DIY Actuated Ball Valve

[Derek] sent in this electric ball valve he built for his bio-diesel reactor. If you haven’t checked, the commercial versions are pretty expensive. His solution was to mate a salvaged saturn wiper motor (sans control board) with a polypropylene bolted ball valve.

Oh, and happy birthday to me.

38 thoughts on “DIY Actuated Ball Valve

  1. I just had a birthday and I always say happy new year to myself, for this is a new year for me(you too now), and I feel renewed with purpose. In that I wish you a good year, here’s to you Mr. Hackaday.

  2. They’ve shut down the main reactor, we’ll be destroyed for sure!
    That is some nice work. looks like it’s well put together so it should hold up as long as that saturn wiper motor does!

    Oh, and happy birthday to him.

  3. Nice pictures, where’s the process? A few details, maybe a manifesto on biodiesel production and use? I have always said that the city should use biodiesel it its buses, then I could invest in fast food restaurants and clean up!
    Oh, and HB2U.

  4. Happy birthday!
    Wheres the writeup? All I see are pictures!

    And: what a coincidence. My rear windshield wiper motor just died on me yesterday. How often are windshield wiper motors on the front page of hackaday?

  5. this joker is lucky the production of bio-diesel is essentially done at atmospheric pressure. There’s a reason ball-actuated valves cost so much: cause they have a low failure rate, and if they dofail, they fail in a way that is safe.

    Imagine for a moment one of these hacked valves in a high pressure system. Pressure builds up behind the valve and the valve suddenly fails to operate to relieve the pressure. Reactor vessel breaches, spews bio-diesel as both liquid and gas. Then they meet a method of combustion, and voila, you don’t have a house anymore.

    But, low pressure system, it’s not likely to happen, so whatever floats your boat.


  6. Once I get the bio processor all put together Ill write up a page all about it and Ill take pictures of it in the process of being put together, I will also take pictures of the next valve I make, I still need 4 more. Submitting to hackaday was an afterthought so I didnt take pictures of the valve when I was making it

  7. argh someone beat me to the cake is a lie, to twenty one, it is no more dangerous than the parts that went into it, a high quality ball value wont suddenly fail under rated pressure. the motor should be strong enough to move it comment made through opera mini on a phone yay. i wonder how many entrys site stats have for om…

  8. A plastic valve should never be used for high pressure systems, thats kinda a obvious thing I would think, but as for a fail safe this valve does have one, I need to get a write up i guess so things are more clear, the 2 micro switches on the valve not only limit the travel of the motor but also tell the computer running the hole processor that the valve did or didnt make a full cycle, and the computer would shut the system down and tell which valve failed to move seems like a pretty effective fail safe to me nothing blowing up or burning. For my processor a poly valve is perfect, in other cases a brass or stainless valve may be a better choice just like anything else choose what fits the job best. On a high pressure system I would hope people would be smart enough to build in some kind of pressure relief valve so things dont blow up

  9. I stand corrected, you are not a joker, you know what you are doing. Sounds like you thought this through a lot more than what the pictures depict.

    Yes, I’d hope that another person who built a contraption like this would know better than to use it without any safety precautions. However, America is the culture that invented the slip and slide, the dvd-rewinder, and the non-locking pocket knife, so forgive my initial scepticism?


  10. I understand what you mean completely people arnt to smart some times, Im a mechanic by profession and seeing some of the things people do when they try to fix there own cars just makes you want to pull your hair out.
    no hard feelings just wanted to clarify things

  11. Frogz –

    The issue isn’t with the ball valve, the issue is with the ‘hacked’ together actuated piece. If the motor fails, or the controller fails, or if a short gets into the system (and it can), the ball valve might not open when it’s supposed to. If this were high pressure, that would be scary. Luckily, the hacker knows what he’s doing and won’t be doing anything crazy with it.

    I’m sure the ball valve is a wonderful piece of engineering, -the problem is that it is being controlled by a salvaged piece of equipment-.

    “Should” is not a word that is used in process control. “Should” costs millions of dollars in damages and could kill people. “Should” causes disasters like the Texas City Refinary incident, the Tacoma Narrows brigde collapse, and the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster.

    I really need to stop coming back to this thread.


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