West Frisian Internia Fons Domum (Indoor Fountain)



Introduction: West Frisian Internia Fons Domum (Indoor Fountain)

One way or another, I find fountains soothing, however I have no room for a fountain in my garden. On the internet I found a small, 3 volt, solar panel water pump and since I still had a glass dropper and a 30mm wide test tube lying around, I got an idea. As a result, I now have an ' indoor fountain" added to my collection of ' mad scientist ' devices which can also function as a weird Steampunk lamp.

Step 1: Materials, Tools and Protection Needed


Note Before you start:
In my initial design, I used a metal screw lid which will eventually rust and pollute your fluorescent fluid.
I corrected this later on. The photo’s in this instructable however, still show a metal screw lid.

Small Jar preferably with a plastic screw lid
a few plywood pieces, 3mm, approx. A5 size
50x coffee stirrers, 140 x 5 x 3 mm
2x cotton candy sticks
1x Small 3 Volts solar water pump (internet)
1x Short piece of 4mm inner diameter rubber tube
1x Battery Holder including two 18650 batteries (batteries salvaged from an old laptop battery) and battery charger
2x LM2596 DC-DC Step Down Module also known as ‘buck convertor’ (internet)
1x Industrial Rocker Switch, TYPE 1021 ON/OFF AC 15A 250V (internet)
1x Small Led Reflector
1x 5mm UV-Led
1x glass dropper
1x polymer clay like ‘Fimo’, any color will do
1x hand soap
1x Test Tube diameter 30mm, long 200mm
1x rubber sink plug
1x Messing Tube, inner diameter 2mm, outer diameter 3mm
1x Messing Tube, inner diameter 5mm, outer diameter 6mm
2x old Marker (1 yellow, 1 green)
1x bottle cleaning alcohol 70%
1x brass E14 lamp socket from an old lamp
1x small connector (male and female part ; I removed one from and old circuit board)
1x 8 mm (inner diameter) eyelet
1x brass E27 lamp socket from an old industrial lamp
A few pieces of isolating ‘shrinking tube/wire sleeve’
1x old brown shoe lace

And tools and protection like:

A sharp hobby knife
Silicone kit
A cutting mat
Wood- and Superglue
Brown shoe polish
Soldering iron, solder and solder paste
wood drill 3mm
‘one time use’ rubber gloves
small screwdriver
1x HSS Cone Drill Hole Cutter 4-32mm or another hole cutter
Dremel tool with ' diamond' cutting disc
Dust Mask, Cutting Gloves and Eye Protection

Step 2: Preparing the E14 Socket

Protect yourself! Use Eye Protection and Cutting Gloves!

Cut the solder and the brass plate on top of the glass part of the E14 tube with an old cutting plier and carefully break and remove the glass with an old screwdriver and the cutting plier making sure that the brass part of the E14 socket stays intact. Glue the 8mm (inner diameter) eyelet using super glue on top of the just created hole and fill the brass connector with the polymer clay. Take a screwdriver and make a hole in the center of the polymer clay from the bottom to the top. The diameter of this hole must be approximately the size of the diameter of the dropper. When done, put hand soap on the outside of the dropper and carefully push the dropper in the hole in the polymer clay. If you feel that the dropper is going to stick to the clay, remove the dropper, put hand soap on the outside of the dropper and try again. The purpose of this is to create a ‘tight fit’ hole for the dropper. Use a knife to cut away excessive clay at the top and bottom. When done, remove the dropper carefully. Put the brass tube with the clay in a preheated oven for 15 minutes at 110 degrees Celsius. The clay will harden. When cooled, the clay has shrunk a tiny bit, so you have to use a small rat-tail file to widen the hole to make the dropper fit again. The bottom of the dropper must then be sanded ‘flat’.

Step 3: Preparing the Lid

Cut several 3mm outer diameter brass tubes: 4x 15 mm length and 4x 20 mm length. Determine the center of the lid. Measure the diameter of the dropper and drill a hole in the center of the lid with the same diameter as the dropper. Take the E14 socket and place it center over the hole in the screw lid. Use a waterproof marker to draw the outline of the E14 socket on the screw lid. Now drill 3mm holes (for the eight brass tubes) just outside the draw circle at the following positions: 0, 45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270 and 315 degrees. Make sure that the E14 socket fits in between these brass tubes later on when the brass tubes are positioned and also make sure that the test tube fits around these brass tubes.

Step 4: Preparing the Rubber Sink Plug and Add the Brass Parts

Test fit the Test tube to make sure it fits in the Step rubber sink stop. If it fits, then continue. If it doesn’t fit, try to find a rubber sink stop that fits or use the alternative method using a cork. (see: West Frisian Internia Fons Domum 1.pdf)

Important Note: Before you start, I made an error here which you can correct!
Don’t cut a circle out of the rubber sink plug, just remove the metal ring and use a sharp knife cut the hump to make the rubber sink plug flat. Continue as follows...

Drill a 3mm hole in the center of the rubber sink plug. Then use alcohol to degrease the top the rubber sink plug and the top of the screw lid. When the alcohol has evaporated, use super glue to glue the rubber sink plug on top of the screw lid and use the holes to center the rubber sink plug while glueing. The opening of the rubber sink plug must point away from the lid. Then carefully drill the holes in the rubber sink plug using the holes in the screw lid as a guide. When done, sand the bottom part of the screw lid flat and use spray paint to prevent the bottom of the lid from rusting (as said earlier, it is better to use a plastic screw lid because the metal screw lid will rust eventually). Now carefully place the brass tubes and test fit the dropper. Be careful during this process and although superglue is used, you may accidentally separate the rubber sink plug from the screw lid when applying too much force when inserting the tubes and dropper. The dropper and the brass tubes should fit without dropping from their holes. The rubber sink plug helps to keep the dropper and the brass tubes firmly in place and prevents leakage. Use very little hand soap on the dropper and use superglue to glue the brass socket to the lid making sure not to glue the dropper! If all fits, carefully remove the dropper. You van now test fit the test tube once more before continuing. When removing the test tube, hold the rubber sink stop to keep it in place.

In my initial design I removed a circle from the inner part of the sink stop. In my improved design I only drilled holes in the rubber sink stop. Rubber is a very difficult material to drill holes in, so take your time.

To get a better picture: See : West Frisian Internia Fons Domum 1.pdf

You can also use a bit of silicone kit around the brass tubes and the rubber sink stop (light blue in the drawing) to delay the forming of rust around the drill holes in the screw lid.

Step 5: Add the Solar Water Pump

Drill a hole in the screw lid, somewhat bigger than the diameter of the lead of the solar water pump. Put the lead through the hole from and make a small knot on top of the lid to prevent the lead from sliding back. Cut a 6 cm piece from the silicone tube and on one end, add the dropper. This may cause some difficulties. I used a telephone plier by inserting the tip of the plier tot the tube and widen the diameter tube just before adding the dropper. When done, add the tube to the outlet of the water pump. Now carefully add the dropper to its position in the lid (it should stick out approximately 1, 5 centimeter from the bottom of the lid) and be careful not to remove the brass socket. Screw the lid on the Jar. It should like a bit like this: See photos

Step 6: Creating the Base Construction of the Wooden Box

I know how to make simple, easy to build wooden boxes. For this project I wanted to try something else.

The measurements for my wooden box are given in West Frisian Internia Fons Domum 2.pdf, but you may have to adjust the dimensions to make your Jar fit.

I started with drawing a rectangle and a half circle at the end of the rectangle twice. Both parts were cut and used for the base and the cover. Then two circles were drawn, the first circle 6mm smaller than the half circle used for the base and the second circle in the center of the first circle, also 6mm smaller than the first circle. I repeated this step. When cut, you have two 3mm wide wooden rings. These rings were both cut in half, creating four half circles. (You only need three of them.)

Each half circle was glued to the base and the cover at 3mm distance from the rounded edge and the cotton candy sticks were cut to fit and also glued to the remaining edges of the base and cover, also at 3mm distance from the cover (See PDF2 to get the picture). Then the same shape was created, but this time not glued to any other wood part.

You may however glue small wood pieces to this shape at the point where the ends are glued together to strengthen this fragile construction. When glueing this part to the wall parts, make sure that, if you used small wood pieces to strengthen this shape, the wood pieces point to the inside of the box because the cover rests on this shape when the box is created. I use this method to save material. If you have enough material lying around, you can also decide to create this shape in one piece which is much stronger.

When Dry it was time to decide where to cut a 32mm circle in the cover. I placed the Jar in the center of the half circle, made sure with a carpenter hook that the lid was still inside the 3mm from the edge and determined the center. A 32mm circle was then drawn from that center and cut out.

For the walls, I cut 50, 3mm thick coffee stirrers in such a way that I got 50 rectangle pieces of wood with a length of 95 mm. On five coffee stirrers, a straight line was drawn at 3mm from a short edge. This will be used as an inside top marker for the fragile construction which needs to be glued just below this line.

To make glueing easy I measured the distance on the right and left side and calculated how many coffee stirrers are needed to cover this distance. Then the position of the first and last coffee stirrer was marked on the front and back side of the box (the rounded part is going to be the left side) and glued in place using the base, the fragile construction and eight small wood clamps. Make sure that the fragile construction is glued to the coffee stirrers just below the 3mm top markings. When dry, the fifth coffee stirrer with a mark was glued to the center of the half circle, also making sure that the fragile construction is glued to the coffee stirrer just below the 3mm top marking.

Step 7: Finalizing the Wooden Construction of the Box

With the base finished I started glueing the 95mm Coffee stirrers for the front wall to the base. When Dry, I glued a 30 x 50 mm, 2mm thick wood piece on the inside (lower left corner when seen from the front) to strengthen the place where the on/off rocker switch is placed. Then I glued the remaining coffee stirrers, working my way around, resulting in an already nice, but still rough looking box. The inner edge of the cover needed a little sanding to make it nicely fit. Then I sanded the whole box, making sure that all edges are smooth, resulting in a good looking wooden box! For the rocker switch you must drill a 10mm hole at 15 mm from the lower left corner and 25mm from the bottom. Use some sticky tape on the in- and outside of the box at the place of the drill hole to prevent the wood from damaging when drilling the hole.

Step 8: Making the UV-Lamp Cover

For the lamp hood, I took and E27 Brass Socket from an old industrial lamp and where the V-opening is, I soldered a 20mm long, 5mm wide tube on the inside perpendicular to the brass of the socket. A similar brass tube was added to the cover in the middle of the rectangular part. For the next step, I cut two leather bands and glued them to the inside of the brass socket. The Leather is used to keep the E27 socket upright when placed over the test tube making sure that the UV-light is shining in the tube.

The length of these bands may vary depending on the leather that is used. Maybe you need an extra band if the leather is thin. For this reason you have to figure out yourself what length to use, but this is an easy task.

I took two .14mm thick 210mm long leads and soldered an UV-led to one side. Then the leads were guided through the brass tube in the E27 socket from the inside to the outside. I cut one end of an old brown shoe lace made a second cut at approximately 22cm distance from the first cut. The leads were guide through this shoe lace part. I put the shoe lace in the brass tube and used two tiny drops of superglue to keep the shoe lace in position while making sure that the leads were not glued to the inside of the shoe lace. A small Led reflector was added to the UV-led and glued to the inside of the brass socket. The remaining leads were pulled back carefully through the shoe lace and the brass tube in the cover. Now I put the shoe lace in the second brass tube and also used two tiny drops of superglue to keep the shoe lace in position while making sure that the leads were not glued to the inside of the shoe lace. As a final step I cut the leads and at the cut, I soldered a small connector (the male and female part) that I salvaged from an old circuit board to the leads.

Step 9: Connecting the Electronic Components

Just have a look at West Frisian Internia Fons Domum 3.pdf to see how all electric parts have to be connected and adjusted. Solder and or connect the wires as shown in this Pdf.

Important Note:
Adjust the output voltage of both LM2569 boards before soldering the led and the Water pump leads to these boards. Use a voltmeter to check the voltage adjustment(s). If you forget this step, you may damage the led and/or the water pump. Also make sure not to look in the (bright) UV-led directly (or any other bright light source). Although UV-light is not the same as Laser light, it can seriously harm (as any other bright light can) your eyes. So be warned and be careful! Handling and working with a (bright) UV-light as used in this project is your own responsibility!

Step 10: Making the Green Fluorescent Fluid

Disassemble the yellow and green marker and put the ink holding part, the plastic straw with the fabric containing the ink, a side. Throw the other pieces away. Put the rubber gloves on and cut both plastic straws over their length and remove the fabric with the ink. Put the yellow and green fabric with the ink in a jar filled with 120cc water and let it soak for a few minutes. Squeeze as much ink out of the fabric as you can. As a result, you will have a bright green fluorescent fluid. Now add 80cc 70% alcohol to get a 60/40 mix. If you don’t have enough, just add more water and alcohol. The alcohol and the UV-light in this ‘closed environment’ should kill bacteria and prevent the liquid to become polluted with germs.

Important Note:
It is better to be safe than sorry, so it is wise to remove the liquid when you are not using this device for a long time or to change the liquid frequently when you are using this device, simply to prevent bacteria and germs to grow in the liquid. Don’t rely on the alcohol and UV-light. Cleaning this device and changing this liquid frequently is your own responsibility!

Step 11: Adding It All Together

Fill The Jar with the Green Fluorescent fluid and screw the lid back on top. Put the Test Tube on the rubber sink stop and the batteries in the battery holder. Connect the UV-led and turn it all on. Adjust the flow of the water pump using the adjustment screw on the LM2596 board. When satisfied, turn it all off and use brown shoe polish to colorize the housing and cover. When done, place the rocker switch and all other components in the wooden box. The components fit between the Jar and the left wall of the wooden box when the rocker switch is in place and the battery housing with the batteries is inserted first. There is little room left for the two LM2569 circuit boards, but it will fit. Add a piece of thin insulating material around these circuit boards to prevent a shortcut when accidentally touching the rocker switch contacts. Put the cover over the test tube, connect the UV-led using the small connector and place the cover on the box. You’re done. Another strange mad scientist device is created. If you want, you can add ornaments etc. to give the box a more technical, vintage and/or Victorian look.


Baron Atmo van der Sfeer

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