Stout Peristaltic Pump Fabricated From Scratch

The peristaltic pump is perhaps most well known for its ability to pump fluids without the pump mechanism coming into contact with the working fluid. This is key for food-safe applications and other situations where a pump could contaminate the fluid. [Maciej Nowak] has built a great example of such a pump, crafted out of aluminium from scratch.

The build video covers the machining process in detail, showing how the aluminium body was fabricated on the lathe before installing bearings and a silicone hose. The pump shaft was then fabricated, along with a set of brass rollers to press along the tube, creating the pumping action. The rollers were also lubricated in order to reduce friction on the tubing. Powering the pump is a small DC motor, sending drive via a small toothed belt, giving the finished build quite an industrial look.

We’re used to seeing plenty of 3D-printed pumps about the place. This build, while it requires a fully-equipped machine shop, is much tougher than anything plastic, and you could easily use it to break a window in an emergency too, an obscure feature nevertheless requested by some discerning pump customers.

[Maciej] shows off the build by pumping some green liquid, noting the peristaltic design requires no priming which makes operation much easier. It’s also bidirectional, and can be run very slowly if required.

Overall, it’s a build that shows off the benefits of working in metal as well as the great features of the peristaltic pump design. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Stout Peristaltic Pump Fabricated From Scratch”

An Oil Diffusion Vacuum Pump From Thrift Store Junk

It seems like creating a vacuum should be a pretty easy job, but it turns out that sucking all the air out of something is harder than it seems. A cheap vacuum pump will get you part of the way there, but to really pull a hard vacuum, you need an oil diffusion pump that costs multiple tens of thousands of dollars.

Or, you need a bunch of thrift store junk, a TIG welder, and a can of WD-40. At least that’s what [Lucas] put into his homebrew oil diffusion pump. The idea of such a contraption is to vaporize oil in a chamber such that the oil droplets entrain any remaining gas molecules toward an exhaust port. His low-budget realization of this principle involved a lot of thrift store stainless steel cookware, welded together with varying degrees of success, with liberal applications of epoxy to seal up any leaks. And an electric smores cooker for the heating element, which was a nice touch. The low-budget approach extended even to the oil for the pump; rather than shelling out for expensive specialty oil, [Lucas] distilled some from a WD-40 silicone spray lubricant.

The video below details all the travails [Lucas] encountered along the way, plus the testing process. The results were at least encouraging — the diffusion pump was pulling vacuum far in excess of what the roughing pump was capable of. He clearly still has some work to do, but getting as far as he did with the scrap heap of parts he cobbled together is pretty impressive.

[Lucas]’ goal with all this? A fusion reactor. No, not that kind. This kind. Continue reading “An Oil Diffusion Vacuum Pump From Thrift Store Junk”

Quint explaining his water turbine

Power Your Home With A Water Battery

I’ve stated it before on Hackaday but one of the most interesting engineering challenges posed to me this year was “how could you store enough energy to power a decent portion of a home for several hours without using batteries, all while staying within the size of a typical suburban plot?” [Quint Builds] attempts something up that alley by using solar power to pump water up onto his roof and later releasing it for power generation. (Video, embedded below.)

Earlier [Quint] had built a water collecting system using his gutters and a bell siphon but wasn’t satisfied with the overall power output. Using the turbine he had created for that system, he put a 55-gallon drum on top of his roof with the help of some supporting structures. We’d like to advise the public to consult a professional before adding a large heavy weight on top of your roof, but [Quint] forges ahead after studying his trusses and determining it to be a risk he is willing to take. A solar panel runs a small pump that pumps water from a reservoir up to the top of the roof when the sun shines with a float switch in the roof barrel stopping the motor once it’s full. A valve at the bottom allows water to spin the turbine and fill back into the bottom reservoir, forming a closed loop. There were a few snags along the way with prototype circuits not being fully contacted and the motor needing water cooling, an issue fixed by a custom CNC’d heat sink. The fixes for the various issues are almost as entertaining to see as the actual system itself.

It’s incredible to see lights come on powered by water alone but also sobering to realize just how much water you’d need to power a typical home. Perhaps if [Quint] upgrades, he can swap out the small motor for a larger 3D printed water pump.

Continue reading “Power Your Home With A Water Battery”

You Can Put Toothpaste In The Tube (With Effort)

Old wives’ tales, folk knowledge, common sayings, and even cliches and idioms are often taken as givens since they form an often unnoticed part of our vocabulary and culture. There’s so many examples that it’s possible to fill a 17-season TV show busting potential myths like these, and even then there are some that slipped by. For example, the saying “you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube” which, as it turns out, is not as impossible as we might be led to believe.

This video is the product of [Tyler Bell] who has taken this idiom on as a challenge. To figure out if it was possible he first got to work building a vacuum chamber, which turned out to be a little easier than he thought it would be. After cutting a piece of polycarbonate tube and sanding it down, all that was needed were some rubber gaskets and fittings for the vacuum pump.

From there, the theory was to put an empty toothpaste tube into the vacuum chamber, pump all of the air out, and let atmospheric pressure “push” the toothpaste back into the tube. During [Tyler]’s first run he thought that it had worked successfully but it turned out that he had just inflated the empty toothpaste tube like a balloon. Further iterations were able to return some of the toothpaste to the tube, but each time some air would eventually work its way into the toothpaste which would immediately fill the remaining space in the tube with air rather than toothpaste.

While not completely successful, he was able to get some toothpaste back into the tube with a relatively small bill of materials. It’s not likely that this experiment will result in a change of this particular idiomatic expression, but it was interesting to put it to the test nonetheless. For other instances of toothpaste and its relationship to tubes, both inside and out, be sure to check out this recent piece on various methods of toothpaste storage.

Continue reading “You Can Put Toothpaste In The Tube (With Effort)”

Tiny Gasoline Engine Fitted With A Custom Billet Waterpump

We don’t typically use gasoline engines smaller than 50 cc or so on a regular basis. Below that size, electric motors are typically less messy and more capable of doing the job. That doesn’t mean they aren’t cute, however. [JohnnyQ90] is a fan of tiny internal combustion engines, and decided to whip up a little water pump for one of his so it could do something useful besides make noise.

The pump is built out of billet aluminium, showing off [JohnnyQ90]’s machining skills. The two pieces that make up the main body and cover plate of the pump are impressive enough, but the real party piece is the tiny delicate impeller which actually does the majority of the work. The delicate curves of the pump blades are carefully carved out and look exquisite when finished.

The pump’s performance is adequate, and the noise of the tiny gasoline engine makes quite a racket, but it’s a great display of machining skill. If so desired, the pump could also do a great job for a small liquid delivery system if hooked up to a quiet electric motor, too. The aluminium design has the benefit of being relatively leak free when assembled properly, something a lot of 3D printed designs struggle to accomplish.

We’ve seen [JohnnyQ90]’s micro engine experiments before, too — like this small generator build. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Tiny Gasoline Engine Fitted With A Custom Billet Waterpump”

3D Printing A Centrifugal Water Pump

Once upon a time, 3D printing was about churning out tiny Yodas and Pikachus, but these days, useful things are regularly 3D printed too. A great example is this centrifugal water pump that can really deliver the juice, courtesy of  [Connor].

The pump’s housings and impeller are all 3D printed in PLA, as well as the inlet which is designed for a 2L soda bottle to screw into. Gaskets are printed in pliable TPU to help seal the housings. There are a few ball bearings inside to allow the impeller to spin nicely, too, with hex head fasteners used to hold everything together and a long bolt used as the main impeller shaft. Notably, no shaft seal is included, so the pump does leak a bit, but it’s not a major concern assuming you’re just pumping water and don’t mind spilling a bit of excess. Turned with a drill at 1800 rpm, the pump is able to achieve a flow rate of 13 litres per minute, or a maximum head of 1.2 meters. The design is on Onshape, for the curious.

It’s a great example of how 3D printing can allow the creation of machines with complex geometry without the need for advanced machining skills. Instead, all the hard work is done on the CAD side of things. We’ve seen 3D printed pumps put to real work before, too, like this fertilizer dispenser. Video after the break.

Continue reading “3D Printing A Centrifugal Water Pump”

Air-Assist Analysis Reveals Most Effective — And Quietest — Methods

If there’s one thing that continues to impress us about the Hackaday community as the years roll by, it’s the willingness to share what we’ve learned with each other. Not every discovery will be news to everyone, and everything won’t be helpful or even interesting to everyone, but the mere act of sharing on the off chance that it’ll help someone else is really what sets the hardware hacking world apart.

Case in point: this in-depth analysis of laser cutter air-assist methods. Undertaken by [David Tucker], this project reads more like a lab writeup than a build log, because well, that’s pretty much what it is. For those not into laser cutters, an air assist is just a steady flow of air to blow smoke and cutting residue away from the beam path and optics of a laser cutter. It’s simple, but critical; without it, smoke can obscure and reflect the laser beam, foul lenses and mirrors, and severely degrade cut quality.

To see what air-assist methods work best, [David] looked at four different air pumps and compressors, along with a simple fan. Each of these methods was compared to a control of cuts made without air assist. The test was simple: a series of parallel lines cut into particle board with the beam focused on the surface at 80% power, with the cut speed slowly decreasing. It turned out that any air-assist was better than nothing, with the conspicuous exception of using just a fan, which made things worse. Helpfully, [David] included measurements of the noise levels of the compressors he tested, and found there’s no advantage to using an ear-splitting shop compressor over a quieter aquarium air pump. Plus, the aquarium pumps are cheap — always a bonus.

Not sure how to get up to speed with lasers? Laser Cutting 101 might be a great place to start.