Building a tornado in a bottle

vortex-tornado-machine

Recreate the look of a tornado by building this water vortex art piece. The components that go into it are all very simple and can be found in your recycling bin with the exception of a motor and a way to drive it. The hard part is going to be getting to the point where you don’t have any leaks.

[Ixisuprflyixi] went with an empty salsa bottle to house the vortex. It’s a pleasant shape for the project since it’s both tall and narrow and it’s got a bit of a sexy curve to it. The base of the machine is a plastic bottle which looks like it might have been for Metamucil, but we’re not sure.  The important part is that it needs to be made from HDPE, as a portion of the container will be used to make the impeller. That’s the part that attaches to the motor shaft inside of the container. Give it a spin and you’ve got yourself a tornado in a bottle. See it in action after the jump.

This is a much quicker and easier version than the one we saw [Ben Krasnow] build. He ended up doing some repair work on the gasket that seals the motor shaft. It’s an interesting read if you are thinking of building one of these yourself.

[Thanks Mark]

14 thoughts on “Building a tornado in a bottle

    1. Use a mag drive like in a lab stirrer. Bar magnet on the motor below and another in the bottle. Way simpler to make and zero leaks.

          1. Yep, I had a similar one, and it too had a mag drive. With a surprisingly weak magnet and motor. I guess it doesn’t take much force to eventually get the water moving, when there’s nothing there to slow it down.

  1. Very pretty, makes me want one. although I would have to find a way to make it silent and prevent the light from bleeding though the base. Maybe placing a container within a container then having a layer of insolation would work. Cool stuff, I will have to give the build a look at.

  2. I bought a tornado machine from Tesco for £2.50 last week; a self-stirring mug.

    Low battery power:

    Full battery power:

    I’ve also been undervolting the Tesco £2.50 USB plasma ball to produce just a few strands of light instead of filling up the entire globe::

      1. Thanks for spotting the broken link.

        It doesn’t use a spinning magnet but a metal rod connected directly to the motor in the base, bent into a circle with a small spring wrapped around it, almost identical to the battery powered whisk linked below.

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