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Joy and water works great. I have had bubbles travel nearly 455 feet, distance from the house on left field line out side of Wrigley Field to near the home plate. You can see the house in League of their own.
Part of the game with turning is that you end up with kindling. The tool with flat surfaces actually increases control and using carbide cutters and taking small cuts all reduce catch potential. As to using brass, I am cheaper and use copper pipe for ferrules. Good tutorial overall.
Instead of a window you could use a clear pipe mounted through the top of the bucket and fill that so that when the feed level drops through the lid of the bucket you will see it. I would think that a 4 inch clear pipe a foot or so long above the bucket would double the feed amount and give a clear view of the feed level.