Are you too hot and tired to move that cereal from your downstairs kitchen to your upstairs bedroom and wish there was an easier way? Wish you had a faster method to transport your keys across your house? Are you that lazy? I know I am!
Last month at Instructables Laboratories we held our monthly Build Day and I was looking for a fairly simple project to do after the Maker Faire. So, as part of one of our in house Home Décor contests, I decided to build my own domestic version Pneumatic Transport System.
Note: Special Thanks goes out to frenzy for helping me tape my final test video, Mikeasaurus for helping me create my main image, and Randofo for pushing me to build a large scale one for the office :)
Step 1: Concept Law and Inspiration
My project is a lot simpler but the principle still holds. Instead of using industrial powerful vacuum, I instead used a domestic Shop Vac Vacuum Cleaner as my main source of propulsion and some acrylic tubing and pvc connectors and masking tape to build the frame. And it works!
Now, since this is moreover a concept, my main goal was just to prove how this method could theoretically work. If you would like to construct one for your own home to shoot, I don’t know, cereal across a room…that’d actually be really awesome.
Step 2: Materials and Tools
|Shop Vac Vacuum Cleaner (with nozzle)||Masking Tape and Duct Tape|
|Clear Acrylic Tubing (non flexible)||Hacksaw|
|PVC Pipe Mid & Screw On End Connectors||Dremel Tool|
|Mesh Lining||Measuring Tape|
|Ping Pong Balls/ Small Canister||Sand Paper (for smoothing)|
Note: Make sure the PVC Pipe Connectors fit tightly around the Clear Acrylic Tubing. Additionally, if you want to use the system to send messages, ideally you want some kind of canister that's small enough so it can move smoothly across the angled pipe connectors. I suggest using a Toy Quarter Machine or a Kinder Surprise Egg Capsule.
Step 3: Cutting and Measuring
Let's begin. First, cutting several lengths of your Clear Acrylic Tubing for the transport frame. Depending on where you want your transport system installed, you'll probably want to cut different, longer lengths than I did. However, just for this conceptual build, I made two 3 1/2' lengths and three 3' lengths (total original tube length 18' 6'').
Begin by taking some masking tape and wrapped it around the cutline of each acrylic tube. This creates a secure hold so your hacksaw won't move around too much when cutting. Finally use the Sand Paper to flatten any rough edges.
Regardless of your frame, you'll also want to cut two 12 inch lengths for the Containment Chamber.
Note: Remember to mark how far into the PVC connector piece each pipe goes. I measured 3 inches.
Step 4: Dremeling Inside PVC Connector
Because I'm using PVC Pipe Connectors instead of actually bending the pipes, as professional ones are constructed, slight adjustments need to be made.
For the 90 degree angle connector piece, depending on what you use for your container (or even if you decide to use one at all- I at first used mine to transport raw cereal to a bowl), you might need to dremel the insides so it can travel in and out smoothly. Since I opted out to use a ping pong ball for my tests, instead of a capsule, I used Instructables' 10 Speed Dremel (WOW) to hollow out the insides.
Step 5: Containment Chamber
In this next step, we will be constructing the pneumatic airlock chamber that will house the item you wish to transport, be it a ping pong ball, M&Ms, cereal etc.
Cut a small square from the Mesh Lining and wrap it around the bottom of the the 12 inch clear acrylic tubing we made in step 3. Then cap it off using the PVC Scew On End Connector. The final result will be a simplified air tight chamber with a mesh filter to prevent your objects from being sucked into the vacuum cleaner.
You'll be building two of these, one for the Beginning Chamber and an identical one for the End Chamber.
Step 6: Building the Frame
Now it's time to put everything together. Ever played with Tinker Toys when you were a kid? This is a lot like that except less colorful, less pieces and it's not a toy.
The PVC Pipe Connectors should all fit tightly and evenly around the clear acrylic tubes, so you should have no trouble connecting them together to build your simple frame. Attach the Containment Chambers at each end of your system frame, and then using Masking Tape, tape around the edge of your Shop Vac Nozzle Hose so that it can fit into the bottom of the chamber. Lastly, you can use duct tape to secure your frame to the wall.