We are all used to turning on the faucet and having clean, drinkable water on demand. But think about what happens afterwards in your home: that water is used to wash dishes or water lawns and many other uses that render it undrinkable. What stops this nasty water from flowing back into your pipes and out of your kitchen faucet? A backflow preventer. This simple, but vital, part of your plumbing turns your water pipes into one-way systems that give out clean, drinkable water. This isn’t just about making your water taste nice: backflow preventers protect your water supply from things like brain-eating amoeba and E Coli that could kill.
You’ve got to hand it to [Lou], not only does he know how to build simple items, he also knows how to sell their worth. Here’s a wet spill vacuum cleaner attachment which you can build on the cheap. A picture of the final product fails to have the same impact as his video showing its use in cleaning up a simulated cat disgorging from the carpet.
From the picture we’re sure you’ve already figured out how it work. The air and damp matter come in one side and are dropped into the jar as the air is sucked out the other. [Lou] suggests raiding your recycling bin for the jar. The intake and outflow are both pieces from a PVC P-trap intended for a sink drain. They have a threaded flange which keeps the part from pulling all the way through the 1.5″ holes drilled in the lid.
This is going to work best with a high-flow shop vacuum. So while you’ve got the tools out, why not build a dust separator as well?
We were skeptical about Keurig machines when we first heard about them. Although we still scoff at the added waste of throwing away a plastic container of used grounds for each cup of coffee made, we tried one at the in-laws and it does brew a great cup of Joe. One of the draws of the machine is that it does it pretty much automatically as long as you fill it with water first. [Joseph Collins] is even taking the work out of that by adding a water supply line to his Keurig.
His coffee maker sits right next to the fridge, which has its own water supply. So one day he thought, why not run a line to the coffee maker as well? As far as plumbing projects go it’s very simple. He pulled out the refrigerator and added a T-fitting to split the water supply line. From there he ran an extension next to the coffee maker that terminates with a valve being pointed to by the arrow in the lower left. The plastic supply line leaving the valve passes through a rubber grommet in the lid of the water reservoir pointed to by the other arrow.
[Joseph] figures the whole project came in at under $30 and shows how he did it in the clip after the break.
Maker Faire is a great event to attend not only because you get to see all sorts of cool designs and machinations, but because you can participate as well. At Maker Faire Bay Area 2011, maker [Brett Levine] put together a fun and interactive display he likes to call the DIY Flame Tree.
The concept is pretty simple, and he says everyone who participated got a pretty good kick out of lending a hand. Each participant was given a piece of copper tubing and allowed to bend, twist, and sculpt it to their liking before using a drill to add holes wherever they pleased. They were then allowed to choose where their portion of the project would be mounted on the existing tree.
With everyone standing a safe distance away from the display, [Brett] pumped it full of propane and lit the various sections on fire. In the video below, you can see that the display was blown around a bit by the wind, but we imagine it would look pretty awesome on a still summer evening.
Even if you’re not into this sort of art, you have to admit that it certainly beats a boring old fire pit!
A while back, I wrote up a how-to on some mods I made to my ECM Giotto espresso machine. After giving it some break-in time, I finally wrote up my cheap plumbed in espresso trick. Plumbing kits use a $50 solenoid that requires special plumbing. My version uses a $12 fridge solenoid, easily adds on to my previous mods, and only requires some tubing size adaptation.