Introduction: Magic Fountain

About: Sometimes I see something I I build it!

A while ago, I saw something on the internet that was really cool. It was a small fountain that appeared to flow backwards. Unfortunately, the commercially available model was quite expensive. So naturally, I built my own.

Here is the one I first saw:

As seen in my PVC Instrument Instructable, there are many things you can do with pipe and various plumbing parts. I followed the same theme with my magic fountain.

The illusion is achieved by causing water to fall as many small droplets at a constant speed/frequency. Then a strobe light is shone on the droplets. At certain frequencies of the strobe light, the droplets appear to float in the same place, or even go backwards.

I apologize for the lack of quality in my videos and photos, but I assure you if you build it, it's really cool! Cameras just don't appreciate the sheer awesomeness...

Step 1: Materials

I finished this project before I was able to actually document it, so I'll to my best to show what I did.

The materials you will need are:

-Two 6 inch PVC end caps/couplings

-About two feet of 6 inch PVC pipe

-Two 1.5 inch PVC Couplings

-Two 1 inch PVC 'T' intersection pieces

-About 3 feet of rubber surgical tubing

-PVC glue

-A drill

-Black spray paint

-An irrigation dripper (6 Liters per Hour)

-Some sort of saw. Preferably a table saw.


You will need to order the following items:

-A stroboscope (Last time I checked this one is unavailable, but try to find a similar model. A party strobe light does not work. You need a stroboscope that is designed to be used as a tool)

-A small water pump

Step 2: Preparing for Assembly

First off, my pictures show lots of extra holes because I was experimenting as I built. If you look at the pictures, the notes will tell you which holes to drill and which ones to ignore.

You will need to drill several holes in the pipes. All of the holes (except for one) need to be big enough for the surgical tubing to fit through without being constricted.

We will drill our first holes in the two 1.5 inch couplings. Drill one hole in the top center of one coupling (this is the one that can be a little smaller than the others). This coupling will act as the drain. In the other coupling you will drill a hole in the side. Remember to keep the rest of the holes big enough for the tubing to fit through.

For the top section of the fountain, you will use the 6 inch cap on top of the 6 inch pipe. You will need to drill two holes (labeled in the picture) that line up when the cap rests on the pipe. The pipe itself needs to be cut with a saw so that you can create a viewing area for the fountain.

The bottom section needs to have a slit cut instead of a hole. This is because the plug for the fountain will not fit through the hole, so the wire will need to be slid in sideways. The slit needs to line up with a slit in the pipe as well. This hole will be sealed up with silicon later on.

Step 3: Assembly

First, you need to assemble the end caps.They are very similar. You can see the pictures in the previous step. Basically, you glue the T intersection piece to the inside center of the 6 inch cap, then you glue the 1.5 inch coupling to the intersection piece. On the top piece, the T intersection just holds the cap in place. On the bottom, it acts as a drain piece. The water drips into the 1.5 inch cap, and out the side of the T intersection piece.

The top and the bottom have the following differences:

Top: Use the 6 inch cap with the holes, not the slits. Use the 1.5 inch cap with the hole drilled in the side, not the top.

Bottom: Use the 6 inch cap with the slits, not the holes. Use the 1.5 inch cap with the hole in the top, not the side.

Before you glue anything else together, you will want to spray paint the inside of the pipe black. Otherwise, it will be too bright to see the droplets.

Fountain: The fountain will sit inside the bottom 6 inch cap. Slip the wire through the slit in the side of both the cap and the pipe.

Tubing: The fountain should have come with different fittings. One is just the right size for the tubing to fit over. The tubing will also go through the slit in the side. Make sure it never gets constricted.

Gluing: The pipe needs to be glued to the bottom cap. (There is no need to glue it to the top cap) The pipe will have kind of contracted after having the front side cut out, so you will need to clamp it to the side of the cap when you glue it.

Silicon: After the glue has dried, fill in the hole for the wire and the tubing with silicon so the water will not escape.

The other end of the tubing will go through the holes in the top, and then through the hole on the side of the 1.5 inch coupling. You can now insert the irrigation dripper. Pull the tubing back so that it rests inside the coupling directly above the bottom coupling.

One last thing I did was spray paint a paper plate black. Then I cut it to fit in the bottom to cover up the reservoir.

Step 4: Having Fun With the Fountain

You will need to experiment with the stroboscope, changing the frequency etc. It's fun to see what things you can do. Sometimes I place a cup under the flow. The cup fills up while it appears that the water is rising out of it! Have fun with your new magic, gravity defying fountain!

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