A Home Made Air Pump From PVC Pipe

If you need a supply of low pressure air – let’s say enough pressure to ensure a constant supply but not enough to describe as “Compressed air” with a straight face – what do you do? Many people will reach for an aquarium pump, after all that represents a readily available and relatively inexpensive source of bubbles.

But not [truebassB], instead he built his own air pump from first principles (YouTube, embedded below) using PVC pipe. It’s a straightforward design in which the cylinder is a length of pipe with a disc of flat PVC glued to its end, and the piston is fabricated from a short piece of the same tube with a section cut out to reduce its diameter. An adequate seal is achieved using a piece of rubber cut from an inner tube, and the gudgeon pin is cut from a piece of wire. The connecting rod is another longer piece of wire, and the crank is a wooden disc with an offset hole. Power comes from a DC motor taken from a dead power tool. A couple of ball check valves are used for air input and output.

The resulting pump isn’t the prettiest of pumps, and it could probably do with a bit of balancing as it rattles somewhat. But it’s a pump, and it obviously cost next-to-nothing, so that in our eyes makes it a neat build. He’s posted a video of the build which we’ve placed below the break.

We’ve not featured many such simple pumps here. Perhaps this peristaltic pump comes close.


14 thoughts on “A Home Made Air Pump From PVC Pipe

  1. Neat. These are called diaphragm air pumps by the way and there are several different ways of creating them, including ones to pull light vacuum. The mechanism also looks somewhat like a certain type of adult oriented product that produces linear motion from an electric current. Or so I have been told by friends.

    1. I thought that diaphragm pumps generally use a vibrating or compressed diaphragm instead of or in addition to a piston.

      Wouldn’t the PVC quickly deform due to the friction heat?

      1. Ahh. I retract my previous statement then. I had assumed there was an actual diaphragm in there. It looks like it’s just a piston. Interesting approach but yes, that would make it not a diaphragm pump if there is no diaphragm. Commercial ones that are similarly styled typically use a diaphragm.

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