For a project ("Hydro do that?") at the Glasgow School of Art, our group of students was tasked with designing and manufacturing a water pump. The task was to be a competition betwixt several teams, each taking the name of an aquatic creature. Our designated company was 'Dolphin'. The winners of the competition were to be the group whose pump had the highest efficiency, and the pumps had to be able to pump five liters of water, through a height of 60cm (2 feet) in less that five minutes.
Our research and development led us to find that a piston pump would be the most effective way of pumping water.
We made three pump prototypes, to see which would be most effective at pumping water.
We built an axial impeller, a diaphragm pump and a piston pump.
The piston pump seemed to be the most viable solution to the efficiency problem, and our online research agreed with this, so we decided to build our final design in the form of a piston pump.
However, our brief required that we do testing and optimization for the pump, so we designed our pump to have three removable and interchangeable cylinders, to allow us to test the efficiency for different numbers of cylinders.
2mm aluminium sheet
3mm acrylic sheet
4mm mild steel rod
24V, 5600 RPM electric motor
Clear plastic pipe (unknown origin)
PVC pipe T-Joints
PVC plumbing pipe
Evian bottle necks and caps
Assorted screws, bolts, washers
Plastic Weld (Dichloromethane)
Band saw (metal)
Band saw (wood)
Sandpaper (various grit)
Assorted drill bits (including forstner / flat bits)
hot glue gun
Yeah, we used a lot of stuff on this project. The art school has a very well equipped workshop. One could probably substitute our pistons for something a bit more accessible, perhaps plastic and a standardized pipe size in order to make the whole task a bit less demanding in terms of equipment.