How to build a barrel pump - Page 4 - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-15-2017   #31
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 141
Here are a couple of pictures of a base along with a diagram for a pump spider or star. I use 1/4 material for a 4" pump though. The round disk on the plunger I aim for somewhere between 3 13/16" and 3 7/8"

The base can be just about anything. My first pump didn't have a base or anything to stand on so I just stand on the hose and it has worked fine.

Sometimes I do a circular base like the one pictured and sometimes I do a rectangular base with the corners rounded. It just depends on what plastic I have around.

As far as the star goes it does not matter how many "fingers" you have on your star. They could be holes too I assume, so long as your gasket does not cover all of the hole up when you lift the pump handle up..

My favorite material to build the pumps out of is 1/4" natural polypropylene. "natural" refers to the color of the plastic which is a somewhat translucent/off white color. It is also cheaper than the "white."

I've also messed with PVC, Vinyl, UHMW, HDPE. Acrylic would probably be too brittle, lexan may work because it is not as brittle but is may score the sides of the pump. HDPE is a bit soft/flexible in 1/4" thicknesses. UHMW is probably the best plastic but expensive. PVC doesn't machine as well but would otherwise work fine. Polypropylene is strong enough, machines ok, doesn't generate a lot of friction against the pvc pipe and is relatively inexpensive but its not a super common fabrication plastic. I can sometimes get scraps of plastic at a local fabrication shop you could probably even make them out of wood and they would work.

3 or 4 years ago I helped our local outdoor rec program build a few pumps and they have held up nicely for them. They get a lot of use from the students and didn't break the bank either. I've had some leftover pumps from some of the pumps I have made for friends and I remember hooking up rivH2o with a pump - your a lucky guy! You should have that for a long time unless a "friend" borrows if from you. Watch out for those kind of friends.

Mountainmanpete I'm sure there are some who would love a schematic. Let me know what you would need to get that out there.
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Old 03-16-2017   #32
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 2015
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
2 Pumps done and working on a third.

Originally Posted by bwaters932 View Post
Great write up thanks unlucky! Where do you get the vinyl that you are using for the discs? Also, the four circles that get cut out to make the spider, do they have to be a certain size or do you just need to get the basic shape?

Thanks again!
Whoa signed back in and found an active thread where a dead one once was. Sorry for reviving a such old thread but this kind of thing gets me excited. I built two pumps already and am working on a third and to answer your question: For the vinyl discs, I bought sturdy cutting boards at Big Lots and they;ve been great. Make sure you get something tough and inflexible (The dollar store ones wont hold up.) If you have plastics warehouse or fabrication nearby you could consider those - my friend went to one and asked for sheet scraps and they gave him so many plastics that he could build a couple of dozen pumps.

Also some suggestions for you who read this thread: I used a 4-1/8" hole saw which works perfect for making the discs and I already had one for cutting out light holes in the ceilings. With those hole saw, I get the 1/16" clearance and a perfect circle and I can punch out discs in seconds. With those and a couple other right tools, it takes about 90 minutes working time to build a completed pump. (excluding dry times)

If I get my act together, I'll post some movies and pictures of my pumps (I modified the design slightly) tomorrow. I think some detailed pictures and a movie will clear up most of the questions I see here and help others skip the figuring-out phase that I had to go through myself on some parts and how everything works together.

My question out there to you guys, is there a way we can build a screw-in adaptor of sorts for the leafield valves? The 1/2" riser does work well enough but I would love to screw the hose in a half turn or something and just pump away.
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Old 03-17-2017   #33
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 2015
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Some pictures and movie.

Heres some pictures. I also linked a youtube movie of the gasket in action both inside the pump itself from the bottom view and outside the pump but emulating what the gasket does while its in action.

Gasket and plunger movie:

Picture 1: Basic plunger bottom assembly.
Picture 2: Side view of same assembly.
Picture 3: Whole top half of pump.
Picture 4: Close up of top cap.
Picture 5: Bottom cap assembly with hose attached.
Picture 6: End of hose where it plugs into the boat. (This part I want to upgrade to a screw on type of sorts.)
Picture 7: Inserting the assembly from picture 3 into the 4" pipe.
Picture 8: Completed pump with kids for scale. This one is my "Get the boat up and running asap pump". I have a smaller one that goes into the dry box for adjustments on trips.
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Old 03-18-2017   #34
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 2015
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
I made a lengthy post with pictures and a link to youtube clip I made and it said its awaiting moderator approval and it has been almost a full day already. Testing with this post, please ignore.
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Old 03-19-2017   #35
OTR, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 251
Hoping to see the above mentioned post soon!

Sent from my SM-G900V using Mountain Buzz mobile app
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Old 03-20-2017   #36
elkhaven's Avatar
Belgrade, Montana
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 2,193
I'll add to the recent spike in conspiracy theories... One of the advertisers complained to the mods that we were giving away free directions to make something they sell and so the mods "made it go away"... or something like that.

Anyways I've now made two, no videos but I took a few pics and have several observations.

First off I've found it easier around here to find the parts in schedule 40. A little heavier, but several places have the flat caps (and they are a bit deeper, more on that latter) requisite for this job.

The biggest problem I have is getting a good glue bond at the outlet. The 1"x3/4" slip has barely any purchase in the drilled hole through the side of the cap. Sch 40 is twice as thick (or nearly so) as the sewer pipe fittings (SDR 35 or 17? not sure) at any rate, there is more purchase for the glue. The other main issue I have is that the fittings I can get locally (both sch 40 and sewer) are relatively shallow... about 2" deep. The check valve is a little over 1.75" (1.5" ID) and the coupler used to attach the check valve to the 1"x3/4" slip is 1.5". This doesn't leave much room for a glue seal between the barrel of the pump and the hole for the check valve assembly (about 1/4"). So I sanded down a flat in the side of the check valve as much as I could without damaging the inner valve it's self and got another 1/8".

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I did some research online and found several companies making flat bases that are 3" plus deep. If I were to do it again I'd find those, either locally or online. I'm guessing I could have gone to NW pipe, or an irrigation wholesaler and found what I needed, but I couldn't find those deep fittings at any retailer in BZN. It would be well worth the time to get at least one for the base (the top won't matter, shorter is fine). Both pumps bleed off pressure and in both cases it comes from around the outlet fitting and that thin joint right above it. This pic shows how little purchase there is at this location.

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Another issue I noted was in the star (spider) portion of the plunger assembly. The first one I made, I admittedly eye balled when drilling it out, and used a larger bit - 1.75" OD hole saw if I recall. It left fairly spindly legs but it works just fine with the a doubled up gasket (2x1mm adhesive backed foam stuck together). I tried using a 3 ply gasket and it was too stiff and bulged that leaked badly.

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One thing I did slightly differently than unlucky was that I used a set screw to hold the plunger shaft into the 1 1/4" flat base (instead of gluing it), that way it's easier to take apart and replace pieces if needed. The pic below illustrates that concept and shows the bulge in the thick gasket from the side.

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FWIW, I made all my flat pieces out of 1/4" HDPE as I have a bunch around. Something stiffer might be better but the only place I see a problem is at the star. The second star I made, I just left more material (used 1 1/2" hole saw) and it worked great with both gaskets (2 and 3 mm).

Here's a comparison:

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and the finished sch 40 project (the second one I made with sewer pipe).

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The sch 40 pump is definitely heavier, but I'd probably stick with that material down the road for me - just more durable. I'll use both pumps a bit and maybe my opinion will change but I just tend to err on the over built side.

The last thing I found was in the first pump I used a hole saw to cut the hole in the top of the upper fitting (for the 1 1/4" plunger rod). I tested it in a piece of plywood and it seemed like a good fit, but once it was done, there was a bit more play than I'd hoped. So the second one, I used the adjustable hole saw and cut it for a snug fit, then rat tail filled it out just a little bigger. The tighter fit seems to stop some of the squeaking I get from the plunger in the looser version... nothing major, I just think getting that hole just the right size is worth the effort. Sorry no pics of that issue.

Again, thanks unlucky for originally posting this build. I really like this kind of project and I always learn a lot.
"If you dont do it this year, you will be one year older when you do"
-Warren Miller
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Old 03-20-2017   #37
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 2015
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Just posted again a few minutes ago with some pictures and videos. Heres my second post for tonight. Hopefully the first one will come through.

This is fun, I make a pump to fit me or my kids, same materials, different cut lengths to fit different people and all for about $35 and a bit of work. Store quality stuff are nice and warrantied and maybe a bit more slicker but I like my own stuff.
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Old 10-03-2018   #38
Woodland, California
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 14
Looking for a new pump, but wanting to DIY with the tools I have, I came across this thread. Always great to see people out there sharing knowledge and being creative. I did a few things differently (mostly because I have a mill and lathe), but the basic concept worked very well.

You can buy two ft lengths of sch 40 foam core PVC from Home Depot, which is super handy. Finding flat caps was a little challenging, but Nibco's caps are flat. I had to order those from HD online since they didn't carry in stores. Having a lathe, I decided to just order a 4" dia UHMW bar and part the piston and valve stop (star) out off of that after turning to the right OD. For the foam, I picked up a sheet of craft foam from Michaels for $1.

To cut the seal, I bored out the I.D. of a scrap piece of 4" solid wall (not foam core) PVC to .030" over the nominal bore size. I then put a 5-degree taper on the outside and got as close as I could to a knife edge. A few taps with a block of wood on a flat surface and it cut right through. See attachments 1 and 2.

The piston and suction valve stop were cut from 4" bar that was turned to size based on the recommendations above. To cut the shape into the valve stop (or star), I just used a hole saw that I had on hand and came up with a simple pattern. See attachments 3 and 4.

The piston was test assembled using washers as a spacer, but I later used a Nylock nut as advised. See attachment 5.

The discharge valve went together as expected. Since I didn't have one of the variable hole size cutters on hand, I used a 1-5/16" hole saw for the 1" slip fitting. The hole was a little loose, so I was extra generous with the PVC cement, hence the mess. See attachment 6.

To modify the pipe to fit over the discharge valve, I used a hole saw on the mill in combination with a hand saw to remove the leftover ears. See attachments 7 and 8.

Instead of making a second disk for the cap, I elected to bore a tight-fitting concentric hole in the cap and see how that goes. The first two trips out filling up boats tell me that it's going to work just fine like this. See attachments 9 and 10.

--to be continued in next post as there is a 10 item attachment limit--
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Old 10-03-2018   #39
Woodland, California
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 14
Construction Cont'd:
For the handle, I bored it all the way through at a constant diameter. This allowed me to pass a single piece of PVC all the way through for added strength and stiffness. To lock it in place, I just put a dab of PVC glue into the branch of the tee, then rotated the pipe. See attachments 1, 2, and 3.

For the fitting on the end of the hose, I found a 3/4 x 1" barbed union and turned down the 1" side to be a snug fit in the Leafield valve. See attachment 4.

I test fit the piston, rod, and handle in the as-built pump housing, knowing that the rod was too long. Letting it bottom on the discharge valve, I then measured the gap in the top and cut off about 1/4" more than that to provide sufficient clearance. I then glued the rod into the handle, but will just rely on the dry press fit of the 1-1/4" cap on the piston end to hold it together. This will let me get at the piston assembly and take apart if needed. See attachment 5.

I used a 3/4" ID air hose from McMaster-Carr for the discharge hose. Plenty flexible and plenty tough - about $2/ft.

See attachment 6 for the finished pump.

I have a few more photos and all of the detailed dimensions that I'd be happy to share if anyone was interested. Hope this encourages others to build your own pumps!
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Old 08-18-2019   #40
GeoRon's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 1,215
Is that all you have to do? So easy.

Buy an electric pump and a K-pump and save about over a weeks labor, an hour at each put-in and in the end be much better off.

I didn't read the whole thread but will go back. I love the detailed photos, the process and the purpose. I salute you for your perseverance, ingenuity and retro-engineering!!! I truly wish I could do the same.

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