Fun toy with mister jets helps kids beat the heat.
This project owes a big debt to the original KidWash instructable by discontinuity. When I saw it I knew right away it was going on the "must build" list for summer. A great combination: simple project, lots of fun for the kids!
I headed down to the PVC section of the local home improvement store to pick up supplies. While browsing the adjacent sections for interesting stuff I noticed the micro-irrigation section and inspiration struck: KidWash with mister jets!
The modification worked great. We turned it on and kids from up and down the block started showing up to help with the testing. It's a lot of fun on foot, but my kids also get a blast out of riding their bikes through it (just like dad at the carwash).
Pictures courtesy of J. Good Photography
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Step 1: Get Your Parts
Head to your local hardware store for the following 3/4" pipe and fittings:
2 ten foot lengths of PVC
3 end caps
1 threaded female hose connector (slip fit)
2 elbow joints (90 degree)
2 T connections
1 pack quarter circle mister jets (12 count)
If the option of chaining your KidWash with other water toys interests you, just pick two end caps and add:
1 threaded male hose connector (slip fit)
1 hose cap
Note: you want the PVC hose connectors, not the more expensive metal fittings. Don't give up if they're not with the other PVC fittings, I found them by the sprinkler parts.
The misters used here are from www.mrlandscaper.com, a brand carried by Lowes.
Step 2: Get Your Tools
pen or pencil
5/32" drill bit
Step 3: Cut Pipes
Time to cut. You will need the following sections and sizes:
2 at 5 feet
1 at 4 feet
4 at 18 inches
Cut one of the 10' lengths in half so that you have two 5' sections.
Then, cut a 4' section from the second one. Cut the remaining 6' section in half and then each of the 3' sections in half.
Step 4: Make a Center Line
We want all the misters pointing more or less in the same direction, so start out by making a center line on the three longest pieces of pipe. Hold two pieces of pipe next to one another and use one as a guide to mark the other. The angle you hold your pen/pencil at isn't important, just keep it the same and you'll end up with a straight line.
Step 5: Mark Locations for Misters
I had 12 misters, so I decided to put four on each side and four along the top. If you've got the same setup, measure 9" from the end of each pipe, mark it, and then mark three more locations at 10" intervals. This will center the four misters along the top, and provide nice coverage on the sides.
Step 6: Drill Holes
I found that a 5/32" hole was perfect for my mister jets, but check yours before drilling holes. The mister jets have threads and a taper that increases as they go in. The bit should leave a hole that allows the bottom to slide in easily, but engages the threads where they start. With the right combination you'll need to bear down to get the first threads to "bite", but after the first or second turn they'll cut their own threads into the pipe for a tight fit.
Step 7: Assemble Upright Pipes
Make sure there are no PVC chips or other debris in the pipes before assembly. Fit the drilled pipes together to form a "U" shape with all the drilled holes facing up. The drilled holes on the side pieces should be closest to the end with elbow joint (near cross piece). Once you're satisfied glue up the "U", making sure the holes stay facing up.
Step 8: Screw in Mister Jets
Screw the mister jets into the holes. You'll need to bear down at first to get the mister jet threads to bite, but after a turn or two they'll burrow into the pipe just fine. When you get down to the last turn or so, align the jet so it faces inwards. Angle the jets near the corners towards the center so that the water goes where the action is.
Step 9: Glue Base
Now that the "U" is glued up and has the misters are installed, we need a base to stand it up on. Two options are pictured below. The left one is the default setup, the right one has the option to support chaining. Check the fit of all your parts and glue them up.
Step 10: Attach Base
Assemble the "U" and the base without glue. Make sure the base pieces are parallel with each other, and perpendicular to the plane of the "U". You can place the base pieces on either edge of a sidewalk for a handy reference before gluing it up. Line the "T" pieces up with each side of a crack, then make the base pieces parallel to the edges of the sidewalk and you're ready for glue.
Step 11: Try It Out
Let the glue dry before testing. I know, it's hard. Clean up while you wait, it'll be dry in no time.
Turn the water on low enough that you get a little spray from all the misters. Check and adjust the direction of the misters to direct the water towards the center.
Turn it on full and look for leaks around the base of the misters. If you find one, you can use a wrap of teflon tape around the base of the mister to stop it.
This project uses 12 misters rated at 10 gallons per hour, for a total of 120 gallons per hour. I don't know how that compares with other water toys, but in an era of increasing water restrictions, getting the most out of the water you do use is a good thing.
Step 12: KidWash Times Two -- Optional Chaining
If one kid wash is fun, then two must be more fun, right?
The pictures below show a hose connecting the two, but if you want them right next to one another you can connect them directly together. If you're going this route, make sure the connectors are going to match up before gluing the base to the second unit.