Introduction: How to Make a Time Fountain
This site will teach you how to make a time fountain that makes water defy the laws of time and gravity.
Step 1: What You'll Need
For this project you will need lots of parts. The majority of the parts I used can be swapped out for something else but for the sake of this website I will only be telling you about the parts I used.
You will need:
- 1 PVC Tube
- 2 PVC end caps
- 1 small 12v water pump
- Several feet of flexible tubing that will fit on your water pump
- Rain bird Drip Irrigation Spot Watering Drippers
- 2 Cable Clamps
- An Arduino Board
- USB Cable
- Lots of electrical wire. 2 colors will make it easier to wire.
- Solder-less Breadboard
- 25 or more ultraviolet bulbs
- Soldering iron and electrical solder
- Wire Strippers
Things that will be helpful:
- Needle nose pliers
- Drill with varying drill bits
- PVC Cement
- 2 large clamps
- 1 small clamp
Step 2: Constructing the Housing
- Mark of the section of the PVC you would like to cut away for the viewing window. I chose to cut away about a fourth of the tube so that the curve of the tube would partially hide the bulbs from view. (Cutting the PVC is difficult because power tools will tend to melt the plastic as it cuts it. In order to cut the tube without it resealing I used a Dremel tool because the high velocity of its spin pulled the melted plastic out and didn't allow it to reseal the cut.)
- Put one end cap on and mark where you will drill the holes for the wire from your pump and for the tube to come out of the PVC on one side and go back into the PVC on the other side. Make sure you drill the holes for the tubing high enough on the PVC so that the tubing won't crimp when you feed it through the PVC.
- Drill a hole in the top of one of the end caps for the dripper to rest in. Then, put two cable clamps on your tubing and screw the clamps through the end cap on either side of the hole you drilled for the dripper.
- Mark a line about an inch away from your viewing window on each side of the tube. Then, mark off points on that line to drill holes for your lights. Make sure the holes are evenly spread apart and go down the entire PVC tube.
Step 3: Wiring the Strobe Lights
- Put your strobe lights through the holes in your tube with the wires coming out of the tube. Each strobe light will have a long wire and a shorter wire. Position the lights so that the longer wire is facing up.
- Next, you will want to take your electrical wire and mark off where your lights will be soldered onto the wire.
- Use wire strippers to cut away the sections of plastic on the wire where you made your marks.
- Use needle nose pliers to make a small hook at the end of the long wire on all of your strobe lights.
- Take your electrical wire and and rest it on the hooks where you have stripped the wire.
- Take your pliers and close the hooks around your electrical wires.
- Take your soldering iron and melt the electrical solder onto the connection points to attach the lights to the wire.
- Repeat these steps for the short wire of the lights and then for the lights on the other side of the tube.
Step 4: Putting Together the Water System
The water system is the simplest part of this project
- Run your tubing through the holes you drilled on either side of the PCV
- Screw the tube down on the end cap where you drilled the hole for the dripper
- Take the dripper and puncture the tubing through the hole you drilled in the end cap. You may need to use a knife or nail to make a small hole before you can push the dripper into the tubing.
- Attach the end of the tubing to your pump and secure that to the bottom end cap using Velcro Command Strips or suction cups.
- Run the wire from the pump through the hole you drilled in the PVC.
I used ultraviolet lights in my fountain to make the water more visible. In order to make the water glow I took a highlighter and broke it open. I squeezed the ink out of the marker and mixed that in with the water in the fountain to make it glow in the florescent lights.
Step 5: The Arduino Board
The Arduino Board is what will control the strobe rate of the lights. To understand how the Arduino Board works, read this http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/arduino-technology-ex...
Once you have learned about the Arduino Board you will need to make an account on Arduino's website so that you can write the code that will control the strobe rate. I used this website to help me write the code http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=81592.0. and www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Potentiometer
You will need to solder wires to the three prongs of the potentiometer so that you can use it with the Arduino Board. Once you have programmed the Arduino and soldered wires to the potentiometer you can use a breadboard to connect the lights to the Arduino. To learn more about breadboards and how they work, read this https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-use-a-...
This site was also extremely helpful when I was attempting to learn about the Arduino and how to use it with the potentiometer https://www.instructables.com/id/ArduinoServoPoten...
Step 6: Have Fun
Once you've gotten all this put together have fun with your fountain. Play around with the rate of the strobe and use a small clamp on the tubing to create change the pressure and drip rate of the fountain. Changing these two things can achieve different effects such as floating water, slowly falling water, and even water moving upwards.
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