Introduction: Travel Jar Water Pump

I will describe how to build a small motored water pump with a travel jar instead of the accepted bottle cap method. This will bring a number of benefits, including easy accessibility for repairs and adjustments of the internal fan. It's relatively cheap, functions well with vinyl tubing and, err... looks great.  

Step 1: Materials

Materials need:

-Travel Jar of your choice of color (Bought @Walmart)
- 3v to 5v dc motor from disk drive, radio shack, hobby lobby, electric sharpener, toy, etc.
    -make sure it has a gear
- glue gun
- 3 to 5 v dc output adapter such as a cell phone charger.
- plastic strips for building a fan rotor. 
- Tubes for water inlet and outlet, i.e. from a pen. 

Drilling/cutting tools for plastic:

- drill (or some other sharp metallic tube)
- micro torch or other heat source
- scissors 

Step 2: Basic Component

Before you do anything, you might want to spray around the motor shaft with WD-40 to extend its life. Optional. 

With a heated object (such as a metallic pen) and ample pressure, you will make perforations on the travel jar. You will need to make three of these in total. You can either heat the sharp object, heat directly onto the jar,  or both. 

-Inlet/Outlet Tubes:
You will need about an inch of tube for the outlet.  About half an inch is ideal for the inlet tube. I cut a pen's tube with a heated knife. If you plan on connecting aquarium tubing to your pump, make sure it connects with the outlet tube. 

-Rotor Perforation:
First make a thin perforation on the bottom side of the jar. It must be precisely in the middle. This is for the motor's shaft to go through. Make sure it fits in the small perforation before moving on. 

-Inlet/Outlet Perforation:
Now make a perforation for the water inlet and outlet tubes so that when they are glued onto the perforation a 90 degree angle is formed. The top cap of the jar will be the water intake. For the outlet perforation, BE CAREFUL not to do it where the two parts of the jar meet. Also with these, make sure your tubes fit into them. 


Now  glue the constituents onto their respective perforations, making sure they are water tight and sealed in place.  Again, be careful not to glue the jar shut. 

Step 3: The Rotor Fan

Make sure the gear fits snugly into the shaft sticking through its perforation. Then take it out and start working on the rotor blades. 

  -You will need to cut out 4 congruent blades of plastic to glue onto each fourth angle of the gear.
-Make sure they're not too large that the jar won't close, and not too small as to lower its functionality.
-The depth each of my blades was about 1.3 cm. You can heat your scissor blades to make the cutting easier.
-Once you have your plastic blades, glue them onto the gears. 

-Glue your fan onto the motor shaft carefully. You don't want the gear to be glued onto the travel won't rotate. 

Step 4: Power and Testing

Now you must power the fan:
-Cut off what's on the power adapter's end and split the wires.
-Simply latch each wire onto the motor terminals.
-Plug in to test.

If you find the fan to be rather weak, try loosening the fan from the shaft a bit. If that doesn't work, use a slightly higher voltage. To test on water, the jar must be closed. Use a clamp or hands to hold the pump on surface of water being careful not to let the motor submerge. 

Tips and Troubleshooting:
-Again, WD-40 will protect from water and deterioration, but completely optional. 
-You can make it hands-free by placing it on a heavy base in the water or using hanger wire. 
-If you hear the motor working, but the fan doesn't move, apply some hot glue in the gear and/or make the fan smaller
-If using aquarium tubing,  apply the tubing after you let water run through the pump. If the tubing is on beforehand, it likely won't work. 

-use with aquarium tubing to transport water. 
-distilling condensers
-small water fountain
-Terrarium river/waterfall
-many more


kushalverma made it! (author)2012-01-06

what basically WD-40 is??? Is it a liquid spray or something like gel?????

mcsper made it! (author)mcsper2016-09-06

Liquid spray. WD is Water Displacement. usually used to make hinges stop squeaking or loosening tight hardware. Should also work like mentioned to keep water off of parts for a little while, but not to make waterproof.

Pyrophoric made it! (author)Pyrophoric2012-01-06

It's a liquid spray can that has many applications, but mainly used for lubrication. Also protects from rust.

Rebelxxx made it! (author)2016-05-15

not so powerful stream, but it works. Placed backward flow protector to keep water in tube while pump is off. After that foow rate decreased even kore, but it will be enough for dripp-type irrigayion system.

AMRANE77 made it! (author)2015-11-21

i have made it too

sudhud made it! (author)2015-08-30

i have made it

abdulmuqeet007 made it! (author)2014-10-15

can anyone help me to make its fan.

please tell me how to make its fan????

waiting for your answer

abo_mesh3l made it! (author)abo_mesh3l2015-07-19

I belive any small plastic plates will work glued with superglue or gorilla glue if you are in USA , you might as well get some gear from toys like rc car etc.. good luck and enjoy ?

abo_mesh3l made it! (author)2015-07-19

thank you so much for that great idea , I am planning for garden fountain and thinking of using fan motor , and convert it to water pump , I am only thinking how to prevent the water from leaking to the motor itself . any help are appreciated :)

alireza8858s made it! (author)2015-07-05

cool idea man

mspencer8 made it! (author)2014-10-14

how mo make a diffuser for it so that bubbles come out?

amorarun made it! (author)amorarun2015-02-25

Hope this helps to make bubbles. It is critical that the vertical piece should be cut at 45 degree angle and must be installed such that the slanting surface faces the outlet side as shown in the diagram below. Let me know if it helped.

abdulmuqeet007 made it! (author)2014-10-15

can anyone help me to make its fan.

please tell me how to make its fan????

waiting for your answer

hkortus made it! (author)2013-06-04

That isa super cool!!!

Pyrophoric made it! (author)Pyrophoric2013-06-04

Thank you hkortus, I'm glad you like my instructables!

minijc made it! (author)2012-06-07

could use it for going camping if your tent floods

kushalverma made it! (author)2012-01-02

but how have you applied any solvent or anything between the motor shaft and blades to make it leakprofed????

Pyrophoric made it! (author)Pyrophoric2012-01-05

I applied WD-40, but it's not necessary.

kushalverma made it! (author)2011-12-21

is the shaft of the motor leak proofed with the moving blades?????

Pyrophoric made it! (author)Pyrophoric2011-12-23

Yeah, basically. Mine still works!

embochner made it! (author)2011-08-19

great stuff- is there a way to waterproof the motor to make it splash safe?

Pyrophoric made it! (author)Pyrophoric2011-08-19

Thanks, you just do what Jimmy said and also spray some WD-40 on the exposed shaft perforation before use.

heathbar64 made it! (author)heathbar642011-12-22

I once took a hobby mootor and sealed the vents with glue and ran it completely under water. it sat there and ran perfectly in a jar of water.

Jimmy Proton made it! (author)Jimmy Proton2011-08-19

You could just cover it in hot glue as long as you don't get any inside.

tzq33tdq made it! (author)2011-08-25

can you send me a link to print this instructable out???

KevinAlien26 made it! (author)2011-08-19

Hey man great 'ible I was helping my girlfriends mom with transferring gas from her transmission broken truck to her out of gas van and it got to thinking of ways I could pump water. (I wouldn't risk has since there can always be a problem with electricity).

I had a few questions.
1) can this be done using a larger jar Mainly to fit a larger motor and fan.
2) if so could I just use the fan blades off an old computer fan?

nawg made it! (author)nawg2011-08-21

You could pump petrol with it without the risk of fire if you immerse the whole thing in some sort of insulating oil (like baby oil) and draw out just the two lines.

KevinAlien26 made it! (author)KevinAlien262011-08-21

Hmm sounds like a good idea. I was also thinking if using the motor farther from the actual chamber would work. Like adding a thing metal rod from the fan inside the pump, to the motor some few feet away.

Pyrophoric made it! (author)Pyrophoric2011-08-19

1) Theoretically, it should work. I have never tried something as large.
2) well, rectangular blades work best, but you could use the fan blades as long as they're cut off and then glued sideways like in my motor.


nawg made it! (author)2011-08-21

There's this awesome cog wheel in diskus inhalers ( ) that you can use as the turbine for this. I'll upload an image later if I find time.

afetic made it! (author)2011-08-19

For what i can use this ?

Pyrophoric made it! (author)Pyrophoric2011-08-19

Practically anything requiring running water. See the last step under applications.

About This Instructable




Bio: Carbon-based bipedal life form who thinks digital watches are a neat idea.
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