Introduction: How to Make a Siphon Wave Generator

Picture of How to Make a Siphon Wave Generator
Please Rate this Instructable and follow me if you like it. :)

I made this project with a person I met in a science internship at the Foundation For Diffusion of Scientific Knowledge. (Saad Ahmed)

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And you can follow their website at :

This design is similar to that of US patent 7355298. It's not for profit. I've changed almost half of the equipment used. And the design. 

A siphon refers to an inverted U-tube that allows liquid to flow uphill above the surface of the reservoir(a tank with the greater height of water) without the help of pumps, powered by the fall of the liquid as it flows down the tube under the pull of gravity, and is discharged at a level lower than the surface of the reservoir.

So in this Instructable, I'll be demonstrating the concepts behind Siphon Generation. And how to build your own Siphon Wave Generator at home using easily available hardware materials such as pipes. 

Waves are a powerful source of solar power. The sun heats the earth causing the air near the ground to heat and rise creating wind. The air over the sea is cooler and therefore falls. This change in wind, causes wind to blow from land to sea. When the wind blows over a body of water the energy of the wind is exchanged to the waves it creates. The power of the waves is concentrated solar power. The power created in the waves is both the movement of the waves and the lifting of the water to the crest of the waves. And therefore these waves can be used to generate huge amounts of energy. 

Wave power plants extract the energy from the waves and convert this energy into useful electric power.

The main advantages of extracting energy from waves are:
  1.  The energy is solar with no pollution.
  2. Wave power is renewable and is a source of power great enough to power the world. 
However, the problems encountered by wave power stations are:
  1. Most are costly to build in relation to the amount of electricity extracted.
  2. Most generating devices are complex with numerous moving parts that experience great wear due to the salt and sand in the ocean often causing the cost of repair to exceed the value of the electricity extracted.
  3. Storms often destroy entire wave generating stations. 

Step 1: Siphon Generation: the Concept

Picture of Siphon Generation: the Concept
There are 3 main Physics Principles behind Siphon Generation:
  • Hydro Static Pressure
  • Atmospheric Pressure
  • Pull of Gravity
A siphon works because gravity pulling down on the taller column of liquid causes reduced pressure at the top of the siphon (formally, hydrostatic pressure). This reduced pressure means gravity pulling down on the shorter column of liquid is not sufficient to keep the liquid stationary so it flows from the upper reservoir, up and over the top of the siphon.

When the crest of a wave is at the first vertical intake pipe the water level will be higher at that pipe than any other vertical intake pipe, thus the water will start flowing up the first vertical pipe at the crest of the wave. The one way valves in the other intake pipes would prevent the water from flowing out thus forcing the water to flow through the horizontal generating pipe turning the prop and generator, thus producing electricity. The water would then flow down any of the exhaust pipes in which the water height outside the exhaust pipe is below the height of the water outside the first intake pipe due to the siphon effect.

When the crest of the wave moves to the second intake pipe the water level is higher at the this pipe than any other intake pipe causing the water to flow up this pipe through the horizontal pipe turning the generator in the same direction, generating electricity and flowing down the exhaust pipe closest to the trough of the wave due to the siphon effect.

The valves in the intake and exhaust pipes would jointly cause the water to flow in only one direction through the horizontal pipe, from the intake side to the exhaust side. This would cause the generator to turn in only one direction.

After you pour a little water into each bucket you then get the air out of the tubing priming the system. Then, when you pour more water into one bucket it'll siphon over to the other bucket, spinning the turbine, until the levels equalize. Then you've got to pour more water into one bucket to get the siphon action started again. Once both buckets are filled up you've got to get rid of enough water to make more room in the buckets.

Step 2: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed
To build a Siphon Wave Generator you will need the following materials:-
  • 12 ft of 11/4" Pipe
  • 3 ft of 3/4" Pipe
  • 4, 3/4 " Check Valves
  • 4, 11/4" Elbow Fittings
  • 4, 11/4" Extended-T Fittings
  • 4, 11/4"  to 3/4" Reducers
  • 8, 3/4" Screw Pipe Fittings
  • Silicon
  • Grease
  • Breadboard
  • Pipe Glue
  • Motor
  • A Small Fan
  • Multi-meter
Tools Needed:-
  • Soldering Iron Or Drill Bit
  • Pipe Cutter
  • Suction Pump (Optional)

Step 3: Cutting the Pipes

Picture of Cutting the Pipes
Cut the 12ft pipe using the following dimensions.
  • 4, 10 Inch Pipes
  • 4, 6 Inch Pipes
  • 2, 4 Inch Pipes
Now cut the 3ft pipe using the following dimensions.
  • 8, 4 Inch Pipes

Step 4: Gluing Step 1

Picture of Gluing Step 1

Use the PVC pipe glue to glue the elbow fitting to a 10 inch pipe from one end and a 6 inch pipe from the other end. Do this for every elbow fitting you have. (That's 4 times)

Step 5: Gluing Step 2

Picture of Gluing Step 2

Glue the longer 10 inch side of the newly created pipe to an Extended-T fitting. Glue another pipe to the other side of the Extended-T fitting ensuring that the 'T' part of the fitting is completely perpendicular. 

Do this twice.

Step 6: Gluing Step 3

Picture of Gluing Step 3

Use the newly created two pipes and glue the 4 inch pipe to each left out T-fitting. And a join a Extended-T Fitting to each side. Leaving the top left open as shown. 

Step 7: Drilling Holes

Picture of Drilling Holes

Take 4 of the 8 4 inch (3/4") pipes and drill holes at the bottom of each pipe as shown. You can also use a soldering iron as an alternative to create the holes in the PVC pipes. These pipes can act as water inlets and outlets at the bottom of the Siphon Wave Generator.

Step 8: Screw in Valve

Picture of Screw in Valve

Use the screw in valves, and glue all the 8 3/4" pipes into the screw in valve as shown. 

Step 9: Assembling the Legs

Picture of Assembling the Legs

Assemble the legs using the pictures as a guide. It's pretty easy. 

You need a total of 4 legs. With two legs showing the check valve arrow in the downward direction and two in the upward direction. 

Step 10: Assembling the Final Unit

Picture of Assembling the Final Unit

Join one Leg to each 6 Inch pipe as shown. On each side, there should be two similar check valve legs placed. For example downward on both ends of one side and upward on both ends of the other side. So that if water goes up from one side, it can't go out from the adjacent side but will have to take a different route to reach the opposite side instead. 

Step 11: The Motor

Picture of The Motor

The motor needs to be one that spins freely. We can waterproof the motor using Silicon and/or Grease so that it minimizes friction to a very small amount. Super Glue the fan onto the motor as shown. 

Place the motor into the hole we left uncovered in the beginning. Super glue it inside in such a way that the fan can spin freely. 

Connect the leads of a multi meter to the nodes of the waterproof motor inside and seal the end, allowing only the leads to stick out. (I didn't do that properly here).

Step 12: You're Ready!

Picture of You're Ready!

Your Siphon Wave Generator is ready. All you need to do now is, full the unit with water will it's full. We need to also ensure that we remove all the air from inside the unit to create a vacuum. A valve can be further installed that sucks all the air out of the unit. And then place it in a swimming pool and watch the magic. 

All the air must be removed from the pipe by any means including but not limited to: flipping the unit upside down, opening a service valve in the top pipe and lowering the unit completely under water until all the air is removed then closing the service valve and raising the unit, or preferably by using a service valve located at the top of the unit that can be attached to a pump to pump all the air out of the unit thus filling the unit completely with water.


eaglepandey (author)2013-08-25

it is cool

eaglepandey (author)2013-08-25

it is cool

oldmobie (author)2013-06-21

A vertical, elevated opening at the top, like the one that houses the generator would allow "priming" just by pouring in enough water to fill the legs. Something like a drain trap on the outlet side could be used to prevent outflow until after the horizontal portion has been filled to a certain level.

Ankan Nayak (author)2012-12-28

Can this work in a bigger size?

Yes, I suppose it can work. But there are always more factors to consider when experimenting on a larger scale.

deeppu (author)2012-10-30

can you upload a video it ?

Lajuj (author)2012-09-27

wow may god bless u ameen ameen

howtowithmanish (author)Lajuj2012-09-28

Thank You :)

Urnammu (author)2012-09-18

A suggestion for improvement of your design. A propeller is designed to convert the linear motion of the fluid into rotational motion if the fluid meets the propeller face-on, not sideways as you mounted it into the pipe. You could make a Savonius blade (picture) or maybe mount small cups (halved small hollow balls) like an anemometer has.

Urnammu (author)2012-09-17

Maybe this description will make it clearer: The valves should be arranged in such a way that one of the uprights of the H structure (top view) will form the inlet from both containers and the other upright of the H structure will be the outlet - see picture This will cause the water to always flow in the same direction through the horizontal section of the H.

howtowithmanish (author)Urnammu2012-09-17

Haha yeah I guess pictures can help explain something much better than what words can. Thank you. :) Please follow me if you liked this Instructable and rate it as well.

grt57 (author)2012-08-12

Brilliant and well documented post! Keep on Keepin' on!

BTW there seems to be much adu about patent law going on here instead of the proper attention to your work... to this I say, (and I'm sure I'll get spammed for it, although if you pay attention to what I'm about to quote, you'll realized I don't care and please restrain yourselves).

“I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.”
― Robert A. Heinlein


howtowithmanish (author)grt572012-08-12

Thank You Gill. I appreciate it. (Y) Follow me and rate this Instructable please.

Leftie (author)2012-08-09

Just wanted to let you know that this design apparently is protected by US patent 7355298, and may not be the best thing to put on Instructables. Check this 4 year old Youtube video:

spai (author)Leftie2012-08-11

US Patents only apply in the US. That is why inventions are filed in multiple countries when they are filed. Once made public as part of the filing process, it is in the public domain in all other countries; it becomes prior art. So as long as the invention is not manufactured or sold in a country where it is patented, there is no infringement. Seeing as this is in Pakistan, US patents don't apply.

DeusXMachina (author)Leftie2012-08-09

There is absolutely nothing stopping the author from posting a how-to on a patented invention, or building one. He can post it in the public domain because the IP in the patent already IS in the public domain (You have free access to the patent, a patent filing is a public declaration).

Practically speaking, he could probably even make and sell these to a few individuals as long as the profit is minimal or not for profit. Patents, like laws, are passive documents. They don't actually do anything by themselves, they have to be enforced. Unlike laws, which have a public agent (police and justice) to enforce them, patent enforcement is up to the IP holder. For individual hobbyists, it's just not remotely financially beneficial to go after them legally.

If one were to actually try to turn a decent profit off of selling them, then one would be looking at trouble.

Wazzupdoc (author)DeusXMachina2012-08-09

Not only that, if there is an improvement, THAT can be patented. Or not, by choice, and can make as many as he wants .Love practical ingenuity!

DeusXMachina (author)Wazzupdoc2012-08-10

Well, one has to be careful, because if you were to post an innovation or invention or improvement on Instructables, and then went to try to patent it, the patent office would reject it, because you already publicly declared it. That's why you have to be really tight-lipped about inventions still in progress, even if they are "patent pending."

Wazzupdoc (author)DeusXMachina2012-08-11

You are correct. What I like about Instructables is the Open system of sharing what you know without the promise of royalties and profits. Attribution is always a good idea,no matter what.

lperkins (author)Leftie2012-08-09

US patent law allows for limited creation of patented items for experimentation purposes. If you do not try to sell them, and you don't make more than seven, you shouldn't run into any trouble.

This has, of course, caused issues in chemistry research since the courts have decided that the numerical limit on quantity produced applies per-molecule if you're synthesizing patented chemicals... So be careful in that area.

Kinnishian (author)Leftie2012-08-09

I'm not so sure that you are correct. If he was making profit off of it, yes. But it's just public display of public information. If he actually used that patent it would be kosher to admit so much.

Kinnishian (author)Kinnishian2012-08-09

I see no way to edit my comment, but it looks like Chrism74's comment is bumped above mine. I was saying I don't believe leftie is correct. He's not RIGHTIE...sorry, that's tangential.

You're right it is. I think I should refer to their link. Thanks

chrism74 (author)Leftie2012-08-09

Interestingly, in the video it states that the invention is in the public domain outside the US. So this clever and enterprising man in Pakistan appears to be in the clear. Putting aside debates about physical locations of information on the internet; about 5% of the world population needs to consider intellectual property when replicating what is presented in this video.

chamunks (author)2012-08-10

Creativity and innovation itself is like water it will always flow down the path of least resistance if places like the united states need to wall themselves in under a pile of stinky smelly piles of legal bs armor than so be it. Other smarter countries will easily overtake the planet as the successor of the world and the USA can sit there with their silly lawyers wondering wtf happened.

gaiatechnician (author)2012-08-09

Note that in England researchers used a bank of syphons in a river at a small dam to work a turbine in a similar way. Each syphon bled in air at a controlled rate at the top of the syphon and the air came in through a turbine.
I used a similar thing to the English researchers in around 1990 in a stream in Ireland to generate suction.
I very much doubt that the patent has merit. Many wave power systems have been tried off the coast of Scotland since the 70's. You are very likely to find something far more advanced there if anyone from the US patents office bothers to look.

The US is a trigger happy at granting patents in the hope that the USA can then claim ALL innovation.
And see how it stifles SCHOOLKIDS half way across the world!?
Is that a good thing?

For instance, immigrants from eastern Europe got US patents on mechanical processing of natural rubber (from plants other than trees). But wait a minute, isn't Russia the world leader in processing natural rubber (from plants with milky fluid)? So. perhaps in their infinite wisdom, the us patent office could check with the Russian patent office before stifling the ENTIRE natural rubber production capability of the dry sections of the USA. Because just maybe the Russians have patented the idea years ago and the patents may have RUN OUT. Meaning a guy with a machine shop could make machines to process the plant material.

Let the kid in Pakistan do his work, lots of good can come of it.
Patents are doing immense damage to creativity. We should replace them with something that works and allows sharing of information without fear that someone will "steal" your idea.

I guess something like the "Creative Commons" copyright thing would do wonders !

brewgoat (author)sahilverma2012-08-10

There is a "fair and reasonable use" clause.

Nothing prevents people from posting articles like this young mans. If anywhere that would fall under copyright but his alteration and disclosure of where he got the idea from clearly covers that. is one of the patents that kill off potential industry in the Grand old USA. Question? How much natural rubber does the USA produce? Enough to make a pair of rubber boots? Buranov could be a great guy but why cede the ENTIRE potential for growing natural rubber in the entire USA to him? He doesn't even live in the USA! (He is here in Canada). You know if Buranov was a spy, Putin would be giving him a medal right now. But he isn't a spy and he isn't the problem, he is just some guy with a bit of paper who is hoping to corner an industry! The US patent office put him in that position. The problem is that EVERY other potential mover in the "Russian dandelion" rubber scene is going to stop dead in their tracks now that Buranov has this patent. Thats everything from plant breeders to machine makers to potential buyers. It is a huge own goal for America and the US Patent Office scored it.

From inventor Anvar U. Buranov
". The process of claim 1, wherein said rubber-bearing plant material is selected from the group consisting of Russian dandelions, Guayule shrub, and mixtures thereof.

10. The process of claim 9, wherein said Russian dandelions are selected from the group consisting of Taraxacum kok-saghyz, Taraxacum krim-saghyz, Scorzonera tau-saghyz, Scorzonera Uzbekistanica, Scorzonera taka-saghyz, and mixtures thereof."

brewgoat (author)gaiatechnician2012-08-10

why would the US PO called the Russian PO on every patent application made. US patents are only enforceable in the US, not Russia or the UK for that matter. The UK IPO does not call the US patent office for every application it receives. In fact both the US and UK publish the patents for review within 180 days. Russia does not. Most countries search the databases that are published for existing patents that are in force, not expired. This can happen for many reasons, like not paying fees.

I will not disagree with your assessment of the US PO issuing frivolous patents but this is not unique to the US. The US may do more of it, but to be honest there is some evidence that this began in Europe in the 1800's, the US, as with most things, took it to the next level, unfortunately dropping Thomas Jefferson's strict patent laws in 1836 in part to compete with Europe.

The US received nearly 7 million patents requests with 54% issued. 3.5 million patenets does seem to be a bit excessive but consideration should be given to the fact most companies file only in the US to limit the patent fees associated with filling in all countries.

gaiatechnician (author)brewgoat2012-08-10

7 million requests with a 54% success rate is crazy excessive. Why not review the patents really well and have a 10 % or even a 1% success rate.
And the US patent office SHOULD contact the russian patents office and they should consider something called prior art. If it has been done before, and published (anywhere in the world) it is prior art. and prior art cannot be patented.
The situation is beyond stupid at this stage.
Why should someone be allowed to patent something that has been done in another country for over 50 years? It helps only one person and holds back everybody else.

brewgoat (author)gaiatechnician2012-08-10

I understand your point but the reality is that no country does this. To expect the US PO to do this while no other country does is not realistic.

Your point about stifling innovation is well taken but what would happen to all the US based inventors if suddenly getting a patent takes 10 or 15 years instead of the 1 to 2 years it takes now. This may sound exaggerated but think how much work it would take to call all the countries around the world, ask them to search their patent system (many are not computerized) and let the US PO know the results. I doubt they would even do the search because of the trouble and time it would take.

In the US, utility and plant patents last 20 years (an obvious prize given big agricultural business for their campaign donations) Design patents last 14 years. After that they move into the public domain.

One huge problem right now with patents is patent trolls like Apple, Microsoft and Google. They purchase patents then use their money to register the patents in every country in the world and prohibit anyone from using the idea. In effect they have used their money to put in place the very systems you are advocating.

There is a simple solution. Advocate for all UN member countries to join the World Intellectual Property Organization. All patents are registered through them and there could be one set of rules for patents worldwide. Put rules in place that prevent people from sitting on patents and not doing anything with them. If a utility patent goes unused a petition can be made to WIPO to move it into the public domain for the benefit of everyone.

Thank you Sir for all that information. I appreciate it. And I'm just trying to change what everyone thinks about our country. Pakistan is in fact full of talented individuals. Like I love scene and building. One of my friends just became the world's best debater, after winning an International competition in Mexico.

We're all just trying to create a brighter future for our country.

Please Follow me and rate this Instructable if you liked it. Thanks. :)


HandySun (author)2012-08-10

Thank you for this, I will now use this to help me make my drugs in which I sell, more automated. Really, thanks for this! Now I don't have to spend that extra 5 minutes a day!

kbeharee (author)2012-08-10

Nice post but complicated description

joen (author)2012-08-09

How much power do you get from it? Can you get any useful electricity from it?

howtowithmanish (author)joen2012-08-09

Mine only got enough power, to power an LED. But if the system is placed in an ocean, it will be able to generate a lot of useful electricity.

Ace Frahm (author)2012-08-09

Your text description of the theory of operation is too confusing. You should draw a diagram to explain it.

After you pour a little water into each bucket you then get the air out of the tubing priming the system. Then, when you pour more water into one bucket it'll siphon over to the other bucket, spinning the turbine, until the levels equalize. Then you've got to pour more water into one bucket to get the siphon action started again. Once both buckets are filled up you've got to get rid of enough water to make more room in the buckets.

lford4 (author)2012-08-09

Nice project.

howtowithmanish (author)lford42012-08-09

Thank you. Follow me if you liked this Instructable :)

Wazzupdoc (author)2012-08-09

Nice job! Put it to work and attach a video. That would be sweet. Keep up the good work.

Thank You. I'll try to have a video up soon. Follow me if you liked this Instructable.

medicman (author)2012-08-09

Seems to be much the same as a ram pump.

allen (author)2012-08-09

That's pretty slick - a "bridge rectifier" for water.

Now that I understand the thing I can see how it'll work sitting on a table.

After you pour a little water into each bucket you then get the air out of the tubing priming the system. Then, when you pour more water into one bucket it'll siphon over to the other bucket, spinning the turbine, until the levels equalize. Then you've got to pour more water into one bucket to get the siphon action started again. Once both buckets are filled up you've got to get rid of enough water to make more room in the buckets.

The check valves are the "diodes" which change the "alternating current" of a wave into the "direct current" going through the turbine.

Here's a thought, Manish - why don't you put both buckets on a pivoting platform like a seesaw (

When the water levels equalize and the siphoning action stops you just tilt the whole apparatus and the siphoning action will start again going until the water levels equalize, again. Then you just tilt the other way.

Having a water container big enough for waves big enough to activate the generator is impractical but by tilting the assembly back and forth people will see it working continuously being activated by "waves".

howtowithmanish (author)allen2012-08-09

Allen, you impress me. I don't have words for your description. In fact I would like to your permission to use your comparison in the Instructable as well?

allen (author)howtowithmanish2012-08-09

Now you're going to make me blush... :-)

By all means Manish. If you think my explanation is helpful then feel free use/modify it.

mak khan (author)2012-08-09

Its a good design for your basic level........I appreciate you.

howtowithmanish (author)mak khan2012-08-09

Thank you. Follow me if you liked this Instructable :)

Marinus84 (author)2012-08-09

Maybe I've overlooked some explanations, but how does this machine work? What is the black block on top of the pipes? And how do you start it?

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an A-Levels Student at Karachi Grammar School, Pakistan. My passion is physics and mechanics and I want to be a Mechanical Engineer in ... More »
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