How To Make A PVC Water / Air / Vacuum Pump!

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Picture of How To Make A PVC Water / Air / Vacuum Pump!
In this project you'll learn how to make a customizable PVC hand pump that will create vacuum suction, pump water, or compress air. 

A pre-requisite to making the pump will be 2 homemade check valves.  You can learn how to make these cheap PVC check valves here!

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Step 1: Watch the Video!

WARNING: Power tools, like a table saw, pose risks of serious injury.  Adequate training and experience are required before operating.  The results and claims of this pump are based solely on my personal experiences with the one demonstrated in the video.  Individual results may vary.  The pump is a simple design and not made, or claimed, to be used in any heavy duty operations, or relatively high pressures.  Use of this content is at your own risk.

Step 2: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need
Whether you're using vacuum power, moving water, or compressing air, chances are you're using some type of a pump.

I thought it might be good to build a simple pump, mainly for learning purposes, and I wanted to do it with low cost materials.

I've wanted to build a PVC water pump for awhile, but the check valves were around $10.00 each.  That seemed a little steep for a PVC build, so I made my own, which you can see in a different project. 

I was inspired on the pump piston and chamber by a picture I saw on a google image search by someone who used the 1-1/4" and 1" sizes of tubes, and he mentioned he cut the grooves for the O-rings on a table saw.  That was a new idea to me and gave me the inspiration to put this together.

The materials I used are outlined in detail in the picture.
jamob6 months ago
PVC isn't safe for drinking water is it?
hazmat456 jamob1 month ago

yes it is safe as long as it is clean, the pvc used in this project are auctually plumbing pipes used in most homes.

jamob, I think it is, I have seen pvc pipe that says drinking water on it
Like with stainless steel, there are different grades with PVC. Some are safe for food or drinking water. Some are not so safe. And some leave an unpleasant taste.
marcinose3 months ago
This looks great. What is the maximum PSI that can be attained?
Cormaxzyz4 months ago
I had the same basic idea! (link)
TEMPEST128 months ago
Does anyone have an Idea on what depth this would be able to draw water from, or how high it would be able to push the water?
In theory, unlimited depth, it depends on your physical strength and how strong the materials are so they would not explode. Lets say your well is 30 meters deep. You will be lifting 15 Kilograms (15 liters) of water per cycle to get only 1 liter in the bucket. But thanks to leverages you can reduce effort. If you use a 1 meter long lever and place the fulcrum at 20 cm from the piston you will be lifting only 3 Kilograms per cycle to get 1 liter in the bucket. (Pardon my English but hope this helps)
antioch6 months ago
What are the three things in the first 3 pics of Step 2?
First one seems to be a vacuum cleaner, but the 2nd one with the water in it and the third one (a compressor, maybe?) are beyond me to figure out.
Spenceravery6 months ago
I don't know what a #219 o-ring is in dimensions, the hardware store I went to, it was in inches, help
Spenceravery6 months ago
Whoops, meant jamob, sorry
Spenceravery6 months ago
Jambob, I think it is, I have seen pvc pipe that says drinking water on it,
poofrabbit7 months ago
Hey congratulations on being a finalist in the weekend projects contest!
osunderdog7 months ago
After collecting the parts, I put this together in about an hour. Digging the trenches for the o - rings took some time. I used a Demel since I don't have a table saw.

The cap under the pump handle is an important safety component. Without it you might pinch your palm hard enough to raise a blood blister during those first few enthusiastic moments when you realize that it's working as designed. :p

I couldn't find the o-rings specified but I was able find a 10 pack of #17 o-rings at a big home improvement store that would do the job.

I can't find 1" balls anywhere... I'm thinking that I'll use medicine bottles or lids to make the check valves. If I get it to work I'll post a few pictures.

Wonderful Instructable. Great Idea.
Cesar078 months ago
great instructable!

Just an FYI, petroleum jelly will cause Orings to swell and is much better to use a Silicone based grease for lubricating orings.
I was wondering about that too. Thanks for pointing it out.
bluetang8 months ago
Awesome!! very good project thank you
Jayefuu8 months ago
I love that you take the time to publish these on Instructables as well as Youtube. I like watching the video for the general idea, then the Instructables instructions for getting more detail. Thanks!
Alderin8 months ago
Great pump! I love the one-way valves you made. Especially the rubber-ball version, very creative use of a toy, elegant and simple design. Bravo!
DustySeven78 months ago
Vacume cleaners do not actualy use a vacume. They use high speed motors to creat suction by way of high air flow
trouble018 months ago
marhar8 months ago
Sweet! I like the method for making the piston rings. And about half-way through, I was thinking, hmm, this sure seems like a good use for his one-way valves!
billbillt8 months ago
floppyjoe8 months ago
Like your work, very professional, just the kind of stuff I like to mess about with.
Gelfling68 months ago
This just added some insight to a couple of ideas I've had (a all-PVC potato cannon, and a back-pack steam-punk style super-soaker based on fire service indian pumps).

An alternative idea for the check valves, a disk of plastic between pipe and joints, with a piece of inner-tube screwed to the center.
comebackin8 months ago
I love all your projects. If someone doesn't have access to a table saw, maybe a manual pipe cutter would work for cutting the grooves for the O-rings.
4equal8 months ago
awesome project hope i can find all the pieces i need
rimar20008 months ago
Very interesting design, this is an useful contraption.
Samuel kos8 months ago
That is awesome but I would use flexible hose instead of the rigid PVC for extension so you have more options
Nicapizza8 months ago
Cool! Do you know what the max psi rating would be?
sgfidlin8 months ago
That is awesome!

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