Picture of making hydrogen and oxygen
In this instructable I will be explaining how to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen through the method of electrolysis. Electrolysis is where you run a current through a solution containing ions which in this case are hydrogen and oxygen. 2H2O - 2H2 + O2

the setup cost me about $45 New Zealand to make but i had some things already lying about

This project is potentially dangerous, hydrogen in the presents of oxygen will react violently I take no responsibility for any harm you cause yourself or others

also this is my first proper instructable any comments on how I could improve would be appreciated.

Step 1: Gather the materials

Picture of Gather the materials
1. two 3/4 inch diameter galvanized steel pipes.
2. two 3/4 inch diameter galvanized steel end caps.
3. two 1/4 inch stainless steel bolts with nuts (nylocks work well as then you only need two)
4. four 1/4 inch stainless steel washers
5. four 1/4 inch o-ring
6. four seals from plastic bottle lids.
7. 1 valve (two optional if you want to collect both gases
8. Teflon tape
9. water
In the intro you asked for suggestions.   So um, here goes...

I think you could do this same trick using just one pipe, and it would only take half the quantity of materials.  

That is to say, inside both pipes, the inside wall of the pipe is acting as one of the electrodes.  Also inside both pipes you are getting both an anode and a cathode reaction.  So I'm guessing that each pipe produces a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen, rather than hydrogen in one pipe and oxygen in the other.

If you do decide to go with a one-pipe design, may I humbly suggest using the pipe as the cathode (-). The reason for this is that loss of metal, e.g. metal iron going to iron ions, Fe(s) = Fe+2 + 2e-
If such a reaction is occuring it will take place at the anode(+), and it is better to have anode crumble into rust than the pipe itself, because the pipe is needed structurally to hold in the water and gasses in the cell.  That's why I suggest making the pipe be the cathode.

Hav0c (author)  Jack A Lopez3 years ago
First off thank you for your feed back.
I can understand where you are coming from, on trying to do this in plastic bottles with a metal rod connecting both of them i did end up getting hydrogen and oxygen in both of them but with this I have collected the gasses from each pipe in balloons, with the balloon containing oxygen when it was lit it did not explode so I assume that there was no hydrogen produced in that particular pipe while with the other balloon I let the gas escape slowly in front of an open flame in the form of a match and instead of rushing into the balloon and exploding like when both gases were in a single balloon it produced a 2-3 cm flame out in front of the balloon. I don't exactly no why this happened but this is just what i have found.
Hey, thanks for the reply. I don't what's going on with your thing either, but I'll trust you to figure it out, since it's your thing.

BTW, if you are looking for new things to do with hydrogen, I saw this the other day:

Naturally they ship it without the lifting gas, but if you can make your own hydrogen on-demand...

Not sure what reason for you built your electrolyzer in the first place.  Was it for science, or for pyromania? Or both?  I  mean those are both good reasons.

zazenergy4 years ago
That's a very cool hack!