Homemade pump action designs?

Guides and discussions about building water blasters and other water warfare devices such as water balloon launchers.
AmaIro18
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Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:56 pm

Does anyone know if there have been homemade pump actions?

There are some pump actions from Nerf/Water Warriors that shoot 40-50 ft. (Water Warriors Drench Force, Nerf Zombie Strike Ripstorm etc.) So I'm wondering if it is feasible to create something that outperforms these stock blasters at a competitive price, using parts readily available from a local hardware store like Lowe's or Home Depot.

Designing blasters is definitely out of my expertise / field of study, so I'm wondering if there are some designs out there that I can recreate.

Drenchenator
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by Drenchenator » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:30 pm

I can't recall anyone building a pump-action water gun, but many people have built "stream machine" style guns. Take this gun, for example. The principle is that same --- the faster you pump, the faster water gets shot out --- but usually people fill them by pulling water out of a lake or other large body of water. There's no tank.

That said, it would be relatively simple to build one of these without much experience. Start off with a "stream machine" like gun, but then add tee fitting just before the nozzle. On the leg of the tee, attach a check valve (a valve that only allows flow in one direction) that only allows water to be pulled into the pump. Then connect a tube from this check valve to whatever tank you have chosen. A second check valve may be necessary just before the nozzle, but depending on the design this could be avoided. The gun is complete at that point.

I can't make a diagram of this at the moment, but I'd be willing too if it would help. The idea is that pulling back the pump would now pull water only from the tank, and then the water could only exit through the nozzle afterwards. The pump design for most homemade water guns, including the air pressure homemade (which has a detailed guide on how to build it) follows this exact mechanism, but only to move water from the tank to the pressure chambers. Here there are no pressure chambers, so the design is much simpler.
The Drenchenator, also known as Lt. Col. Drench

AmaIro18
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:24 am

I just made a test, before I bothered getting any check valves.

This is a 1-1/4" outer pipe. The nozzle is threaded so I can easily swap out different size openings. So far, I've tried a 3/16" and a 1/4" nozzle.

Image

Sadly though, it only shoots 20 ft. max. (Both the nozzles I tried shoot roughly the same distance).

Thought that I'd get a lot of gain in water velocity from using a big pipe and a small nozzle using the equation of continuity for the two pipes, but it requires a lot of energy to achieve max gain, and it was really hard to pump water through the small nozzles.

Good thing I tested this before getting check valves though. I may try different nozzle sizes tomorrow. It's amazing how the stock pump actions get 40-50 ft ranges...

AmaIro18
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:35 am

Nevermind... if I take out the vinyl tube it shoots 40-45 ft... roughly the same range as a CPS 1000. Maybe the vinyl tubes slow down the water greatly. Guess I'm gonna figure out a good way to add 2 check valves

Drenchenator
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by Drenchenator » Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:10 pm

Good job! This is the first time I've seen somebody attempt a gun like this. The second check valve will make the pump fill much more easily but it also may decrease the performance a bit. It obstructs the flow slightly, so if you do put it in you should be aware of that.

I'd say that the range for these kind of guns is more of a function of the user's arm strength than anything else. I doubt a 12 year will get 40 feet, but an adult should have no problem.
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by marauder » Mon Aug 27, 2018 7:45 am

I wonder if having a larger vinyl tube would increase the range. I imagine it is the small diameter of the intake tube that is limiting your range. Except, wait, that brass piece that it connects to is the same size, so IDK.
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AmaIro18
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:55 pm

From my tests, I've found that vinyl tubes seems to add massive amounts of friction/turbulence.

In fact, removing the vinyl tubing and having just the brass piece as the nozzle practically doubles the distance, even when the vinyl tube is primed by being pretty much full of water.

Originally I wanted to simply redirect flow using vinyl tube and have it be the nozzle, that way I can avoid having bulky piping, but that doesn't really seem viable. Who knows, maybe it's something with vinyl tubing, and that there may be other kinds of tubing that adds minimal friction.

My end goal is to have a pump action that shoots ~50 ft. consistently (w/o wind assistance) and try to minimize water consumption. Dunno if I'll ever accomplish it but for now I plan to do more tests with nozzles. Thinking of experimenting with laminar flow nozzles eventually if I can ever find some good screens lol

AmaIro18
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:18 pm

Made a laminar flow nozzle and added a handle to the pump so that it's more comfortable. Shooting ~47 ft. without wind pretty consistently, regardless of whether or not I use the laminator that I made. Using a 5/32" nozzle so that it doesn't waste water so fast.

So far haven't seen any 1/2" check valves at my local hardware stores so I might give up for now.

Drenchenator
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by Drenchenator » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:17 am

Sometimes different check valves are at different stores. Every kind of check valve under the sun is available online at McMaster-Carr if that's an option for you. If 1/2" is too difficult to find, I'd suggest looking for larger sizes if possible. It would also be good to check the aisles for metal pipe and vinyl tubing too, since often they will have other kinds of check valves. I've never seen plastic swing check valves, for example, in the store, but I've seen all different kinds of brass ones.
The Drenchenator, also known as Lt. Col. Drench

AmaIro18
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:24 pm

I got around to finishing my homemade. I guess I'll call it AmaIro's Pump Action Homemade? Only 45-47 ft range, but at least I don't have to worry about pumping or firing valves.

Image

Parts:

Code: Select all

Quantity    Part Name                                    Cost     Store          Part Area
1           1/2” PVC Threaded Cap                        0.85     Lowe's         Body (Nozzle)
3           1/2” S x 1/2” MPT Adapter                    0.38     Lowe's         Body
1           1/2” PVC Tee SxSxS                           0.44     Home Depot     Body
2           1/2” FPT x S Adapter                         0.64     Lowe's         Body
2           1/2” S x 1/2” S PVC Check Valve              4.41     Home Depot     Body
1           1” x 5-ft PVC Pipe                           3.54     Lowe's         Body
1           1/2” 90-Degree Elbow                         0.48     Lowe's         Body
1           1/2” x 5-ft PVC Pipe                         1.96     Lowe's         Body
1           Oatey Handypack 8 oz PVC Cement and Primer   8.48     Lowe's         Body
1           1-1/4” x 1/2” Bushing                        1.08     Lowe's         Pump
1           1-1/4” x 5-ft PVC Pipe                       4.91     Lowe's         Pump
1           1-1/4” SxS Coupling                          0.83     Lowe's         Pump
1           1” SxS Coupling                              0.57     Lowe's         Pump (Handle)
1           1” Slip Cap                                  0.73     Lowe's         Pump (Handle)
1           3/4” PVC Plug                                0.98     Lowe's         Pump
1           #218 O-Ring 6 Pack                           2.48     Home Depot     Pump
1           Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly            3.49     Target         Pump
2           1/2” MIP x Barb Adapter                      1.99     Lowe's         Resevoir
1           1/2” x 10-ft Clear PVC Vinyl Tubing          4.18     Lowe's         Resevoir
1           Ozark Trail 5-Gallon Solar Shower            8.97     Walmart        Resevoir
1           JB WaterWeld                                 5.78     Lowe's         Resevoir
                                           Total Cost:   64.97 
For the outer pump, I used 1-1/4" PVC and 1" PVC for the inner pump. I had to sand a 3/4" slip plug so that it fits into the end of the 1" PVC.

Image

Had to epoxy a 1/2" FPT x S Adapter to my camp shower because it kept leaking lol

Image

The rest is pretty self-explanatory.

Drenchenator
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by Drenchenator » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:31 pm

Good job! I'm glad that you're the first to build a design like this. I've been thinking the last few weeks that people (well, I at least) have been building designs that are just too complicated. I admire this design's simplicity. It's basically the APH design with a larger pump and no pressure chambers. Best of all, it gets a solid performance without requiring much work or parts to build it. The only surprising thing to me at least is that it took someone this long to build such a simple and effective design. Congrats!

Given that a lot of our old stock soakers are breaking down, it would be interesting to build a few simple designs like this one, and have the first homemade-only war with them. With the performance you're getting, I'd think that war would be a blast!

The only criticism I have is that the 180 degree bend and the long length of pipe to the nozzle would degrade performance, though obviously good performance is still possible. Future designs should try to address that. Building the pump in-line with the nozzle would theoretically achieve a better performance --- that's how I would design it, at least --- but it may make it more difficult to pump (that depends on other factors too). As a consequence, the force you can put into the gun may decrease, and the performance in practice may decrease despite the design being more optimal. Again, that depends on the pump design too. In the end, this kind of design might win out given its simplicity.
The Drenchenator, also known as Lt. Col. Drench

AmaIro18
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:26 pm

One thing that was a pleasant surprise to me is that compared to the stream machine I had before, the completed pump action didn't have a significant drop in performance. I said I was getting 45-47 ft shots sometimes but that may be largely because I tested it right after training arms that day lol. So it does seem like the range is mostly dependent on user strength. I wonder what range the stronger members of this community can get. The Drench Force and some stock stream machines I've seen claim 50 ft. That number doesn't seem as far-fetched to me now.

I'd love to see what kind of performance changes other people try and their results. Having the pump in-line with the nozzle is an interesting idea, I might have gone with that had I known. If I had done that, I wouldn't have needed a long pipe for the nozzle and could have just made the tube to the reservoir longer. (Now that I think of it... the Drench Force looks like it might be designed with the nozzle and pump in-line and the reservoir on top so that water is pulled down by gravity!! :o ) My tests with laminators point to them not really mattering in this type of blaster, but I think that conical nozzles could potentially yield a few extra feet in range, as opposed to having just a drilled cap for the nozzle. But from what I've read on these forums in other discussions, good nozzles seem kind of hard to find.

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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by Drenchenator » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:22 pm

I may try to build a "pump-action" design next summer. At the moment, I don't have the time, but your results have definitely gotten my interest. I think as a community we have tended to concentrate on the higher end of performance (not that that's bad!). We've neglected these simpler designs, and there's a lot of room here to get something good without much effort.

Good nozzles are hard to find, though McMaster has a good selection for large diameters. Those kind of nozzles (1 inch internal diameter and up) should work well in these designs. Theoretically I can't see how much improvement would come from "straws" or other kinds of laminators given that those usually try to slow the flow down and reduce the swirl in the flow, which is introduced by an obstruction like a pull valve. If the design uses swing check valves I don't completely see the point, though only testing will prove it one way or the other.
The Drenchenator, also known as Lt. Col. Drench

AmaIro18
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:18 pm

Which nozzles from McMaster did you have in mind? I looked at some of their garden / fire hose nozzles but most of them seem like the spray end diameter is much bigger than the nozzles I use (5/32"). I've also never tried using McMaster nozzles before. Do you know if GHT thread type connects with PVC pipe thread?

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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by SSCBen » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:14 pm

GHT should attach well to 3/4" NPT threads. They're not exactly the same, but they're compatible enough for nozzles, which won't be under heavy continuous pressure.

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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by Drenchenator » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:49 pm

I was thinking about the 1-inch diameter nozzles like parts 6484T15 or 6484T22. These won't work in your design because you used 1/2-inch pipe for the nozzle section, but if you used 1-inch pipe this would work. These nozzles have an opening of 5/16-inch, which seems to be roughly optimal just based on a gut check. I was thinking that a gun could be built with a large internal diameter for the pump, say 1.5 inches or more, but then it could be contracted to a smaller diameter like 1 inch near the nozzle. This would let you use a cheaper swing check valve for the "firing valve" while at the same time keeping the internal diameter large, which helps increase the performance.

If I recall correctly, Ben bought one of these 2 valves to use with one of his designs back in the day (perhaps SuperCAP? I don't remember). They worked well with existing pipe threads, though they were heavy-duty and pretty long. I can't seem to find any pictures of these in action, though.

Edit: see Ben's post below for clarification.
Last edited by Drenchenator on Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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SSCBen
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by SSCBen » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:38 pm

I don't think those are what I bought. Looks like I bought 7678T2. This has a very rough interior, so rough that I'd recommend against its use. The ones Drenchenator mentions might be better.

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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by Drenchenator » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:12 am

Hmm, I seem to remember the roughness now. The interior surface has large jagged elements sticking out. I thought that I would cut myself if I touched it. I don't recommend that part in retrospect.

It seems that McMaster has categories for both "fire hose nozzles" and "garden hose nozzles." The parts I was referring to are in the "fire hose nozzles" category, which seems to be higher end. That's where Ben got the SuperCannon 2 nozzle (part 6424T62). I thought the diameter for that was too large for a manually operated water gun, so I recommend the smaller size, though.
The Drenchenator, also known as Lt. Col. Drench

AmaIro18
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by AmaIro18 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:34 am

Drenchenator wrote:I was thinking about the 1-inch diameter nozzles like parts 6484T15 or 6484T22. These won't work in your design because you used 1/2-inch pipe for the nozzle section, but if you used 1-inch pipe this would work. These nozzles have an opening of 5/16-inch, which seems to be roughly optimal just based on a gut check. I was thinking that a gun could be built with a large internal diameter for the pump, say 1.5 inches or more, but then it could be contracted to a smaller diameter like 1 inch near the nozzle. This would let you use a cheaper swing check valve for the "firing valve" while at the same time keeping the internal diameter large, which helps increase the performance.

If I recall correctly, Ben bought one of these 2 valves to use with one of his designs back in the day (perhaps SuperCAP? I don't remember). They worked well with existing pipe threads, though they were heavy-duty and pretty long. I can't seem to find any pictures of these in action, though.
That would be interesting to test out. The way I imagine that would work out is that water could come out in a bigger 'bullet', stay together for a longer distance, and would be slightly more laminar due to the nozzle. The Drench Force looks like it has a bigger nozzle diameter too. But that may be too optimistic. I wonder how far your design would shoot compared to my design. It would consume a lot of water to fill up the PVC tubing making it more cumbersome, but it gets a few more feet in range, it might be worth it. I might actually build a 'stream machine' to get a best-case prototype of a larger diameter pump if I get bored enough.
SSCBen wrote:I don't think those are what I bought. Looks like I bought 7678T2. This has a very rough interior, so rough that I'd recommend against its use. The ones Drenchenator mentions might be better.
That's a bummer, I was thinking of using the 7678T2 if I ever made an APH.

Tim
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Re: Homemade pump action designs?

Post by Tim » Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:52 pm

The nozzle below suggested by TylerK is far and away the best nozzle I have.

Image

I purchased mine HERE. The product page shows an image of the 2-inch sweeper nozzle, but this is indeed a 6" nozzle.

I know of no other non-cast, non-stepped 6" sweeper nozzles on the market.

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