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Squirt Gun Refill Station

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This project was whipped together just before my son's fifth birthday party. My wife had purchased a package of a dozen or so cheap squirt guns, and I figured the kids could just fill them in a bucket. About an hour before the party I tried doing just that and found that it didn't work worth a darn.

You can fill them at a sink, but that's not a great option when you've got ten kids you'd prefer not to have running through your house. I can fill them with the hose, but only because I can squeeze the garden nozzle just a hair to allow a small trickle of water out. (My son can't.) I thought about using a small syringe, but I wasn't sure they'd be able to operate that and hold the gun at the same time, and I couldn't find one anyway. So I needed some way to make one or more slim streams of water just right to flow into the holes on the squirt guns.

This is what I hacked together in the thirty minutes or so before the party.
 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
Main Water Reservoir - I used a big 66 quart plastic container we had lying around. You could use a bucket, but depending on how spread out your water streams are and how high you hang it you might end up with water splashing on the ground. This one seemed to work out great.

Filling Container - I pulled a gallon milk jug out of the recycling bin. 2 liter bottles or juice containers would work fine, too. Anything that'll hold a decent amount of liquid that's easy to drill through. Don't use anything that contained anything toxic since you know kids will ultimately be drinking directly out of this, if not out of the squirt guns.

Fountain Pump - I was lucky enough to have one of these lying around. If you think you'll get a lot of use out of this idea, you can probably pick one up for $10-$15. If you want to go the cheaper, slightly more labor intensive route you can just make a larger port on the filling container and tell the kids to pour water into it by hand.

Tubing - I had some air hose in the garage I'd used for a pneumatic spud gun project so I grabbed a piece of that. You need something that'll mate with the pump outlet (if you're using one). This was 1/2" ID, I believe. You only need 2'-3', so if you don't have any, pick some up when you get the pump, if you're going that route.

Drill and Bits - You might be able to get by just poking holes in the container, but I think the water streams will be cleaner if you actually drill the holes. I used a 1/2" bit for the top two holes to hang it, and an 1/8" bit for the drain holes.

Utility Knife - In case you need to threaten your kids if they try to steal your stuff while you're working.

Twine - Anything cord or rope like you've got lying around. I used some mason's line. You'll have to thread it through the holes in the bottom, so keep that in mind before you pick something too thick.
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photoace125 days ago
OMG, you should put this in the 'squeeze more out of summer' contest!
although this is an awesome idea, I must point out the child proof door knob opener on the hose nozzle. that is GENIUS! i have been cranking mine super tight because my 3yo loves turning it on... you have not only saved me water on supersoaker Sundays, but also during "off season" (Mon-Sat) when the kid is playing.
ww1aero4 years ago
Why not just hold them underwater in the plastic tub until the bubbles stop exiting?
I really thought you meant the children, and I was a little uh, yah.
lol
gabebillings (author)  ww1aero4 years ago
It doesn't work, as I've mentioned before. At least with the cheapo guns I was using. I don't know if the hole is too small, or what. No matter how I orient the guns, they get barely a trickle into them.
Problem might be air pressure inside the gun? Maybe put another tiny air hole with a heated awl or drill, near the nozzle?
gabebillings (author)  owl box4 years ago
I'm pretty sure that's the problem. I can fill them myself, but it involved shaking the gun a little, and squeezing the trigger a little bit. The problem that my three year old wasn't quite able to go through the gyrations to get water into them. This helps with hand-eye coordination, too.
jamwaffles4 years ago
EPIC! Now someone needs to make one for the older kids, full of BBs for their arsoft rifles :P
Why not paintballs for paintball markers? :P
Lol that would also rock
Then again, all you would need would be a box of paint and a scoop...
Lol what if you were using paintballs :P
Thats what i was referring to when I said paint lol.
Oh my apologies XD
KuddlKat4 years ago
I like the tattoos. So, he's gotten 5 "kills" and is now reloading, eh?
xanxor4 years ago
Love the fact that you were in a rush but still had time to make an instructable XD
gabebillings (author)  xanxor4 years ago
This is actually v2. A day after the party I went back and rebuilt the whole thing so I could get pictures, then I wrote the Instructable.
psbatra4 years ago
SOOOOO AWESOME AND GENIUS! ...As a mother of 2 boys (3 of you count my husband) and a whole arsenal of water guns I am totally aware of how futile it is to fill the guns in a bucket of water....it just doesn't work...
Master21124 years ago
I wish i was one of those guys like you, with enough random stuff lying around to build awesome stuff with :D
how to make the power suplay and driver circuit
Ward_Nox4 years ago
so basically a fountain...damn why did i never think of that
I know! Doesn't it seem obvious once someone does it first?
kderevan4 years ago
I don't have any little ones in residence to make this for, but I want to thank you for the rich evocation of the essence of summer I got from seeing this! Takes me back to my childhood with my three brothers!
catfan634 years ago
Is that kid smoking? Sorry, I couldn't resist. Cool idea... thanks for sharing!
Kiteman4 years ago
Excellent idea, and a brilliant idea for a party; hand out the empty guns, show them the filling station, then you've got time to get safely inside before they fight starts. The adults can then spend the party watching through the window, with a nice cup of coffee. When it's time for the party to stop, switch of the power supply to the fountain and wiat until the guns run dry...
Are you kidding me??? The action is in the YARD with the KIDS!!! I can stand in the kitchen with my coffee any day, but a full-blown, all-out squirt gun fight only happens on the weekends. Put me on the list of "Dads who bring the BIG GUNS to the water fight"! I had the first Super Soaker on my street - and we didn't even have kids yet. I love that this instructible keeps the water waste to a minimum while still allowing full water action. Great idea.
Your filling station idea is brilliant! We are building one this weekend. My son is also 5, and loves to play in water, especially with the waterhose. It seems like I'm constantly after him to leave it alone, nearly every single time we go outside. I don't think it was mentioned in the text, but in a photo, I noticed one of those "baby-proof" doorknob covers over the water faucet handle. Sir, that idea is absolute GENIUS! It's rather nasty business to be attempting to build a bonfire, and catch a cold stream full-blast right between the shoulder blades. I'm going TODAY to get another doorknob cover. Thank you SO MUCH!!!
zack2474 years ago
great idea! and some incredible work done in such a short amount of time! great job!
DieCastoms4 years ago
I would love to try to build a more permanent version of this, though I love how dreadfully simple yours is..........Maybe a PVC pipe across the top with the holes in that so the water comes straight down in a line... PVC legs to support it, and an adapter up to a larger size PVC on top of one leg so you could you large drain pipe for the reservoir. Maybe this idea could double for a plant watering station or even a pet toy if you have a small dog that likes playing in water........ just an idea (or three)
reading the first sentence, you have inspired me.
KittyF4 years ago
My husband and daughters have as much fun as the grandkids, esp if they have the bigger gun. Try the 6 liter squirt gun mod on here. looks fun.
seamster4 years ago
Very nice. Thanks for posting this! (I especially got a kick out of the child safety knob on the hose faucet!)
gabebillings (author)  seamster4 years ago
Those child safety knobs are a must, otherwise I'd have $1000 water bills every month. The 5 year old can get through a door with them on, but can't make the faucets work. Yet.
I understand completely. Five year olds can be very expensive.
You think 5 is expensive...just wait until teenage years!
you could always Remove the knob ,drill a hole in a section of the handle put a piece of soild wire through it and hang the knob up high i did this one time and saved close to $600 one month
kappaema4 years ago
Youre great with kids.
frediojoe4 years ago
that is sooooooooooo cool i wish my parents did that!
vital2774 years ago
That's a pretty cool idea.
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