Author Options:

Suggestions for high pressure/velocity pumping of diluted tempera paint. Answered

I've received the request to build a theatrical prop that should be able to shoot a diluted tempera paint 30- 50' from the gun. Any suggestions for where to begin looking for a pump capable of that kind of pressure or velocity to shoot a relatively narrow stream great distances? I don't think water pumps would be able to handle the extra viscosity of the diluted paint. This would not be aimed at anyone, but over a dance crowd. Amazingly, people pay money for this experience.  Anyone know what the guy with this green paint is using? Looks like a miniature fire hose.

Many thanks for any suggestions! Instructables members are a talented and diverse bunch! 

Everyone's answers have been very helpful. Through your suggestions and additional research we have determined that portable fire fighting pumps are the simplest method for moving a diluted paint solution great distances. The suggestions for using pressurized bursts of paint have also been helpful. Thanks everyone! 


For a blast effect, essentially you'd build an air cannon that pressurized paint tank briefly, the air comes in at the top, the pressure pushes the paint out the bottom or up a nozzle that reaches near the bottom and goes out the top.

A similar system can be used slower too, like a hose, you'd need two large air reservoirs, one to hold plenty of pressurised air and one that holds paint and air. A compressor feeds the air tank, preferably a relatively high capacity one, keeping the air tank at a reasonably high pressure will help with sustaining the paint flow.

The air tank should have a pressure regulator between it and the paint tank, set to the best pressure for hosing people with. The air tank keeps the paint tank topped up and you stick a ball valve on top and another on the end of the hose. (if the one on the end of the hose sticks it'll go less nightmarishly wrong - ball valves are simple but might eventually jam with paintiness)

the bottom picture almost looks like air cannons that are pretty well much blasting it out like a mist.

not sure what would be best for the streams of paint. Pressure washer with a larger orifice zero degree tip? . electric pump with a hose and reduced nozzel? Super Soaker water guns that are washed out quickly after each use?.

If you check out "Day Glow" on youtube, you might get some more ideas from videos people have posted on there.