Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

For questions, articles, and discussions regarding water blaster modifications.
Post Reply
zarquan
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:55 pm

Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by zarquan » Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:58 pm

I recently bought a Super Soaker Hydra, as it was the only water gun I could find that wasn't too small for me to walk the dog with without running out (she likes water guns). However, the hydra shoots too much water and runs out. Also, she has a bit of trouble dealing with the volume, so I can't really use it for her as is. Is there a way I can mod it to make the nozzle smaller?

I would prefer such a mod be reversible, but I am willing to permanently alter it.

Does anyone have any advice?

Just to be clear, I would make sure I can shoot a gentle stream reliably before I would shoot it for my dog. The hydra can shoot a lot of water with significant force, so this is a concern if I were to reduce the volume of the stream.

SSCBen
Posts: 1496
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by SSCBen » Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:00 pm

The easiest way to reduce the nozzle size would be to basically fill it in with epoxy or epoxy putty, and then drill it out to the size you want. It might be possible to remove the nozzle component from the Hydra. If so, I'd recommend doing that as it would make drilling the new hole cleanly and straight much easier. If I were to do this, I'd apply enough epoxy or epoxy putty to fill the nozzle orifice, and make sure that the exterior of the fill is flat flush with the rest of the nozzle. Irregularities in the surface will cause more spray to form. Then, once the epoxy or epoxy putty has set, you can drill a new hole to the size you want. It would be best to start small, test the size to see if it's right, and then drill a slightly larger orifice if necessary.

If you don't have access to a drill press, a hand drill would work but you'll need to be very careful to drill the hole straight. Also, don't expect that the quality of the stream will match the original; drilled holes are fairly rough.

zarquan
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:55 pm

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by zarquan » Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:09 am

SSCBen wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:00 pm
The easiest way to reduce the nozzle size would be to basically fill it in with epoxy or epoxy putty, and then drill it out to the size you want. It might be possible to remove the nozzle component from the Hydra. If so, I'd recommend doing that as it would make drilling the new hole cleanly and straight much easier. If I were to do this, I'd apply enough epoxy or epoxy putty to fill the nozzle orifice, and make sure that the exterior of the fill is flat flush with the rest of the nozzle. Irregularities in the surface will cause more spray to form. Then, once the epoxy or epoxy putty has set, you can drill a new hole to the size you want. It would be best to start small, test the size to see if it's right, and then drill a slightly larger orifice if necessary.

If you don't have access to a drill press, a hand drill would work but you'll need to be very careful to drill the hole straight. Also, don't expect that the quality of the stream will match the original; drilled holes are fairly rough.
Thank you! I will keep this as an option for if I can't find any of the other water guns.

zarquan
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:55 pm

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by zarquan » Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:42 pm

I was thinking that I don't really want this change to be permanent, so I had an idea. If I were to widen the hole, I could make it a screw hole. Then perhaps I could screw in nozzles of different sizes through a form of threaded tube. But I don't know how much risk I am putting on the gun in that case. Because it is designed to have a wide nozzle, so I would like to be able to switch back and forth.

SSCBen
Posts: 1496
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by SSCBen » Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:10 pm

Good idea. You might be able to attach a small threaded fitting without too much difficulty. I would try solvent welding on the flat side of a small threaded PVC plug like McMaster-Carr part number 4880K184. Drill a hole larger than the nozzle in the center of the plug. You might have to sand off any printed lettering on the flat side as they're sometimes not actually flat. I would also sand the exterior of the nozzle. To solvent weld the two together, apply PVC primer to the water blaster nozzle and the flat end of the plug, wait for that to try, and then apply PVC cement to the water blaster nozzle and plug. I'd be careful to avoid getting either in the nozzle itself. If any gets in there, try clearing it out with a toothpick or something like that to prevent obstructing the nozzle. Then, once the PVC cement is applied, press the flat part of the plug against the nozzle, centering its hole over the nozzle, and hold the two together until the cement seems to be keeping the two together by itself. Then let it all set outdoors.

Once set (give it 24 hours), then you can screw on threaded caps to use as nozzles. The nozzle orifices can be of any size equal to or smaller than the original nozzle size.

I'm not sure how well dissimilar plastics will solvent weld together. This page has some tips on how to solvent weld PVC to ABS that contradict a bit of what I said above, but indicates that it is possible: https://support.turbosaquatics.com/port ... -abs-parts

zarquan
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:55 pm

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by zarquan » Sun Aug 16, 2020 4:03 pm

SSCBen wrote:
Thu Aug 13, 2020 1:10 pm
Good idea. You might be able to attach a small threaded fitting without too much difficulty. I would try solvent welding on the flat side of a small threaded PVC plug like McMaster-Carr part number 4880K184. Drill a hole larger than the nozzle in the center of the plug. You might have to sand off any printed lettering on the flat side as they're sometimes not actually flat. I would also sand the exterior of the nozzle. To solvent weld the two together, apply PVC primer to the water blaster nozzle and the flat end of the plug, wait for that to try, and then apply PVC cement to the water blaster nozzle and plug. I'd be careful to avoid getting either in the nozzle itself. If any gets in there, try clearing it out with a toothpick or something like that to prevent obstructing the nozzle. Then, once the PVC cement is applied, press the flat part of the plug against the nozzle, centering its hole over the nozzle, and hold the two together until the cement seems to be keeping the two together by itself. Then let it all set outdoors.

Once set (give it 24 hours), then you can screw on threaded caps to use as nozzles. The nozzle orifices can be of any size equal to or smaller than the original nozzle size.

I'm not sure how well dissimilar plastics will solvent weld together. This page has some tips on how to solvent weld PVC to ABS that contradict a bit of what I said above, but indicates that it is possible: https://support.turbosaquatics.com/port ... -abs-parts
I like this because it doesn't require that I actually take a drill to the gun. I think I will try this. Thank you for the parts suggestions, it helps out a lot. I have never done anything like this before.

zarquan
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:55 pm

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by zarquan » Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:54 pm

I made the modification and it works pretty well. I used a male-male PVC pipe connector partially filled with plumber's epoxy putty and a PVC cap with the same threading. I drilled a hole significantly larger than the hyrda's nozzle and PVC-ABS-cemented it on the tip of the gun.

Creating the hole for the nozzle was surprisingly easy. I put in the plumber's epoxy and put a toothpick in. My toothpick had a flat end, so I pressed the end against a piece of news paper and pushed it to the end with a q-tip to make the tip flat. I left the toothpick in for about 5 minutes so the epoxy could harden a little, then twisted the toothpick and pulled it out. I can make more nozzles with a similar process if I choose, though if I don't want the tip to drip significantly when firing, I need to use a wrench to attach the tip. When I have no nozzle, it performs about as well as it did originally. (I accidentally got a tiny amount of PVC-ABS cement in the nozzle, so trying for powerful shots wasn't ideal)

Overall, the modification went about as well as I could expect. However, the cheap manufacturing process on the watergun makes me think that it wasn't a good idea. When I fire the gun, the top seam of the hydra splits from the force being applied, which makes me think that the gun won't last very long.

Additionally, the gun itself (modded or not) is unwieldy. If I'm not firing it, there isn't a comfortable way to carry it because I can't point the nozzle up without getting wet because of the downgraded cap compared to my 12-14 year old Vaporizer. I find myself much more tired after going for a walk with this gun alone than one with half the reservoir size while carrying an extra gallon of water in a backpack.

All in all, I am still in the market for a new water gun, but this will do for now. Plus, the project was fun.

I can post pictures if desired, but not tonight.
Last edited by zarquan on Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

SSCBen
Posts: 1496
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by SSCBen » Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:40 pm

Nice work! I'd be interested in seeing some photos of the finished product.

I don't think most water guns built today are designed to last very long. The 1990s ones are probably mostly at the end of their life now. The new Spyra water gun, on the other hand, has a very "solid" feeling to it that makes me think it'll hold up far better than previous water guns.

zarquan
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:55 pm

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by zarquan » Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:44 pm

SSCBen wrote:
Sat Sep 05, 2020 6:40 pm
Nice work! I'd be interested in seeing some photos of the finished product.

I don't think most water guns built today are designed to last very long. The 1990s ones are probably mostly at the end of their life now. The new Spyra water gun, on the other hand, has a very "solid" feeling to it that makes me think it'll hold up far better than previous water guns.
I feel like my vaporizer was build to last. It lasted 12 years. It still doesn't feel like its falling apart, but the pump mechanism is failing. This gun feels like it is trying to fall apart while brand new.

I'm not sure how I am supposed to share images on this forum properly, so I put them as links below.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WDNsmd ... sp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/19CtgId ... sp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JH8ux1 ... sp=sharing

SSCBen
Posts: 1496
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:15 pm
Contact:

Re: Modding a water gun to have a smaller nozzle

Post by SSCBen » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:55 pm

Looks good. Thanks for the photos. I'll likely refer others to your comments in the future when they ask about similar nozzle modifications!

If you used the image upload feature on here, your images were too large and needed to be resized. Sorry about that; space here is not unlimited.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests