Easy Hydraulic Machines - Engineering Projects for Kids




About: I'm a writer, maker, and educator who's on a mission to better the world through hands-on engineering projects. Check out my work: www.stem-inventions.com/

This project is easy to build, and it allows young engineers to get hands-on experience with the power and delight of a hydraulic-powered mechanism.

For easier facilitation, you can fill the syringes with air instead of water. An air pressure-powered systems are called pneumatics.

Be sure to check out Made for STEAM, an amazing collection of hands-on projects for kids!


Please message me to report broken links. All of these materials are used in my other Instructables for kids, so your purchases can be used across multiple projects.

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Hydraulic Box

The hydraulic box is more challenging to build.

Step 2: Hydraulic Drawbridge

The hydraulic bridge project was originally conceived by a student named Daniel H.D. Thanks Daniel!

Step 3: Hydraulic Fortune Teller

The hydraulic fortune teller uses the same mechanics as the Judobot to achieve 3-dimensional movement, however this project is easier to build because it doesn't need to be thoroughly designed to battle. I like the idea of a fortune teller, but the face can be replaced with other things to create a variety of projects: a catapult arm, a serving basket, cannon.... be creative!

Difficulty: 5/5
Prep work: 4/5
Setup: 2/5
Cleanup: 2/5

Education Contest

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2 People Made This Project!


  • Book Character Costume Challenge

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  • Made with Math Contest

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44 Discussions


Question 7 hours ago

How does this experiment uses the hydraulic system to operate?

Haley Hughes

Question 6 months ago

How does the hydraulic machine work??


Question 7 months ago on Step 2

What are the green boxes used here called and what material are they? Where can I find them?

1 answer

Question 9 months ago

Hi -- I am a STEAM teacher. I have the syringes and tubing, but I am having trouble finding your syringe adapters without buying a whole set. Any suggestions?

1 answer

9 months ago

Thank you so much for creating these lessons and providing such wonderful resources. It saves me so much time in program preparation for my job as a STEAM librarian.


Question 10 months ago on Introduction

Do you know where I could purchase just the syringe adapters? I have tons of syringes and tubing, so I'd prefer not to buy the set that you linked to. Thanks!

2 answers

Reply 10 months ago

Hello, sorry I don't know of any vendor that just sells the adapters. If I find one I'll be sure to link it here!


2 years ago

Thanks! This is gonna help me in my hydraulics proiect!


2 years ago

How many cc is that syringe? Please reply as soon as possible!!!

1 reply

2 years ago

great for my hydraulic robotic arm project

dragon wind

3 years ago

where do you get the cubes?

dragon wind

3 years ago

we are doing this for a project too! long live projects!!!

#love of school


3 years ago

I made this for my Physics project relating to Pressure and it came in handy! It was simple to make and yet demonstrates the topic in the most easiest way to understand. I took a wooden stick from my attic and sawed it to wooden blocks. Also, the Vinyl tubing didn't fit to the tip of the syringe, so I made a small slit at the end of it and the tube fit in! Thanks a bunch WYE_Lance!


4 years ago

can u tell me in what kind of shop do u get the cubes , stick and the vinyl tubing
please its urgent