Building a tornado in a bottle


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]


  1. Necromant says:

    Looks awesome.
    Не побоюсь этого слова – буря в стакане.

  2. MrBishop says:

    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.

  3. David Rysdam says:

    Kitchen blender.

  4. Haku says:

    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::

  5. Whatnot says:

    Little tip: they sell ‘milk/coffee foamers’ for cheap with a little motor that already have a rubber seal on the shaft, they go for as low as $1 and look like this:

    Image is random from web search.

    Not sure the seal as delivered can withstand the pressure of a container filled like that though.

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