Picture of Vacuum Pump from Aquarium Air Pump
This is a re-publish of a poorly done instructable that I posted a while back.

Transform an aquarium air pump to create a weak vacuum

This type of pump will only produce a weak vacuum but I use it for positioning electronic components and de-soldering applications.

You will need a tetra whisper Aquarium pump, a Philips screwdriver and about 5 minutes.
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Step 1: Open the pump

Picture of Open the pump

On the bottom of the pump you will fins 4 Philips screws. Remove these with a number 2 Phillips driver.

Flip the pump over and lift off the large blue plastic cover.

Step 2: Convert to suction

Picture of Convert to suction

The white plastic squares on the pump assemblies need to be rotated 180 degrees.

The whole white arm assembly will lift straight up and the white plastic piece will rotate.

Then the pump assembly is pressed back down into place.

Step 3: Reassemble and enjoy

Picture of reassemble and enjoy
Reattach the cover and attach the air lines.

The pump will now create a vacuum.

As noted it is a weak vacuum but suitable enough for simple tasks like picking up electronic components.
DHeights3 years ago
Nice instructable! How much vacuum does it generate (PSI or Hg)? I saw the gauge but it's not clear what the reading is.
ntowner DHeights5 months ago

9 in Hg Vaccum. its Psi for the blue and Hg for the green

jeffegg2 DHeights5 months ago

in Hg. Inches of Mercury.

i think it sais psi on the bottom right of the blue part
TeslaRox1 year ago

Trying to find a cheap way to create a vacuum so I can attempt the wine bottle electron accelerator instructable... Do you suppose this would be sufficient enough to create the vacuum in the bottle required to perform the experiment??

jon_chalk1 year ago

I noticed that the Tetra pump has not changed (internally) in over 25 years. I used to repair them for my customers (pet store). As for the instructable - very well done. Looks very easy to do. It is a practical tool for light duty. I wonder if it can be used to vacuum seal food bags.

jrusso22 years ago
Great Instructable! This was a big help.
Machine3 years ago
The green part of the gauge is scaled differently and appears to be in inches of mercury and looks to be reading 8". That corresponds to -3.9 PSI or -27 kPa.

That's quite an OK vacuum for picking up electronic components.

I'd like to know if it is good for desoldering too and if it is then all that is needed is a filter to stop the solder particles from reaching the pump.