Introduction: 3d Printed Bell Siphon
Youtube Channel: GetWiredDaily
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Shapeways (order 3d printed items): ShapeWays
The idea behind this project came simply from the weather from my home state, Florida. As I was reading through a novel thinking about how to enter the contest on Automation here on Instructables I was struck with the idea. I’m sure the storm outside pouring down rain was another major influence on the general topic. I knew that I wanted to do something with siphons, but the goal of the project had to be an automatic system. This led me to google where I tried to find the varying types of siphons that have been made and discovered something called a “Bell Siphon.” A bell siphon is a type of siphon that is typically used in hydroponic systems that is used to automate water levels in grow beds and cycle O2 in the soil. Of course the application of the bell siphon is not limited to these applications, but can be used in many other types of activities such as automate fluid transport and cycling.
I have included nearly all the steps that I have done to reach the final stage in the production of a fully functional bell siphon. Feel free to download the bell siphon here or here for the .obj files for use on a 3d printer. Feel free to modify or change the files as needed to suit your own needs, but make sure to post the results! Thanks for read/ watching the video hope you enjoyed!
Step 1: Designed in the Mind
Design, Most likely the biggest step in the process while also being the easiest. Currently, I offer the design that I made through several mediums such as Thingiverse and Shapeways so that you can print the device yourself. If you choose to make your own model I recommend that you search various types of the bell siphon or simply copy the design that I have. I believe that I explain it thoroughly enough on the video for a proper reconstruction. The model that I use is rather simplistic in terms of bell siphons but works nonetheless. Further additions to this model can be done such as adding a rock/gravel guard depending on the situation. As it stands the model should work fine in most situations while being fully automated. I would also like to point out that I do not know how long the siphon will operate and may truly be dependent on circumstances such as algae build up.
The bell siphon has five main sections; siphon pipe, drain pipe, snorkel, cap, and the pipe stand. I have integrated all of these parts into a single object allowing the printer to make water tight seal. This is extremely important as any leaks in the print will cause the siphon to not function.
As it stands the siphon can be as large as you want given that the printer can accommodate the size. I have not personally tried a multipart print, but I would assume that this would cause an issue given the need for a perfect seal on each part. I recommend that if a part needs to be long then they simply stretch the model to their maximum print capacity. If the siphon needs to drain faster than simply print more than one siphon so they work in conjunction. If a multi siphon system is made it is important that all siphons are equally leveled so that the vacuum process starts simultaneously on each siphon.
Step 2: Print That Bad Boy
Skip this step if you don't have access to a printer or you just wanna see the final step either is cool :D
The picture is the inside section of the Cap/SiphonStand with the (broken)snorkel attached on the side.
I use a lulzbot printer with a 0.5mm Nozzle with PLA+ filament from eSun. Settings for printer are as follows:
Speed setting: Fast
Adhesive to print bed:Purple Glue
Step 3: Test Your Dreams
The moment of truth has finally come but you can feel your gut sinking thinking, "Did I just waste 4+ hours printing on a siphon that has a chance to not work, based solely on some stranger on the internet?" The answer to that is yes, yes you did...But the siphon should work! At least I hope it does :D...If the siphon works then congratulations! If not then thank you for calling ComCast customer service how may service you today?
- Siphon doesn't work:
Take siphon and blow through the drain outlet. Does air hit you in the face? Good that means its working that way. Put the siphon in a cup of water so that the snorkel is submerged, but the Bell isn't under water. Blow into the outlet drain again and look for bubbles popping up around the cylinder. If there are bubbles then you have a hole somewhere. The snorkel will be the only area with bubbles coming out. if this is the case I recommend reprinting the snorkel or gluing the holes closed.
- Siphon doesn't drain all the way:
Attach a hose or extension to the bottom of the drain pipe.
- Siphon doesn't stop at snorkel:
The snorkel is clogged... clean it...Or print a new one!
- This wasn't funny at all:
Neither is Comcast customer service...So...