Peristaltic Pump Moves Fluids Uphill Both Ways

Here’s a skill we should all probably have for after the apocalypse—the ability to build a cheap peristaltic pump that can transport highly viscous fluids, chunky fluids, or just plain water from point A to point B with no priming necessary. That’s exactly what [Jack Ruby] has done with some fairly common items.

He started with a springform cake pan from a thrift store, the kind where the bottom drops out like that centripetal force ride at the carnival. He’s using 2″ casters from Harbor Freight mounted to a block of wood. The casters go round and squeeze fluid through the hose, which is a nice length of heat-resistant silicone from a local homebrew shop. He’s currently using a drill to run the pump, but intends to attach a motor in the future.

[Jack]‘s write-up is very thorough and amusing. Stick around to see the pump in action as well as a complete tour. You can also pump colored goo if you’re out of beer materials.


  1. iohngio says:

    Nice! You will be able to pump sewage after apocalypse. It misses out one thing – internet connectivity via RasPi.

  2. Dax says:

    Where do you get silicone tube and a cordless drill after the apocalypse?

    One does not simply walk into a hardware store, unless one happens to live within walking distance of one.

    • Dax says:

      Also, I doubt they will get frequent restocking.

      The point of survival is to not depend on things you cannot actually make more of, because you eventually run out. If you’re going to push for the survival argument, something that can be made out of leather and wood would be much better than something made out of silicone and cookie tins.

    • mh says:

      If, after the apocalypse, you have access to a wellstocked hardware store, it think you could be considred pretty well off. Infact (“infact” means that im pulling this out of my ass without fact-checking) there are plenty of people right now without access to even badly stocked stores.

      I do think it was meant as a joke though.

    • Xiver says:

      Maybe you should have 50 yards of it in your survival supplies.

    • Squirrel says:

      Well just raid a college kid’s house. If you’re lucky, they’ll have both a skateboard (for the wheels) and a beer bong (for the tubing)

      Problem solved

    • Greenaum says:

      Inbetween the municipal sewage going down, and you figuring out how the hell you’re gonna replace it with bits of leather and hamsters, this hack can do the job! And there might be drills and rubber tubing still available! There’s probably more of both in the USA than there are people who can stitch leather into sealed tubes.

      Although this might need to be bigger to pump actual shit. Or need some sort of macerator, which it’s really too early in the morning to think about. I’d just take a spade with a nail in to keep the toilet paper on.

      Pre-apocalyptically, you might need a pump for all sorts of things, brewing for one. Peristaltic means none of your parts need to touch the food-grade stuff inside the tube. Perhaps his air-conditioner’s moisture-pump needs replacing. The real thing might be quite costly, if this is to be a permanent solution he might pick a better motor. But it still has lots of uses. They make all sorts of things to put on drills!

    • Jack_Ruby says:

      Already have the tubing. You can pump it with a ‘speed wrench’ which I also have. But given now != apocalypse, I’d rather use power tools and write some code :)

  3. Hack Man says:

    How does this design prevent the tube from being cut where it enters and exits?

  4. George Johnson says:

    You’re supposed to be geeks. You SHOULD have, a drill, a solar panel and an inverter of a couple hundred watts at least.

  5. echodelta says:

    It’s all about BEER.
    Mankind first settled down to brew, might as well go out the way we started.
    Really, just pumping clean liquids around the kitchen. Sanitize don’t punk the brew.

  6. ERROR_user_unknown says:

    The simplicity of that and the easy disassemble is quite impressive a very nice little pump indeed + 1

  7. Jay says:


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