Introduction: The Vortex Bubble

How to make a vortex ring using bubbles and a small vortex cannon.


  • 2 rubber bands
  • 1 pvc pipe
  • Tubing for air pump
  • Air pump
  • 3 balloons
  • 1 plastic cup
  • 1 fish tank or clear tub
  • Scissors
  • Hand drill
  • 1 small acrylic sheet (around 15cm x 15 cm)

Step 1:

Follow the instructions on how to set-up your water pump.

Step 2: Creating the Aerator

Measure and the pvc pipe to have the length about 3-7 cm shorter than the width of the tank. Cut the pvc pipe at the mark.

Step 3:

Mark holes about 0.5cm apart and align diagonally along the length of the pipe (look at picture for an example). The distance between the end points should be about 0.7 cm apart (along the width). Drill holes on the marked areas. Vary the hole sizes.

Step 4:

Take a balloon and wrap it around one end of the pipe. Cut the balloon where there’s enough to tie it at the end of the pipe.

Step 5:

Take another balloon and snip a small slit for the tube to be snug in the center of it, snip off the small end of the balloon. Turn the balloon inside-out with the tube still attached. Tie the tube to the balloon using a rubber band. Turn the balloon back inside-in, wrap it on the other end of the pvc pipe.

Step 6:

Fill another balloon with rocks to create a weight to hold down one end of the pipe. Tie the weight onto the balloon-tube piece with rubber band. (look at pic for example)

Step 7:

Make sure the tank is filled with water 2/3 of the way. Test the pump by inserting the pvc pipe aerator into the water and turn on the pump.

-keep the weighted side on the bottom of the tank, lift and rotate the other side of the pipe until bubbles are coming out of all holes (notice how bubbles come out of all or most of the holes).

Step 8:

Once you found all the bubbles, measure how high that side is off the bottom of the tank. Take the measurement and trace stand for the pipe using an acrylic sheet. (trace circumference of the pipe above where you marked the height, cut out the stand and attach the end of pipe where there isn’t tubing).

Step 9: Creating the Vortex Cannon

Cut the third latex balloon and remove the smaller end. Take the bigger piece and wrap it around the top of the cup to make a lid-like component (assistance might be required to hold the cup)

Step 10:

Trace the inner concave circle already embedded at the bottom of the cup. Take the x-acto knife or thumbtack and create a slit at the center of the circle. Cut out the circle with scissors, make it round as possible.

Step 11:

Place the pipe parallel to the width of the tank. Place 1/3 of the length of the tank (or anywhere of your choice). Turn on the pump

1. Place the cannon about 1-3 cm away from the bubbles

2. Subtly swing back with the wrist and swing and push forward with enough force to create a vortex bubble with the bubbles coming from the pipe.

It should look similar to the video except you're moving the vortex cannon with a swing and push. Also using air particles instead of a colored substance.