Picture of How to Build an Archimedes Screw

We are Team Shark, a group of Product Design Engineering students and as part of our uni course we've been given the challenge to design and build a water pump.  The task is to design and manufacture a pump that could lift 5 litres of water up a height of 600mm in a time of 5 minutes or less.  We've decided to make an Archimedes Screw and here's how we're getting on. 

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Step 1: Materials/ Tools Needed

Wooden dowel (27mm Diameter)
1mm thick sheet steel
1.5m steel rod (19mm Outer Diameter)
1.25m plastic downpipe (65mm Inner Diameter)
Bracket for downpipe
Gearbox (We used one out of a cheap drill)
24V Motor

Wood lathe
Metal lathe
Band saw
Plasma cutter
Bench Grinder
Angle Grinder
Handheld drill
Gas Welder
CNC Machine
Bench Vice
Solidworks software

Step 2: Calculations

Before we could begin to manufacture the screw, we had to do calculations for the optimum angle of the screw to sit at and for the pitch of the blades.  For this we referred to 'The Turn of the Screw: Optimal Design of an Archimedes Screw' by Chris Rorres.
Our results gave us 40 blades with a pitch of 30mm and we kept our angle flexible at this stage.


Step 3: Making Templates

Picture of Making Templates

In order to make the screw more efficient, we wanted all of the blades to be of equal size and pitch.  To make the blades of equal size we simply cut a template out of wood by turning a cylinder of wood on a wood lathe, slicing it into discs then drilling through the centre.

For the pitch we created a template using a CNC machine.  We know that a lot of people don't have access to a CNC machine so the discs can also just be bent into shape during the welding process using a hammer.

thanks thanks thanks ....1000times...

you saved me
Dragonbone3 years ago
You could also seal the outside of the blade to the casing by using it as designed, to pump a small quantity of thick paint (or runny sealant) - this would presumably set wherever the liquid had been.
fozzy133 years ago
This is awesome! Good work; Archimedes Screws are interesting. You're lucky to have access to so many tools!
kleinjahr4 years ago
Very nice work,helps if you have all the right tools.
If building for actual use,rather than training purposes, you could use an old grain auger for the screw. Also works best if the angle of the pipe is kept between 5 - 15 degrees from horizontal,least amount of slippage.
Biggsy4 years ago
Thiss looks brilliant welldone!

High five for all of you

TeamShark (author)  Biggsy4 years ago
rimar20004 years ago
This is a very useful Instructable!
TeamShark (author)  rimar20004 years ago
Thank you :)
rickharris4 years ago
I am by no means belittling your excellent effort BUT you could have achieved the same result, in much less time, with much less equipment and at a much lower cost by wrapping a wide bore PVC tube round a central cylinder. Turning the cylinder cause water to flow up the PVC pipe.

Sorry about the video - suggest turn sound off.
TeamShark (author)  rickharris4 years ago
We actually ended up having to do this for the final event so that we had a pump that would run off of our motor, it was always our back up but we didn't try to do it in the beginning because we wanted to challenge ourselves with seeing if we could build the Archimedes Screw. The one you've posted works really well!! Ours worked okay, it managed to lift 5 litres up a height of 60cm in 4.5mins so it wasn't bad. Thanks for the comment!