Re-create Heron's Fountain From Water Bottles

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Introduction: Re-create Heron's Fountain From Water Bottles

About: I make things, lots of things.


I originally made this project for a client's website. It's a fun experiment that led to a lot of discussions about perpetual motion and free energy. My version does not exhibit either of these properties, but you may be able to fool people into thinking it does.

This is a really easy build and would be a perfect project for to build with your kids. Maybe you could even sneak in a lesson on fluid dynamics or perpetual motion?

Step 1: What You Need: Supplies

Here is a lit of the items you need for the build. As you can see, it's not a lot. The total cost of build = $2 (you can scavenge the 3 water bottles)

(3) 16.9 FL OZ Water bottles
(1) 9" length of tubing
(1) 11" length of tubing
(1) 15" length of tubing
Small amount of clay

Note: The tubing is for aquariums and is 3/16" thin wall rigid tubing. Almost any tubing would work, even flexible, but the rigid makes it really easy. I was able to pick some up at a local pet supply store for about $0.50 per foot.

Step 2: What You Need: Tools and Equipment

Here is a list of the tools needed for this instructable. All you need are very basic hand tools, and that's about it!

Scissors
Drill (hand or electric powered)
5/32" drill bit (slightly smaller than the tubing diameter)

Step 3: Make the Fountains' Reservoir

Cut (1) of the bottles in half as pictured. Keep the bottom of the bottle, you can use it to fill the fountain when we are all done.

Step 4: Drilling the Holes

You are going to need (2) holes in each cap. Start by drilling the (2) holes in (1) cap, use a piece of scrap wood to support the cap.

When you are done with the first cap, use it as a guide to drill (2) holes into the top of the remaining (2) caps. You can place the caps top-to-top when drilling the holes. Now you should have (3) caps, each with (2) holes drilled in about the same location.

Step 5: Drilling the Holes Part 2

Take one of the caps and use it as a guide to drill (2) holes in the bottom of one of the remaining intact bottles. This will end up being bottle {b} as in the diagram below.

Step 6: Connect the Tubing

Connect the tubing as in the diagram below. All connections should be airtight. If you used the 5/32 drill bit they should be. If not, just add a small amount of modeling clay to seal the openings around the tubing. I had to seal the area between bottle {a} & {b}.

Note: Make sure the tubing is at the proper heights in each bottle. These heights are Very Important.

Step 7: Add Water and Enjoy!

Now all you have to do is fill bottle {b} with water and screw the whole system together. To start your fountain, add water to the upper bottle {a}. Enjoy your homemade Heron's Fountain. It will last a surprisingly long time....but unfortunately, not forever!

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    70 Comments

    0
    Manish GiriG
    Manish GiriG

    Question 4 years ago

    water flow not continue and after some time middle botal empty ?

    0
    ericschwander
    ericschwander

    Answer 8 months ago

    the best way to get perpetual fountain is connect the two lower bottles from the top ( for pressure) and from the bottom ( for water) and have them at the same height ( not one lower than the other)... then it's fine just add some water every day (one cup is enought)

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 7 months ago

    You need the height for the water pressure to be generated and make it work. Albeit for a few minutes, as there is no such thing as perpetual motion!

    0
    ericschwander
    ericschwander

    Reply 7 months ago

    You're right the height is the key to have this work the difference between the top bottle and the lower one (water column) .... If you fill up the lower bottle with Helium or even better with dihydrogen instead of regular air, then you artificially make a depression that "raises" the water pressure and also the height of the jet on top ! I did it and it works up to 10meters with a veryyyyyy large lawer bottle... higher it's phisicaly impossible i think ! every container (bottle) has to be perfectly sealed .

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 7 months ago

    Wow! Sounds interesting. Did you document it? Take a video? Would love to see it.

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yep! It lasts a few minutes.

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 3 years ago

    Once the bottle is empty, the water stops.

    0
    MohitL2
    MohitL2

    Answer 4 years ago

    There must be air gaps in the tube, run it for a while and check.

    It is supposed to be empty after a while, it is not a perpetual machine.

    0
    44567899925654g
    44567899925654g

    2 years ago

    What is differential or integral equation for this fountain ⛲ for its longevity ????

    1
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 2 years ago

    Not sure about the math, but since I built it, I'm 100% sure it stops working after a minute os so. Just a fun physics based build.

    1
    44567899925654g
    44567899925654g

    2 years ago

    What is coefficient of free energy in this system

    Herons fountain
    Siphon
    Inverted siphon
    Bell siphon
    Equation for each and how we found that extra free energy for our work
    How much biggest model ever possible under normal conditions so we use the atmosphere pressure for making free energy for many years

    All the scientist of all world are invited to solved this problem 🔄🔄🔄🔄

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 2 years ago

    No free energy. Just a fun physics based project! There is no free energy, sorry. But I would love to see someone do all the math. That would be really interesting.

    0
    VictorB205
    VictorB205

    Question 4 years ago

    I read your article on MAKE and came here because I have been having problems building my heron fountain... So far, using the diagram you have shown as well as the classic saucer and round bottle picture related to this project, I was wondering something.... Would this work if you reversed the functions of bottle 2 and 3?

    In other words, I wanted to put the tank where the fountaon feeds from (bottle B) at the very bottom so I can try a few alterations on the resevoir (bottle C) and the fountain (bottle A).... Lile adding a couple different layers of varying sizes on the fountain....

    However, with not many sources to read on the reasonning for why Heron' fountain is built that way, I chose to ask you.... Can the resevoir be higher than the tank?

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 3 years ago

    Not sure. It's simple enough to give it a try. I would assume as long as the pressure is there, it will work, but the pressure is related to its position in the stack, so I don't think you can add multiple outlets.

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 3 years ago

    A few minutes. Sadly, not forever! Haha.

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 3 years ago

    Just a few minutes, and it depends on the size of the bottles used.

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 3 years ago

    It runs for about 3 minutes or so.

    0
    jduffy54
    jduffy54

    9 years ago on Step 7

    Unil the middle bottle is emptiedish. Basically, it's powered by water going from the middle to bottom bottle, and once the pressure it too low, it stops.

    0
    wurx
    wurx

    Reply 3 years ago

    Yep!