Intro: A Three Head Sprinkler for Odd Lawns
I think I achieved all of my stated goals with this project.
Step 1: Materials:
Step 2: Tools:
Miter saw (could also use a hacksaw or PVC cutter)
Sandpaper (for de-burring the cut pipe ends)
Adjustable wrench or pliers
Step 3: Cut the Pipe:
I have used a hacksaw to cut PVC pipe before, and it works. Not fun, but it works. Then I read an Instructable that said you can cut PVC with a power miter saw using a standard wood blade. I tried it, and it works (and it’s fun, too). I cut 5 x 2” lengths, 6 x 3” lengths, and 6 x 6.5” lengths of pipe. Use the sandpaper to clean the burrs off of the cut ends of the pipe sections.
Step 4: Dry Fit:
With any plumbing project, it is always a good idea to test fit the fixtures to make sure everything will go together smoothly. When I saw all of the printed markings on the pipe, I decided to be careful when I glued everything to put the best side up.
Step 5: Glue Up:
In a well-ventilated area, use the PVC primer and cement according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply primer to both the outside of the pipe end and the inside of the fitting that it will join. Apply cement to both the outside of the pipe end and the inside of the fitting and then push the pipe into the fitting, making sure to align the joints to match your dry fit test. A little twist as you push the pipe into the fitting will ensure that the cement covers the entire mating surface and creates a watertight bond. The joints will be set after several minutes, but the cement takes longer to fully cure. I let the bases cure overnight before putting water through them.
Step 6: Cut the Hose:
I had a cheap garden hose that the builder left when they laid the sod for our house. I cut pieces off to use in other projects, but I still had the ends and 30’ or so of hose. Using the utility knife, cut the hose into 2 x 14’ lengths and an end that includes the female garden hose connecter. The end with the connector can be just long enough to fit over the insert fitting, or several feet long like the one I used. Whatever you have to work with.
The spray heads are designed to throw water in a 15 foot radius. When the hose is connected and streched out, the spray heads will be about 15 feet apart. This will give good, even coverage.
Step 7: Thread Connections:
I have read that you really shouldn’t use Teflon tape on threaded PVC joints. The tape puts extra pressure on the threads that may cause the female fitting to fail over time. You should actually use pipe thread dope that is formulated for plastic threads. I found some at the hardware store next to the PVC primer and cement, but decided that the risk of failure of a threaded fitting in this system was low. More importantly, the effects of a failure would be a small puddle in the grass (as opposed to massive drywall damage, mildew, and other water-related issues if this was inside the home). I can live with that.
Wrap a short length of tape around the male threads, then screw into the female fitting. Use a wrench or pliers to snug it up. Be careful, you can strip the threads out if you really go crazy.
Step 8: Hose Connections:
Slide a hose clamp over the end of each garden hose section and then push the hose over the insert fitting. Adjust the position of the hose clamp so that it is in the middle of the hose-insert connection and tighten the screw. Be careful, you can crush the fitting if you really go crazy.
When I started designing this project, I was going to use a PVC fitting that went from a garden hose threaded connector to a 3/4" slip fit. The hose would be cut to length with a garden hose threaded connector attached to each end. Then I priced out that option, and found that it was made of unobtainium, since it would have at least doubled the cost of the project.
Step 9: Use:
I don’t think I really need to include how to use this, but I want to be thorough. Connect the female garden hose connector to the garden hose attached to the spigot. Spread out the 3 sprinkler heads; the hose connecting them will set the distance. Turn on the water. Adjust the direction of the spray. Sit back and contemplate your next project as your lawn becomes a verdant carpet.