressurised containers might be cheapest but just having a hose for each colour that you can slot into the peristaltic pump each time to pump seems like there would be less hassle. And you can use it with any bucket/container that you use for mixing. Plus you could do it with one person (foot switch to turn on pump, one hand for bottle and one hand for outlet) vs two for the pump (one person pumping, one person with bottle and nozzle.)
Jayefuu Jayefuu4 years ago
Also, does your stock paint come in large plastic bottles or paint tins?
jchonparadise (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
see #3 above
jchonparadise (author)  Jayefuu4 years ago
1. We fill anywhere from a couple dozen to a couple hundred at a time.
2. The majority of our paints are the thickness of... well, a little thinner than acrylic craft paint you'd find at a hobby store.
3. We mix our paints from pigments - so there are no original containers in play here.
4. You've hit on my primary thought for my solution - sealed container, air in the top (whether from a compressor or pump), tube out the bottom.
5. Not familiar with what a Check valve is or how it is used.
6. Really not familiar with what a peristaltic pump is - with or without a switch connected :)
Air compressor to air regulator to paint reservoir.

Now do you want the paint premeasured or free hand fill?
jchonparadise (author)  Josehf Murchison4 years ago
Pre measured would be ideal - but have planned on manually stopping flow for each bottle...
ANDY!4 years ago
Something gravity fed, like a water dispenser filled with paint perhaps? Maybe have a bunch of nozzles attached to one end to fill multiple bottles up at once?
How about the "catering size" condiment containers ?
jchonparadise (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
We've actually tried that - and the manual pumping of each jar combined with picking up and putting down each jar was just a time-killer...
rickharris4 years ago
At school we used to put PVA (white) glue into smaller plastic containers for the kids to use.

The PVA cam in a 5 gallon plastic jug.

We modified a jug lid to include the valve off a bicycle tube and a long stiff tube that reached to the bottom of the jug when the cap was on.

A bicycle pump attached to the inlet pressurised the jug forcing the glue up the pipe into the smaller container.

To avoid a mess you need a means of closing the outlet tube. a tap or a pipe clamp.
jchonparadise (author)  rickharris4 years ago
I've seen something similar to this in my searches - usually in relation to filling home brewed beer or wine. Wasn't sure how to incorporate it into my solution - but your illustration helps.

What do you feel the benefit would be with this design versus having a tube at the bottom?

And you're correct about the clamp or something at the fill end of the tube - I need suggestions here as well... something easy to hold/handle and won't drip as we move from one bottle to the next.
The longer tube goes with the lid so you can transfer from one parent bottle/can to the next.

If you raid your local home brew shop they will sell you the tube and a tap and even the long syphon tube to get to the bottom of the can all you need to find is the air inlet valve from a bike tire.

I used a tube or pipe clamp from the science department - available on Amazon.
A syringe ?
jchonparadise (author)  steveastrouk4 years ago
Considering the volume we're filling, I'm not sure a syringe is any faster than the condiment bottles we currently use.
jchonparadise (author) 4 years ago
I'll go up and make replies to each comment above, but I first wanted to say thanks to you and Instructables for the suggestion en whole - I've been Googling for solutions for months before I realized I could pose the question here!