Instructables
Problem to be solved: like many folks who bicycle or hike, I've used bite-valve, hands-free hydration systems for years. Unfortunately commercial hydration systems include a plastic bladder that is easy to puncture, difficult to clean and expensive to replace. In addition, wearing a backpack that holds the bladder is annoying to cyclists. Far preferable for cycling would be to have a bite-valve system that works with a bottle that sits in the frame-mounted bottle cage. Far preferable for both cyclists and hikers would be to replace the dismal plastic bladder with an ordinary PET soda bottle.

The solution in a nutshell: combine a few purchased components with a purpose-designed Delrin stopper in order to make your own bladder-free hydration system!

The hard problem to be solved: bladders collapse when water is removed and PET soda bottles do not. (Well they will eventually, but not before your ears pop!) Therefore make-up air must be added to the bottle when water is removed. The way to do this is mount a small check-valve next to the drinking hose. The difficulty is that bottle tops are small and figuring out how to fit both a drinking hose and check valve was not easy.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Design overview

Picture of Design overview
Design goals:
1. Allow bite valve to be used with PET bottle in bicycle bottle cage.
2. Materials must all be food-safe and easy to clean.
3. Assembly should not leak when shaken or inverted.
4. Parts should be inexpensive and readily available.

Design description:
As shown in the attached drawings, the main effort involves machining a tapered stopper from a delrin rod using a lathe, then tapping 1/8-27 pipe threads in it for a hose barb fitting to attach the 1/4" tygon hose. A check-valve is attached via a short length of 1/8" tygon hose. The 1/8" hose is slipped onto a short length of 0.134" hypodermic tubing that is pounded into a 0.128" hole that is drilled through the stopper. The check-valve is secured to the 1/4" hose via a dab of silicone caulk on the side. The stopper is held securely into a water bottle using an ordinary soda bottle cap through which a hole has been cut using a 3/4" punch. A short length of 1/4" hose is used to attach the acetal quick-disconnect coupling socket with valve, and then a longer run (perhaps two feet) goes from an acetal quick-disconnect coupling plug to the bite valve. The bottle is inserted in the bottle cage and the bite valve is attached to the handlebar with a pair of nylon loop straps.

Email me (alchaiken at gmail dot com) if you would like a DXF format version of the drawings for this project.
You could of just poked a small micro hole on the top of your water bottle instead of making that useless one way valve, from scratch, haha. But I can't do that, that's really hard to do, so congratulations. But next time, you could find simple solutions for simple problems, it's okay if it drips a few drops on the whole trip, it's just a easier way to do it.
chaiken (author)  stealthsilent11 months ago
The best solution, as always, depends of the use case. If the tubing length is short and spills aren't a problem, then a hole in the lid is fine, I'm sure. A wet sleeping bag is unacceptable to me in cold weather though, so I like a water-tight seal. Also, if the tubing run is long, a system that will hold a small vacuum allows the tubes to stay filled after the first sip. For strenuous cycling, the convenience of having to move the liquid 1 cm to drink instead of through the whole length of the tubing every time is worth the extra initial assembly trouble.
speter511 months ago
Hi Chaiken, we like your solution! We were thinking about the same thing. Check out our Convertube. It turns every bottle into a hands-free hydration system: http://sourceoutdoor.com/hands-on-systems/22-convertube.html The kit contains adaptors, tube, valve, dirt-shield. Have fun!
chaiken (author)  speter511 months ago
Indeed, your system looks virtually identical. Mine is now about 5 years old and I couldn't find any similar commercial products on the market at the time. I now have a better version using stainless steel hypodermic tubing, silicone stopper and metal wide-mouth soda can, but have been too slow to post details.

Best wishes,
Alison
ilpug3 years ago
This is very high quality, and i can see you put a lot of effort into this, but it all seems a bit complex to me just for the sake of getting a drink while on a bike.
speter5 ilpug11 months ago
Hi ilpug, here's a shortcut - same result: to turn (almost) any bottle into a hands-free hydration system: http://sourceoutdoor.com/hands-on-systems/22-convertube.html
I like this 'cause I don't have to have only water. I know I should, but I need sugar, and camelbaks will die with anything but water.
nice 'inble, but 'platypus' hoses have a thread that fits soda bottles already, and if you are dis satisfied with the blader, it would be an easy conversion to use your attatchment method
timtak3 years ago
I am looking for a dual hole (straw plus valve) system like this even on a normal (non-PET) bike bottle because I want to be able to squirt several times into my mouth.

With the usual O-ring system one has to remove the bottle from ones mouth and wait for the bottle to reinflate through the same hole as you are drinking from but with this one can let air come into the bottle through the check valve and squirt again pretty much immediately (if the valve hole is fairly big and the bottle has a strong elasticity as PET bottles do).

I wish this product were commercially available!

Or is it? Does the camelbak bike better bottle with "bite valve" have this type of two hole (drink plus check valve) system?

The sipway looks okay but I would rather do without long straws.
chaiken (author)  timtak3 years ago
timtak, you should be able to make a second hole and put an up-to-air valve on any container. The technique of using a few-mm piece of stainless surgical tubing attached to a similarly short piece of tygon house going to an up-to-air valve should work with any hard plastic container. If you drink water, I recommend putting the valve inside, as there's less chance of knocking it off. If you drink other beverages with sugar, you can still put it inside, but you'll have to clean it (bleach or Efferdent) or replace it frequently.

Best wishes,
Alison
who has an entirely different superior design using RockStar cans that she's too lazy to post.
timtak chaiken3 years ago
Okay, thank you for your reply and encouragement, I am having a go now.

There are valves in the kerosine pumps sold at local "dollar" stores and I have attached one to a water bottle sold at those stores.
chaiken (author)  timtak3 years ago
Be sure that any components you buy are chemically compatible and food-safe. You don't want to have a metal part dissolve in acid sports drinks for example. A part made for kerosene near beverages sounds a bit scary to me.
timtak chaiken3 years ago
The plastic kerosene pump looks to be made of the same sort of plastic as the bottle is made out of. I will take it easy on the drinks.

Since I can't purchase yours and I am bad at making things I would probably order a sipaway or sipstream but the postage is prohibitive to Japan.

By the way there is, I think, now a commercial version that takes commercially available PET bottles.
http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Desert-SmarTube-Hydration-System/dp/B000GM6LWS/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1317193623&sr=1-2
The reviews are not good though so I am sure yours is better.
timtak3 years ago
Oops sorry, I see that this does have long straws and is very similar to the three products (sipway, oasisone-twelve and never reach) above.

I think that it would be cool to have a normal bottle cage bottle version just for the convenience of being able to such/squirt continuously without having to wait for air to get back into the bottle.
theprophet24 years ago
I know it is great fun and all making your own bite valve, but surely it would be easier to use a commercially available bite valve in plac e of a home made one?
chaiken (author) 4 years ago
It's true that there are now commercially available bite-valve-and-bottle-cage solutions, although I don't believe that there were any when I began the project.   However, none of the commercial solutions that I know of are compatible with bottles that are free.

It's true that my solution doesn't keep the drink cold, although the user can always put ice in the bottles or freeze them.    I usually purchase cold drinks at stores and finish them quickly, so I don't really care.     Not having a sweaty backpack on more than makes up for warm drinks.

The suction force needed to draw up the liquid is small due to the anti-siphon valves.   Once the tube are filled, they stay filled and then the bite valve even tends to drip when it's draped over the bars.

I actually have a completely new design using aluminum Rockstar cans that I have finished implementing yet.

Best wishes,
Alison
zellmer5 years ago
I have been trying to find a manufacturer of the "bladder" with screw top, but I'm having a VERY hard time. I want a small bladder system, about 8 oz. Do you have any contacts for me? I want to stay USA.
 im  not sure exactly what you are talking about but you may be looking for something like a platypus bladder.
first the amount of work you did here is amazing. you have made something very advanced, the one problem that i see with this disigne vrs the bladder is the amount of sucking force needed. I used to use a bladder when hiking. (i now just use water bottles.) At least in my hiking backpack when i released the bite valve there was very little to know force needed to draw watter up because of the pressure on the bag.it seems to me like it would take alot of effort to bring water from these bottles to your mouth.
BrickMaster4 years ago
thanks for the plans. Interesting to see what would go into building your own.  Looking at Build vs Buy & Time vs $$$... I think would would go with one of these:

www.oasisone-twelve.com

www.sipaway.com

www.neverreach.com

-Thanks
kwalian6 years ago
Is it safe to use vinyl tubing in a DIY hydration system? I got some from Ace Hardware but my parents said that it's probably not food-grade.
chaiken (author)  kwalian6 years ago
To be honest, I don't know what kind of tubing is safe. I just always use components that say "beverage grade" or "FDA approved" or some such. You'll notice that the parts listed on my Instructable are all so labeled, except for the stainless steel tubing, which I'm assuming is okay. Of course the fact that some plastic products are labeled "food grade" implies that others are not.
you know... take a 3 liter soda bottle, put 2 holes in the cap, feed the hose in one hole, and another into the other hose, put a fish tank anti-siphon air thing on each end, and you will have the air infeed you need, and the water out that you want without the ear popping... I am currently working on one myself.
thats what i did
chaiken (author)  infernisdiem6 years ago
Does your system leak when inverted? Mine doesn't. Also, once you fill the hose on mine, it stays filled. And I have enough vacuum (about 1 psi) that I can pull goos like Hammer Gel up through the hose. So yes, you can make a simpler system with the same gross features, but it would be hard to make one that's simple and works as well without an injection molder. I wish that TechShop (http://www.techshop.ws/) would get an injection molder!
Actually the original that I made was all friction fit, and did not leak when inverted.
finnster6 years ago
No offense but thisis overcomplicated compared to mine (mine is a bite valve from a water bottleconnected to tubing that connects to two-one liter bottles).
theRIAA6 years ago
wow.... i wasn't expecting it to be so.... damn expensive and complicated.... I saw the old bike and assumed you were doing something cheap and super simple to make... I guess you're thinking of making this into a commercial product?
chaiken (author)  theRIAA6 years ago
wow.... i wasn't expecting it to be so.... damn expensive and complicated....

Me either. Suggestions are welcome! $12 of the cost is the
anti-siphon valve that means that the bottle can inverted without
leaking and that the hose, once filled, stays filled. Without that,
the cost would be lower, but the system would be much less sweet to
use.

It should be possible to make a simple, cheap, injection-molded
version, but TechShop hasn't gotten an injection molder yet.

I have other Instructables that I'd like to post that are simple and
cheap but I need to finish this one first.

I guess you're thinking of making this into a commercial product?

No actually. I am a Linux user and believe in Open Source. I
would like to share my invention and prevent others from patenting it.
Thanks for making Instructables available for this purpose. If
you would suggest a different license, please let me know!

I hate having to suck the water out of my hydration bladder. Soda bottles are designed to withstand an amazing amount of pressure for what they're made of... Why not add an inline tee with a schrader valve so that you can use your tire pump to pressurize your water? You would only need a few pounds pressure at most. Granted, your bite valve may have to be redesigned to sustain that pressure, but I think it would be a much more pleasant way to drink. Also, semi-trucks have threaded brass (or chrome plated brass) valve stems that are inserted into the rim hole, and then a nut is used to secure the stem in place. One of these could easily be used as a tap in a soda bottle lid. As they are sealed with rubber washers, this would be a bullet-proof way to make a very stout dripless tap. Oh, and make sure you take out the valve core! :o)
dudes.....you can buy a camel back backpack for10 or 20 dollars and it would keep your drink colder...
WOW! Looks like a lot of work! But still, I bet it's worth it, nice job.