Experiments in Garden Hose Hydraulics

Experiments in Garden Hose Hydraulics
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Dave Sharp of the Hive76 hackerspace has been playing around with garden hose hydraulics, and the result is rather cool:

The pressure in your typical garden hose is nominally around 40 psi or so, so my first hydraulic cylinder should be able to develop about 125 pounds of force if it had really good seals. This is a proof of concept so I didn’t bother with o-rings or anything, so it leaks like crazy and thus is unable to develop quite those kinds of pressures, although it is quite strong. Moving from a 2″ to a 3″ hydraulic cylinder would bring this up to about 282 pounds of force, not too shabby for garden hose power!

The hydraulic cylinder is made of standard PVC pipe (2″ for the cylinder and 1.5″ for the ram), although I had to use my lathe to turn down a 1.5″ pipe cap to fit inside the outer cylinder. The control valve is made of 1/2″ CPVC fittings and tubing, with the exception of the spool which is a length of 1/2″ solid PVC rod. I had to turn down the spool on my lathe to the appropriate profile and also had to drill out the valve to fit it. The fit is fairly poor but it shows that the concept definitely works. Eventually I am hoping to be able to have all the custom parts injection molded to get the unit cost down cheap enough that it would make a good toy for DIY doodlers and budding engineers everywhere.

14 thoughts on “Experiments in Garden Hose Hydraulics

  1. dcbpe says:

    Here’s an idea for a product…a tool that home-mechanics can attach to their hose-bib and jack up their car. Can you get the force to increase that much, in a stable and marketable unit?

    1. asciimation says:

      You can do it with a shop vac on blow and a strong plastic bag with a piece of wood on it placed underneath the wheel of a car. I am not saying it’s safe or advisable but you can do it! Search online for “The secret life of machines – the vacuum cleaner” episode (they are freely available). They demonstrate in that.

      1. dcbpe says:

        Seriously?! I know what I’ll be doing this Saturday.

        1. asciimation says:

          They are also commercially available. Look for air lifting bags. Fire departments use them as part of their rescue kit.

  2. mauimaker says:

    There are pool lifts that can raise/lower a 200+lb person out of/in to a swimming pool using just the pressure from a garden hose. Very nice designs and smooth operation I recall… and you didnt have to have AC motors/pumps near the pool.

  3. Repairing your Garden Hose | betteryearroundgardens.combetteryearroundgardens.com says:

    […] Experiments in Garden Hose Hydraulics […]

  4. Pocket Hose says:

    Good post. Interesting experiment, to make a hydraulic with a garden hose. Thanks for posting.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

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