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Old 05-24-2013   #1
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 46
How to build a barrel pump

I saw a post a while back about making a barrel pump and I thought I'd show you how I make mine. I've made more than a few and it is much easier if you and some friends decide you want one because they are labor intensive but they are pretty simple to make. You need a drill press and an adjustable hole saw like you see in the first picture. I made a 6" pump this time, but a 4" is the same. It is helpful to make test cuts with the hole saw because they are hard to adjust. The plastic I like to use is 1/4" vinyl (vinyl may be measured in metric). I've also used HDPE but it is a bit soft.

First you need to adjust the cutter so that you cut 1 circle that fits snugly in the pipe, and then 1 circle that is about 1/16" or 3/32" looser. The snug circle will have 4 circles cut out of it. This holds the gasket as the pump is drawn up and allows air to go around the gasket. The loose circle holds the gasket as the pump goes down and seals against the plunger and the walls. You need some space so that the air can go around the disk on the up stroke. These are assembled with a 1/4" SS bolt with a nylock nut for a spacer between the 2 disks and are bolted to a 1 1/4" pvc schedule 40 end cap. It is helpful if you use a cap that is flat and not round. I get the flat ones at Sutherlands. (pictures 2 and 3)

The end caps are 6" DWV caps. The pipe I use is SDR 35 DWV. A hole is cut to accept a 1" slip x 3/4" threaded coupler in the side of the cap that forms the bottom. For the top the hole saw is adjusted again to create another vinyl disk that fits tightly inside the cap. Then the saw is adjusted again and a hole is made for a 1 1/4" pipe to slide through the center. I cut the cap and the vinyl at the same time to help keep the hole centered. 2 holes are cut in the side for a handle and to allow air to enter the pump. I use a forstner bit or a spade bit for these holes. (picture 4)

The hose is attached using the 1" slip x 3/4" threaded coupler which is pushed through the hole in the bottom cap (I make mine snug) and then I have cut in half a 1" slip coupler. This coupler conveniently also fits inside of my check valve which is a dishwasher drain valve. Try a couple of couplers or you may have to sand the outside of the coupler. (picture 5) A notch is then cut in the pipe so that it fits over the check valve/hose assembly. (picture 6)

To make the gaskets I made 2 identical disks out of vinyl with the hole saw that are a bit larger than the bore of the pipe. I use craft foam and use a 1/4" bolt to sandwich the foam between the disks. I spin this on a drill and use a razor blade to make a smooth cut. I then use 2 smaller disks and a 1/4" bolt and repeat to make the o-ring hollow. If you look close you can see the outline of the barrel. Pictures 7 and 8

I then test the pump and then glue everything together. Make a handle out of 1 1/4" schedule 40 pvc pipe but I use a 1 1/4" schedule 80 T for the handle. I use a 3/4" ID vinyl vacuum hose and a 3/4 threaded to 3/4" barbed 90 elbow

The last 2 pictures are probably bit but they show the gasket in place and they also show a finished 4" pump. I use an abs cap for the bottom because they are flat and all of the DWV caps that are 4" have been round. There is an adapter for the DWV pvc pipe to ABS. it is white and a little of it can be seen in the picture. There is special cement for ABS to PVC that I use but these don't hold much pressure.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-24-2013   #2
Renaissance Redneck
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Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 964 I love DIY stuff

"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 05-24-2013   #3
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Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,430
Bad ass! Thank you for the details and photos!!!!
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Old 05-24-2013   #4
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 46
a few more things

1. I said the "star" piece should be snug. It should not touch the sides but should be very close. It may even be ok if it is the same diameter as the top but I have not tried that.

2. Make sure the check valve is not seated too deep. The check valve needs to open all of the way, plus I think the membrane flexes. If the membrane hits the PVC it will stop air from leaving the pump. To check this dry assemble and push really hard. Back pressure from the hose also seems to affect it so put your hose on. You may not even need to gluethe check valve on depending on how tight it is.

3. To hold the top on the pump I just drill a hole in the cap the size of the SS pan head screw I am going to use.

4. Heat the hose to get it over the barbed fitting.

5. For a leafield I use a 1/2 inch PVC riser, cut the threads off and taper the end with sandpaper (you can turn it on a drill) until it fits tight into the valve or use the Military valve adapter from NRS and a piece of cPVC. Use a small screw to hold it in place. The 1/2 riser works the best for a leafield valve, but make sure you use the screw because they fit tight and come out in the valve.

6. I've use 1/4 foam, that is a bit much sometimes. 1/6" is too thin but you can use the adhesive foam and glue two of them together. 1/8" or 3/16" would be best but I can not find it locally.

7. I cut the handles to about 5 1/4" for a 6" pump before I glue them into the T fitting. I'd cut the PVC to 4 1/2" for a 4" pump Then round the edges to make them comfortable.

8. I also use a small aluminum rivet to hold the top two pieces together as seen in the picture.

9. I've made 3" pumps without a hose and the fitting in a domed cap for a dry box pump. The check valve is different on those though. let me know if you really want to do this one they are a bit tougher.

The hose is the most expensive part ~ $16. but overall cost is about $55-$60 for a 4" pump
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Old 05-24-2013   #5
p.c., confused
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 125
That's cool, but it help's to have the right tools and equipment. Are you building any to sell, I would be interested if so let me know.
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Old 05-25-2013   #6
Shit Creek, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 277
Very nice. Best write up I have seen on this personally and very good step by step. Was going to build one myself a couple years ago, but my parents spoiled me for my birthday since I take the rafting a lot.
Speak of Peace, (but carry a big gun)
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Old 06-02-2013   #7
Paddling in to the Future
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Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 364
Originally Posted by rivh2o View Post
That's cool, but it help's to have the right tools and equipment. Are you building any to sell, I would be interested if so let me know.
I'm with Rivh20... if you're up to making them, I'd be up to buying one.. or two.
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Old 02-16-2015   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 2
Quick question about your pump

Hey, I love this write up and am gathering the materials to make my first barrel pump. My only question is why the need for the inner vinyl disc on top? The one riveted to the underside of the cap? Is there a reason that the cap alone wouldn't be sufficient for the top? Thanks again for the awesome write up and photos!
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Old 02-23-2015   #9
dallas, Texas
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 19
great thread
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Old 02-23-2015   #10
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 690
Originally Posted by james100 View Post
great thread
Especially in that it is in the kayak forum!

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