Picture of Easy Hydraulic Machines

In this Instructable, I'll to show you how to build many projects that use a simple hydraulic system that kids in elementary school can build. Each step will show you one of four machines that use the same basic mechanism.

These are the essential materials, but you could of course add to this list.
Craft sticks, craft cubes, cubes with holes, skewers (less than 1/8" diameter), 10ml luer slip plastic syringes, 1/8" vinyl tubing, cable ties, tape, and hot glue.

First thing's first: How to make a hydraulic system

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Step 1: Simplest machine

The video gives you an overview of the simplest hydraulic machine - the photos tell you how to build it! I've had kids as young as 1st grade build this project.

Step 2: Hydraulic box

Picture of Hydraulic box

The hydraulic box is more challenging to build.

Step 3: Hydraulic drawbridge

The hydraulic bridge project was originally conceived by a student named Daniel H.D. Thanks Daniel!

Step 4: Hydraulic fortune teller

The hydraulic fortune teller uses the same mechanics as the Judobot to achieve 3-dimensional movement, however this project is easier to build because it doesn't need to be thoroughly designed to battle. I like the idea of a fortune teller, but the face can be replaced with other things to create a variety of projects: a catapult arm, a serving basket, cannon.... be creative!

Difficulty: 5/5
Prep work: 4/5
Setup: 2/5
Cleanup: 2/5

RuthL38 days ago


I'm hoping to do this project, but I was hoping you could provide some specifications about the syringes and vinyl tubing. I see you used 10mL syringes, but what kind of tip do they have? And what size tubing did you use? The links provided aren't taking me to the right source. I want to be sure they'll fit together correctly.

Looks like an awesome project! Thanks for your help!

WYE_Lance (author)  RuthL36 days ago

Hi, thanks for letting me know about the broken link. I fixed the materials link. You should get 10ml luer slip plastic syringes without needles, and 1/8" vinyl tubing. Have fun, and please post some pictures if you make any of these hydraulic machines!

kenzier5 months ago

when i made i made it, i kind of broke it!!! like that:


JasmineC5 kenzier2 months ago

Stop Being Smart

And you already said that
asingh1152 years ago
it's amazing & helpful for my science project!!!!!!!!!!!
kenzier asingh1155 months ago

nice to know

Very cool! This will be great for my students. :)

students or "KIDS"?

kenzier5 months ago

when i made i made it, i kind of broke it!!! like that:


kenzier5 months ago

good enough

jv.32boncalos7 months ago
hyperthermicr made it!1 year ago

very helpful will do in my science project

ozzypigg1 year ago

were do u get syringes?

can anybody tell me what are those cubes made off in the first thing?

Those are just small wooden blocks. You can pick them up at any regular craft store.
Those are just small wooden blocks. You can pick them up at any regular craft store.
mohesh1 year ago
very nice and easy projects
british-ace2 years ago
I will make this! 8==D
u have any more videos
nice dude be nice
race19012 years ago
ultimate defender of my room from little bros
race19012 years ago
you should mount one of those cork shooters you make on this thing!!! 8D its so cool
al 012 years ago
cool and this is easy
british-ace2 years ago
Cool I will use one for a project! :)
Wareneutron2 years ago
very nice projects!
These are great! Love the videos. :D