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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8388399@N04/sets/72157604684368411/ 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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Teaser

Jim and I have said we're working on plans. In fact, we're working on plans, assembly drawings, and a new website where it can all be published. The photo is a teaser. We've had a breakthrough with our documentation issues recently. Enjoy.

Update: The plans are coming along nicely, and I've updated the assembly drawing. The end braces are installed and the metal parts and pump cylinders are there now. I've also added a photo of the pump with edges and solid surfaces for people who don't like ghostly images.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In Lieu of Plans, a Dimensioned Photo


Jim and I have been absent for a while. We're still around and we're still working. We're also still receiving requests for plans. We were surprised a few days ago to receive a photo and email from people we'll call T and D who have decided not to wait, and have started building a pump modeled on ours based on information from this blog and dimensions gleaned from the photos posted here. Jim and I are as pleased as we can be that T and D have exercised this initiative. So, to help speed the process along, and to provide more information to anyone else out there inclined to give pump building a try, I've published these photos of an assembled pump with dimensions pasted over the photo. As always, click on the photo for an enlarged more legible version. More and clearer photos will follow. I'm hoping, as soon as spring and warmer weather arrives, to be able to publish photos of T and D's finished pump. If anyone else out there is building a pump and needs a particular dimension or has a question, please contact me at the email address in the right sidebar. I'll do my best to post an appropriate photo and the dimensional information or other as requested.