Introduction: The Foam Making Washing Machine.

For a school project we build a foam making machine out of a washing machine. In this Instructable we would like to show you how we made it and how you can make it yourself.

The team who made this project:

  • Vervaeck G.
  • Vranckx S.
  • van Hee W.
  • Coppens J.

Step 1: What You'll Need to Complete This Project.

For foam machine.

  • A front loading washing machine - The machine doesn't need to be fully functional except for the door and the drum. The door needs to open and close without leaking, and you need to be able to spin the drum by hand.
  • 4 large wheels - To move the machine easily.
  • A scrap piece of wood preferably water resistent with the same size as the base of the washing machine.

For cleaning gun.

  • A 2000 mm long wooden beam, size 65 x 40mm.
  • Air brush pistol with water reservoir.

Compressed air system.

  • 1 X 1/2"F - 1/2"F Valve.
  • 2 X 1/2"M - 1/2"F 90° Corner piece.
  • 1 X 1/2"M - 1/2"M 60mm Straight pipe.
  • 1 X 1/2"M - 1/2"M 120mm Straight pipe.
  • 1 X 1/2"F - 1/2"F - 1/2"F T-piece
  • 2 X 1/2"M - 14mm Hose connector.
  • 2 X 1/4"M - 8mm Hose connector.
  • 1m 12mm/18mm Reinforced hose.
  • 5m 8mm/13mm Reinforced hose.

Water delivery system.

  • Clear storage box.
  • 1 X 1/2"F - 1/2"F Valve.
  • 2 X 1/2"M - 1/2"F 90° Corner piece.
  • 1 X 1/2"M - 1/2"M 60mm Straight pipe.
  • 2 X 1/2"M - 14mm Hose connector.
  • 0.5m 12mm/18mm Reinforced hose.

For foam maze.

  • Plywood sheet.
  • Acrylic pane.
  • Square wood beam.

Machinery & tools:

  • Miter saw.
  • Table saw or circular saw.
  • Jig saw.
  • Band saw.
  • Compressor.
  • Cordless drill.
  • Pillar drill.
  • Welder.
  • Router.
  • Sander
  • monkey wrench.
  • Pliers.
  • Sandpaper.
  • Screwdrivers.
  • Bits and drill-bits.
  • Pencil.
  • Measuring tape.


  • Spray paint.
  • Silicone + gun.
  • Wood glue.
  • Various nuts and bolts.
  • Various screws.
  • Teflon tape.

Step 2: Making the Washing Machine Mobile. (This Step Is Optional)

  1. Remove the concrete counterweight from the machine.
  2. Cut a piece of water resistant wood to size so it has the same size as the base of the machine.
  3. Mount the piece of wood to the underside of the machine.
  4. Mark the location of the four wheels and their mounting holes.
  5. Screw the wheels to the four corners of the base plate.

Step 3: Changing the Glass in the Door to Acrylic.

  1. Remove the door from the machine.
  2. Unscrew the two parts of the door to release the glass window.
  3. Mark an acrylic pane with the same diameter as the glass window, and cut it out using a jig saw.
  4. Place the acrylic in the door frame and screw the door frame closed.
  5. Using silicone make the connection watertight.
  6. With the acrylic installed it will be hard to open the door, to solve this drill a hole trough the door frame and handle. Then insert a threaded rod and screw a nut on the end, so if you pull the rod you'll pull the handle and the door will open.
  7. Cut a hole in the acrylic pane where the foam will exit the machine.

Step 4: Adding a Handle to Spin the Drum.

1. Take a thin piece of wood and cut it to the right size so it can be tightened with 2 threaded rods (M6) between the drum and the spinning wheel.
2. Drill 2 holes (7mm) at both sides of that piece of wood.
3. Take a piece of metal that is 2 or 3 mm thick and cut it to the same size as the piece of wood. Also drill 2 holes in the same way as the piece of wood.
4. Take a beam (3 cm x 5 cm) and cut off a 5 cm piece. Drill 2 holes in the same place like in the wood and the metal, and another hole in the middle of the beam to hang the handle on.
5. For the handle we use a threaded rod (M8) with a round piece of wood around it. Cut 2 pieces of a round beam (15 cm) and drill a 10mm hole in the middle of the pieces.
6. Assemble all the pieces like on the pictures.

Step 5: Installing a Compressed Air System.

This system will provide air from any compressor to both the drum and the cleaning pistol.

  1. Screw the two 90° corner pieces into the valve.
  2. Screw a 12mm hose connector on one end and a 8mm hose connector on the other end of the T-piece.
  3. Cut the longer pipe (120mm) so it reaches into the drum's encasing (white plastic) without touching the drum (stainless steel) itself.
  4. Once the pipe is cut use a scrap piece of metal to weld the end shut. Then drill a small hole 3-4mm into the now closed end of the pipe.
  5. Place the valve and the two 90° corners assembly, on top of the machine in the center and mark the heart to heart distance between the two corners. Making sure one of the two will be roughly in the middle of the drum underneath, and the other one more towards the front of the machine.
  6. Then drill the two holes so the 1/2" pipes can pass trough.
  7. Mark the drum trough the hole that is directly above the middle of the drum. Then drill trough the plastic of the drum.
  8. Screw the pipe with the small hole onto the valve assembly.
  9. Insert the piece trough the wood and into the drum casing.
  10. Screw the T-piece into the other side of the 90° corners with a 60mm pipe between them.
  11. Mount the hoses to both sides of the T-piece.
  12. The 8mm hose is connected to the gun permanently.
  13. The 12mm hose is connected to the compressed air inlet at the back of the machine.
  14. Add the wooden handle to the valve, start by cutting the new wooden handle to length. Then using the band saw cut a notch into the end of the wood where the valves handle will insert. Drill two holes trough the wood and then trough the stainless steel handle of the valve. Once this is done mount everything together using threaded rods and nuts.

Step 6: Water Supply.

Install a see-trough container to add water to the machine.

  1. First drill a hole in the container you selected so a 1/2" pipe can pass trough.
  2. Attach a valve to this hole using a 1/2"M - 3/4"F copper reducer and 2 rubber o-rings, and on the other side of the valve screw in a 14mm hose connector.
  3. Make a hole in the top of the machine so another 1/2" pipe can pass through and release the water into the soap dispenser. This is often in the front left of the machine.
  4. Into this hole insert and glue a piece consisting off: a 6cm 1/2"M - 1/2"M pipe, a 90° corner 1/2"F - 1/2"F and a 14mm hose connector.
  5. Now attach the hose between the 2 connectors.
  6. Test fill the container and test the system.
  7. Attach a wooden handle to the valve handle in the exact same way as in the previous step.

Step 7: Building the Cleaning Gun.

  • The front grip.
    1. Cut two 10cm pieces from the beam.
    2. Drill a hole trough the center of the two pieces of wood, with a diameter that is the same as the diameter of the compressed air gun's barrel.
    3. Glue the two pieces together so you get a 20cm piece, make sure that the barrel hole is lined up.
    4. Using a band saw cut out the rough shape of the grip.
    5. Then refine the shape of the grip using a sanding machine.
    6. Slide the grip over the barrel.
  • Making the handle.
    1. Cut of a 30cm piece.
    2. Trace the guns profile onto the wood.
    3. Using a lathe, route a void that fits the handle.
    4. Next add a small piece of wood to the handle to cover it completely.
    5. Sand all pieces of the handle until they feel comfortable in your hand.
    6. Using yet another piece of wood make a piece that fits between the grip and the handle.
    7. Glue all pieces of the gun together, once dry sand everything until it has an ergonomic shape.
  • Painting the gun.
    1. Cover all bare metal parts with painters tape.
    2. Using a spray paint can, spray all visible wood parts.
    3. Once dry remove painters tape.

Step 8: The Foam Maze.

  1. Building the collection box.
    1. Cut a piece of 6mm plywood to size 60cm x 120cm.
    2. Using a router, make 2 grooves on the long sides of the base, 2cm from the edge of the plywood. The thickness of the groove should be the same as your chosen acrylic pane.
    3. Make a third groove along the bottom edge, the same thickness as the plywood.
    4. Cut the acrylic to size.
    5. Out of the same plywood cut the end plate, 60cm x 40cm.
    6. Glue the acrylic and plywood into the grooves and to each other.
    7. Using silicone make the edges watertight.

  2. Making the uprights and panels of the maze.

    1. Using a router table cut 4 grooves in a square beam of wood. The grooves should be the thickness of the plywood you'll use next, and there should be one on every side of the piece of wood in the center. The grooves have to extend over the entire length of the piece of wood.
    2. Now cut this beam to equal length pieces, about 8cm in length.
    3. Using the plywood you based your grooves on, make little gates that are 7cm by 14cm. These gates will be used to block and route the foam and water.
    4. Now using the gates and measurements mark each location of a peg and drill a hole in the center.
    5. Now screw the pegs to the plywood from underneath.
    6. Lastly cut a hole in each gate to make it easier to extract.

  3. Making a stand.

    1. Use a 3.5cm by 3.5cm wood beam, cut two pieces to length so they will position the start of the maze just beneath the door of the washing machine. Cut one side of these legs at an angle so they stand straight.
    2. Add one or two extra beams to make the legs sturdier.

Step 9: Using the Machine.

In this video we show you how to use the foam machine.