Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pump Assembly Pages Complete

That is to say, the pages now document all the steps necessary to build a pump. These plans pages will probably never be completely finished, but for now, if you're interested in building a treadle pump, the plans and instructions pages contain sufficient documentation to enable a determined builder to complete a working pump. New readers and returning guests are invited to visit.

Build Your Own Treadle Pump.

Plans navigation page.
Pump Assembly Page.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pumps in Transit

Some months ago I wrote about Life Scout Isaac and his treadle pump project. Isaac's pumps have shipped, and are on their way to NC. Tho photos with this post show Isaac crating his pumps complete with suction hoses and filters for shipment, and delivering them to Fedex.

Isaac writes:
I was really happy to be able to finish the five pumps and ship them. Right now they are on their way to Haiti Fund, Inc. in North Carolina and then they will eventually be sent in a container directly to Haiti.  It couldn't have been done without all the people who helped with donations of materials, especially FedEx for their very generous donation of shipping costs from Oregon to North Carolina.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life Scout Seeks Sponsors

In the last post I introduced Isaac in Oregon. As it turns out, Isaac is a Life Scout, and is working to become an Eagle Scout. His Eagle Scout project is to build five pumps, and send them to Haiti. Isaac is seeking sponsors to donate funds for the purchase of the construction materials for the pumps, and help him send his pumps to Haiti or any country where they are needed and will be put to good use. So, if any of our readers are interested in making a contribution of any sort to Isaac's project, or can help with finding a good home for any or all of his pumps, you can contact Isaac at I urge you to help Isaac with his project if you can. We (Isaac and I)  thank the folks at Parr Lumber, who have already donated wood for the project. I'll be updating this post as Isaac's project progresses.

Isaac has made good  progress in the 2 1/2 weeks since the project was approved by the Eagle Scout board.  Last Thursday was his first work party and all 5 wood bases were power sawed, drilled, and assembled!   Thanks to Suburban Ace Hardware store in Aloha for donating all the hardware and pipe caps and to George Morlan Plumbing for donating the PVC and valves!

Update 2: Isaac writes and sends a photo:
    The treadle pumps are coming along very well. I hope to finish them by next Wednesday. I've attached a picture of the pumps for the blog showing that all the pipe system has been glued in place and most of the treadle pedals (3) have been attached. Lowe's was generous in supplying me with whatever else I needed to get the pumps finished such as tubing, rods, angle iron and eye bolts along with some spray hose attachments. Home Depot has provided gift cards that will go to purchase hoses to put with the pumps. I had to buy my own O-rings through the mail.  I wish to sincerely thank all the above stores that have given me ALL the parts that I needed.
 Update 3: Isaac sends the following photo of his finished pumps. He's now working to raise funds to cover shipping costs. Isaac writes that the Raleigh Hills Fred Meyer in Portland has donated funds to be applied towards the purchase of hoses.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Isaac in Portland

The blog has email from Isaac in Portland, Oregon, who has built a treadle pump for a school project. Isaac writes:

I built my treadle pump from September of last year (2010 - ed.) to March of this year. As you can see from the pictures it uses many of the same design features. Some parts of the design are quite different however. The pistons are a good example of this. For the pistons I used a 3" ABS pipe cap. I then routed this with three parallel grooves each 1/2 inch apart.  Finally I put a 4" O-Ring in each groove and greased it. These work fairly well. Another important change was the pulley system. Instead of using two pulleys I used a single bike wheel. Using parts from the same bike I secured it to the mast and had the wire rope put over it. You will also notice that the mast has been moved to the top. This also works quite well although bike wheels are not a very renewable resource. Other minor differences include a piping system composed totally of PVC and the check valves. My dad and I tried making our own check valves but found that it was almost as expensive buying them.

Congratulations to Isaac for his first rate example of a treadle pump and his innovation, and fine workmanship. I think his pistons and "O" ring seals are particularly interesting. 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Building Again

We've been idle for some time now. Things happen that interfere with progress sometimes. Months ago we started work on a website that will eventually document how to build a pump and provide plans. Most of the plans have already been published. What we're doing now is building another pump using our own plans. It's a way to check the accuracy of our own documentation. What you see in the photo are all of the wood pump parts cut to shape. There are still some holes to drill, but the parts are all there. I think. This photo or a better one will be on the pump assembly page soon along with additional photos and descriptions of the steps required to make the parts and assemble them into a working pump.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Merle in San Diego

We've received word from Merle in San Diego that, inspired by this blog and the Pump Plans Website, he has built his own pump. I say his own because although Merle's pump shares many components with the pump designed here, he has incorporated so many features and innovations that his pump stands on its' own merits. Of particular interest are the use of a rocking arm instead of cables and pulleys and valve bases of his own design that use rubber from inner tubes as flapper valves.

Merle writes:

I built your pump and it works great!!! I haven't gotten all the kinks out of it yet, but against about a 12' head I was pumping 6gpm with an easy cadence. I did a few things differently and have posted the pictures at: I used 4" abs plastic pipe since Home Depot here only stocks pvc in small diameter pipe. Pvc may be better and smoother, I don't know. Abs bends out flat in the oven like you described, and was easy to work with. I also did flapper valves out of truck inner tube. I don't know if they're better than your ball check valves or not. They do raise the whole affair a couple of inches and require considerable work, but seem rugged and dependable. The rubber works as a gasket and as a valve, but requires more bolts to hold the assembly together. I went to a rocker arm instead of the pulley system. This allowed me to make an adjustable/removable handle. Since portability is an issue, I went ahead and put plywd. wheels and old bike tires on it and used the handle as a tongue. When it's flipped over, the pump and the 10' pipes can easily be pulled back home. I couldn't tell if the pump position was adjustable on your design or not, but I drilled this for 6 different pump positions to allow for different lifts and different operator sizes. I used half inch axle and bolts, and for bearings I used half inch copper pipe, with a slotted and squeezed down half inch copper pipe sleeve. This gave a reasonably snug bearing, and these bearings were epoxied into the wood for all the moveable parts. I used a combination of fir framing lumber, hardwood bearing blocks, and 3/4" plywd. I haven't figured the total cost yet, but am thinking that they will be acceptable.

Readers are encouraged to view Merle's photo set on Flicker Photo Sharing.

Merle is the first reader to send photos of a working pump. This is just the sort of participation and innovation we were hoping for when we started the treadle pump blog. Great work , Merle.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pump Plans Website Up and Running

Pump Plans are now available. We've got a website for those of you who want to build your own pump from plans called the "Build Your Own Treadle Pump" website. The site is a work in progress, and probably always will be. The link above and in the right sidebar takes you to the homepage with links to a Plans Navigation Page, and separate pages for wood components, PVC components (pistons and check valves) and metal parts. Drawings are in the form of .jpg files that you can download to your very own computer.

We have also provided an assembly page that is woefully under developed for now. We'll be filling that in as we go with instructions for making the parts and assembling the pump.

Building a pump is not a trivial matter, or a weekend project (maybe two weekends), but there is nothing that you can't make with simple tools, and materials available from the hardware store.

The plans were drawn using Google Sketchup. It's available as a free download from Google, and is easy to learn. Google provides free tutorials to help get you started. If you're aleady a user or download the software and learn to use it, we can send the .skp files by email with the plans if requested to do so. You can have your very own set of plans.

Jim and I have some other related ideas that we're talking about as well. They may surface here or on the website sooner or later. Wait and see.