Instructables
Picture of Test Tube Bubbler
[[Video(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-QZ4Cnm-6Q, {width:500, height:400})]]

Calling Dr. Frankenstein...

Have you ever felt the urge to laugh maniacally while unknown liquids bubbled madly behind you?

Well now you can with your very own Test Tube Bubbler, and we'll show you how!

*Instructions for maniacal laughter not included
 
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Step 1: Supplies and Tools

Picture of Supplies and Tools
Supplies
• Plastic test tubes
• Fish tank air pump
• Tubing for air-line
• Airline tube T’s
• Silicone caulk, Tub and Tile
• Wood – ¾” plywood
• Paint – brown or other dark color
• 4 Pumpkin lights with 3 LED’s each(available at Dollar Tree)
• Package of 1-1/4 coarse screws
• Spare assorted gauge wire
• Glue sticks
• Soldering equipment(flux and solder)
• Water
• Food coloring(optional)
• Glow Sticks(optional)
• AAA Batteries

Tool
• Drill bit same size as your test tubes diameter
• Drill bit same size as your LED diameter
• Drill bit same size as the tubing diameter
• Soldering iron
• Glue gun
• Drill
• Wire cutters
• Paintbrush
• Scissors
• Circular saw
• Tape Measure
• Pencil
• Screwdriver
• Permanent Marker

Step 2: Cutting the Wood

From a piece of ¾” plywood, cut the following dimensioned pieces:
1. 2 pieces at 6” by 13 – ¾”  Sides
2. 6” by 12 – ¼” Bottom
3. 2 pieces at 3” by 12 – ¼” Un-drilled piece is the lower front, drilled is the lighting assembly
4. 2” by 12 – ¼” Test tube rack
5. 9” by 12 – ¼” Backboard
Doesn't the pressure build up in the tubes?
It can if you push the corks in tightly, yes and no, it's such a small pump it would just pop the seal on a T before it would hurt the tubes. Playing around with it some I found the best was basically to just set the corks in the tubes and not push them down. Then it works perfectly, all the tubes bubbling evenly.
Thanks. I was wondering if you drilled the corks... Very nice project. I may try to do a portable version for Halloween. Thank you!
ManufacturedArtists (author)  oldmicah10 months ago
You actually don't wanna drill the corks, you need some resistance to direct the air flow. Since the bubbles will go only to the tube with the lowest resistance. So we used the corks to help balance the resistance in each tube.
This version would actually be really portable. The only issue is the pump we used is a wall plug version. I have seen battery operated ones. The pump we bought is meant for a 5-15 gallon fish tank and is running 1200 CC. Hope that gives you some parameters to buy yours.
Harbor Freight has portable bubblers that run on C batteries, and they are markedly cheaper than the ones sold at aquarium stores or sporting goods stores.
And drilling the corks will still work, just make sure that the total area of the drilled holes is less than the area of the tubing in cross section. You can also buy little needle valves at the aquarium store to control each tube's bubble rate if you want to over engineer this thing

Ccan you find the part number? I shop there alot and have never seen them.

Haha, yeah my roommate had to reign me in from over engineering it. I'm an industrial engineering student with a passion for fluid mechanics, I could have built this thing to bubble in the exact sequence I wanted. However, thanks to his wisdom, we went simple. We decided to build this so people with little to no experience could copy it. When you start drilling the corks the fluid flow mathematics can get complex really quickly, especially if people use different liquids than just the water. If you drill your stuck with just liquid you drilled for. I found by playing with the corks I could run different densities of liquids at the same time. By forcing more resistance on the water corks I could get it to bubble thru oil and glow stick innards at the same rate.
Ease and variability was the name of this game. Thanks for the suggestion of where to find the portable pumps, I had absolutely no idea where to find those.
Spokehedz10 months ago
You could combine the several big plastic pumpkin lights to just the main PCB, and use a single set of AA batteries to run them. They last for hundreds of hours, so you might only be able to get 50 hours or so out of them... Oh nooo...
ManufacturedArtists (author)  Spokehedz10 months ago
I built this so people that have little to know experience with electrical could make it. When you start seriesing power supplies and linking LED's you can get into some math that can be over a lot of people's heads. It's a great suggestion, but it would require explaining how to calculate resistances of things to keep from blowing your LED's.
The second reason I went this route is to keep the flickering of the lights completely random as each of the pumpkin lights has a flicker. If you series them all, the lights would all flicker on and off at the same time. Would this be a big deal to most, probably not, but for my aesthetic, I liked the random.

that would have been a big deal to me, the perfect symetry of something that's supposed to be random, in this case chaotically malfunctioning, would constantly annoy me, if you can build aboard that will still have the random look i'd be interested.

If you are using the soldering iron, then you are already out of the range of most people without electrical experince.

And no maths are involved. Just take one pumpkin base with the battery holder, and hook the three units to one power supply.

All in all, good job though. I forgot to mention this in my last post. Sorry about that!
ManufacturedArtists (author)  Spokehedz10 months ago
Haha, depends... I have a friend that makes stained glass for a living, he can wield a soldering gun like no other, but he has no idea when it comes to wiring boards, but I totally get your point ;)

Ok, I can see that working, but wouldn't the LED's be dimmer, since the higher power drain?
spylock9 months ago
I may have already commented on this one,but what the hell,another two thumbs up.
ManufacturedArtists (author)  spylock8 months ago
:D Thanks!
wnordmann9 months ago
Any trouble drilling the test tubes? I got some glass ones I am worried that would break.
ManufacturedArtists (author)  wnordmann9 months ago
No trouble drilling the plastic ones with a hand drill. The glass ones are trickier. I would recommend trying a drill press with the tubes in a block vise. Oh and make sure you have glass rated bits. They're usually sharper and sometimes have a bit different spiral. Please let me know how it goes, it would be useful to share with others.
maxninja20139 months ago
Can you give me the link were you bought the test tubes?
ManufacturedArtists (author)  maxninja20139 months ago
They are a Martha Stewart Halloween item, usually your local craft stores like Joanns(where we got ours), Michael's, Craft 2000, or Hobby Lobby will carry them. I'm not sure if Martha Stewart has her own website, but I would suggest buying in store, cause coupons are AWESOME!
How do you even out the air pressure? Please answer ASAP!
ManufacturedArtists (author)  maxninja20139 months ago
You seat the corks in the tubes at different tightnesses to control the air. There is no magic combo, you just have to play with it.
justjimAZ9 months ago
Nice. Thanks for posting.
I appreciate the photos detailing the disassembly of the pumpkin strobes.
I love those things, they are so easy and quick to use in so many things. I figured it would be good to just go ahead and do it right the first time then just use the photos and steps, copy and paste version, for all the different things we use them in.
maxninja201310 months ago
Could I use the bubbler on the teat tubes with glow stick juice or would that ruin the bubbler?
ManufacturedArtists (author)  maxninja201310 months ago
I would suggest adding a needle valve in the lines feeding them, so you have absolutely no chance of backfeed. Otherwise, I don't know of a reason you couldn't. You'll have to play around with the corks in the other tubes to balance the pressures though, since the glowie liquid is thicker. If you try it, let me know how it goes please! Good luck!
WVvan10 months ago
I think I'll make one of these for my desk at work. Too Cool! Thanks for posting.
ManufacturedArtists (author)  WVvan10 months ago
Haha, dooooo it! Best desk ever!
ElectroFrank10 months ago
Hot glue on solder joints makes maintenance, repair, upgrading and modification very difficult indeed.   If the wires are not being moved, they will stay put.

If reinforcement is felt to be necessary, may I recommend heatshrink, or gluing the wire an inch or so away from the solder joint ?
ManufacturedArtists (author)  ElectroFrank10 months ago
Thanks for the comment! I know first hand how hard it is to get the glue off, when we accidentally wired one of the boards backwards. I also agree with your recommendation of heat shrink in most instances, but my electrical guy and I looked at the sizes of the board and decided that there really wasn't a way to do it easily. Same with the hot glue, the boards were just so dag on small.
We also built this to last several years being rough handled by people in a haunted house. Tear down and construction, people aren't always gentle on your equipment, unfortunately. So we went ahead and made all our updates now, so nothing has to be changed over the life of the prop.
maxninja201310 months ago
This is so cool! I'm of to build it, wish me luck!
ManufacturedArtists (author)  maxninja201310 months ago
Good luck! I'd love to see pics of your finished product!
Rob K10 months ago
From looking at it on the news letter I was thinking of the test tubes in the old Adam West batman show. Can't remember episode or possible movie.
dracconegro10 months ago
very well that I am doing. I catch you some idea ...