Step 2:

Once you have gathered the materials you may begin.  Remember that none of this is set in stone, you are welcome to try different containers and materials.  This plan has been set to be easily accessible and quick to build.

1. Grab the HDPE container and cut out a circle about 2” in diameter, exact size is not important. If using a container similar to the one in the picture, put the hole in the middle of the container, we will use it again later.   Put small hole in approximate middle of the HDPE circle.  This hole needs to be smaller than the motor shaft so the shaft will fit tightly.

2. Put the HDPE circle on the motor shaft and apply power to the motor. Now, take a sharpie marker and lightly touch the spinning HDPE with the marker about ¾” away from the shaft middle.   Now turn off the motor.  This should have produced a black circle on the HDPE with the motor shaft hole being the precise middle.

3. Cut out the circle in the HDPE.   And cut "fins" approximately as shown.  Precision is not necessary but do not cut too close to the center hole.  ¼” fins work just fine. Once fins are cut, go around the circle and bend each fin in the same direction, as the picture shows.

PRO TIP: If making your own impeller sounds like too much work then try to find a small hand fan.  The kind you can get at the dollar store (see image).  It usually takes 2 AA batteries, has a motor you may be able to use and a ready made impeller that fits the motor shaft securely.  This way you wont have to bother with the glue on the impeller, but you will have to cut the fins down to fit your container and the motors are usually weak and under powered, which is why I am not using it.  So I guess that makes this less of a pro tip and more of a noob step. Ah, whatever!

Another PRO TIP:  The shape the tornado will take is directly effected by the impeller.  The width of the overall tornado is directly proportional to the diameter of your impeller.  IE; bigger circle of HDPE equals wider tornado.  BUT a wider tornado will take more energy to get it going and won't reach the same length a similar powered motor using a smaller diameter impeller would.  To summarize.  Smaller diameter impeller = taller and faster moving tornado.  Larger diameter impeller = wider, shorter and slower tornado.

Check out the write up on HACKADAY.COM <br>http://hackaday.com/2012/12/22/building-a-tornado-in-a-bottle/#comments
<p>Can I make a Tornado machine with a little shaft like one of these small motors?</p>
<p>I am currentely in 9 standard and this seems some thing tough for me</p>
I have a idea for one that I may make with a fish tank and I could put the motor on the top so it will create a updraft not a downdraft like yours and this is my inspiration keep up the good work :)
awesome idea though I built it a little bit diferent by using a pop bottle instead but still works great<br>
<p>I'm glad you liked it enough to build one of your own. Some of my earliest versions were made with 2-liter bottles and they worked great. Nice job!</p>
beautiful, should bother no one my friend, my sons are about to have a blast with it!! I have made a whirpool machine with a tesla turbine made with cds and magnets, but it is complicated, a child could make this one on his own and have lots of fun , and learning with your led power calculation without forggeting myself as well!!, thank you for sharing,
cant wait to try this out
I love the dollar store fan idea.
Thanks. It makes it a simple and more accessible project for anyone.
There is nothing &quot;technical&quot; about calling it a whirlpool. There is no such thing as a tornado in water. By calling it that you're misleading people and teaching them the wrong thing. When someone is taught the wrong thing someone else later on has to &quot;un-teach&quot; them the false information you're feeding people. So please, call it what it is. I have a motorbike at home, but if you want to be technical then you can call it a car.
Quite obviously this is not a pool and 95% of all whirlpools don't whirl but bubble. <br>Hope you never end up in a plasma lamp store... <br>
For years they sold an adapter to connect two soda bottles together and create a [water] tornado in a bottle. Also, they sell novelty [water] tornadoes that has an image of a farm and cows on the outside of the cylindrical &quot;globe&quot;. Yes, it's actually a whirlpool, but the effect looks like a tornado, and is the easiest way to show a child what a tornado looks like, hence, has been called a tornado for years [for demonstration purposes].
When I was a kid my dad and I used to make these, he always called it a tornado machine. He passed away when I was younger and I have called them by this name ever since. Sorry if that rubs you the wrong way.
Good work, but it would be safer to use a magnetic stirrer system. It would present its own challenges but water and electricity shouldn't be one of them.
Hi hi :) <br>Numerous questions :) - Is it possible to find or source an underwater motor as opposed to potentially sustaining leaks in the near future? <br>What additive could be added to the water to prevent the water growing algae? <br> <br>I'm thinking longetivity :)
If you set it up like this instructable shows it should be fairly waterproof. But I suppose for extra protection you could tape the holes in the electric motor and dip it in wax to give it a waterproof coating. This will cover the vents of the motor that are normally used to cool the motor, so it may not be the best solution but I couldn't find any cheap, small, waterproof motors online. <br>Most of these small cheap motors will take a fair amount of abuse though. I am using a 3 volt DC brush motor and have run it at up to 15 volts for a few minutes with no problem. Also purified/distilled water by itself isn't terribly conductive, so if the motor gets a little wet at some point it likely wont hurt it. As far as keeping the water from growing algae, maybe a drop or 2 of bleach or vinegar added to the water will help. I haven't tried additives in the water because it is somewhat trivial to unscrew the top and just replace the water, but you are welcome to try. Remember only a drop or 2 as bleach tends to cause havoc with certain metals.
I think this would look cool if you used UV leds and a UV liquid that is easily made by following this instructable: <br> <br>http://www.instructables.com/id/Create-Homemade-Fluorescent-Black-LightUV-Display/ <br> <br>What could be more fun than a glowing tornado?
All I can think of is dropping Monopoly houses into the mix....:-)
.. And some lego men! <br>
agis68, it's true I could use the RGB leds that cycle the colors. I like that Idea, I just might try that.
you can build it with RGB leds without the m/c to save some space. Of course you will have a periodic cycle of colours
It's a twister! It's a twister!
nice <br> <br>a project for the kids during the coming holidays ! <br> <br>thank you !&hellip;
Thanks WriterChick. <br>Mad_b, I have seen those before too but I have never made one.
There is an option that (I've made a prototype once) works well too, like professional stirrers do; in a few words, you can attach a strong magnet on the motor shaft. Then you position this on the bottom of the jar (normal position, glass in the bottom). Take a cylindrical magnet and put inside a plastic tube. Drop this tube inside the jar; when you turn the motor on the magnet in the shaft will make the magnet cylinder inside the jar to turn, creating the tornado as well. :-)
This is lovely, complex and well-detailed 'ible. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on breaking the &quot;no documentation&quot; jinx!

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Bio: I like to make all type of gadgets and weird scientific creations. I majored in EE in college so I understand something about electronics. I ... More »
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