SIX SIMPLE PUMPS
A Construction Guide
1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 500
Arlington, Virginia 22209 USA
Tel: 703/276-1800 . Fax: 703/243-1865
Production of Six Simple Pumps has required the advice and
expertise of many VITA Volunteers. VITA is indebted to them,
not only for the original designs, but also for their expert
guidance during the preparation of the manual. Special
Derek W. Adams, technical manager of engineering and R&D
Daystrom Ltd., Gloucester, U.K.; Stephen Bernath, consultant
forest hydrology and watershed management; Leonard G. Doak,
professional engineer and literacy consultant; Dale Fritz,
expert in pumps, wells, and farm equipment; V. Geethaguru,
research technologist at the Shri AMMA Murugappa Chettiar
Research Centre, Madras, India; William Kennedy, member of
faculty of engineering mechanics at the Open University,
Keynes, U.K.; Dr. Richard G. Koegel, Research Agricultural
Engineer with the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center in
Wisconsin; Jerry Lundquist, technical writer and editor;
Sadler, senior design engineer for the Sperry New Holland
Dr. Clifford L. Sayre, Jr., professor of mechanical
at the University of Maryland; Dr. Charles D. Spangler,
engineering consultant to the World Bank, WHO, USAID, and
others; and Dr. Yaron M. Sternberg, professor of civil
and director of the International Rural Water Resources
Laboratory at the University of Maryland.
Christopher Schmidt, free-lance artist, provided the
and Julie Badger of the VITA staff did typesetting and
Other staff assistants were Gregory A. James and Robert
Publication of Six Simple Pumps was made possible by a grant
from Dresser Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of
and pumping apparatus. With its own commercial products
unaffordable by many people in developing countries, Dresser
supports VITA in this effort to help those same people
reliable supply of water.
Margaret Crouch, VITA
Volunteers in Technical
TABLE OF CONTENTS
DIAPHRAGM PUMP (Irrigation)
PITCHER PUMP (Irrigation or potable water)
SPANGLER PUMPS (Potable water or irrigation)
INERTIA PUMP (Irrigation)
ANIMAL DRIVEN CHAIN PUMP (Irrigation)
ARCHIMEDES SCREW (Irrigation)
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
APPENDIX I - DECISION MAKING WORKSHEET
II - RECORD
III - WOODEN
BEARING BLOCK FABRICATION
Over the years VITA has made available designs for a wide
variety of manually operated pumps, developed or modified
primarily by VITA Volunteers for projects in the field. The
designs respond to local conditions--a pump with wooden
parts for Vietnam where little metal was available; another
based on polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe; still others adapted
from tried and true designs, but with added efficiency or
VITA has compiled some half dozen of these designs into this
manual. The collection snows a range of options for simple
pumps that are relatively cheap and easy to build and
with local skills and materials. They present viable
to more expensive pumps requiring costly fossil fuels
for operation. Several would also serve well as the basis
small manufacturing enterprises.
Because they must be primed or otherwise cannot be sealed,
of the pumps and water-lifting devices presented here are
useful for irrigation purposes. The Spangler pumps, and
the pitcher pump in certain applications, however, can be
effectively in sanitary wells for potable water supply
For health and safety reasons, the well to be used with the
pumps should be covered if possible. Small-bore sanitary
should be sealed with cement or stone- or brick-work to
contamination of the water supply. Larger wells may be
with sturdy platforms. The well cover provides a base for
attaching the pump-stand, and helps prevent entrance into
well of debris that might damage the pump or cause excessive
wear on the moving parts.
The ground around the well should be sloped away from the
opening to allow excess water to run off. This helps prevent
the seepage of polluted water back into the well. It also
prevent the buildup of mud anti stagnant pools that are
breeding grounds for hookworm, mosquitoes, and other pests.
But this is a pump book, not a wells manual. The editors do
presume a level of experience--or access to expertise--with
wells. For further information on building and operating
wells, readers are referred in the Resources section to
excellent books on the subject. And for the proper
of drinking water wells, check with the nearest sanitary
inspector of the Ministry of Health.
Complete instructions for building each pump are included in
the manual, with detailed drawings to guide construction.
and maintenance directions are also given. Efficiency
comparisons enable the user to choose the best design for a
Readers who may be using this manual as part of an
or water supply project are urged to contact VITA for needed
technical assistance. The decision making guide in Appendix
will help frame questions and focus project considerations.
VITA can also provide technical. and management assistance
those who may be interested in manufacturing the pumps.
Table of Uses and Costs
to 25 ft. 10 to 30
$10 to $20
8 to 10 $20 to $40
3. Spangler 50[plus]
ft. to 20 ft.
5 to 15
12 to 24 ft.
to 70 $10 to $20
100 to 150 $50 to $100
- 1 to 2 ft.
50 to 150
$10 to $50
This hand-operated pump <see figure 1-5> was designed
for use in Vietnam in the
early 1960s. It is made primarily of wood and rubber, plus
metal fasteners, washers, and bushings at two wear points.
consists of a pumping chamber that is a watertight wooden
fitted with two rubber flap valves. A diaphragm made from
tube rubber forms the top of the lower pumping chamber. A
vertical pump handle is attached to the center of the
Moving the pump handle increases or decreases the
volume of the pumping chamber. It is the change of volume in
conjunction with the two flap valves that forces water
Two or three liters of water can be pumped a vertical
of three to four meters at each stroke. If the pump is made
smaller, it will pump a smaller amount of water a greater
If it is made larger, it will pump a larger amount of
water a shorter distance.
The pump can be operated by one or two people, and can be
adapted for use with animal or wind power. Bamboo piping or
other low cost piping can be used with the pump to deliver
water economically for considerable distances. Two or more
pumps can be used side-by-side to move more water per
or end-to-end to move water farther.
This pump has the following advantages:
It is extremely simple, without any
It can be built and repaired with skills
found in the average village.
Unlike hand irrigation with buckets, the
only the water moves. In using pole and
worker must raise his entire body weight,
plus that of the
pole and buckets. This is nearly twice
the weight of the
water. In addition, the worker with
buckets must make
a return trip. The pole and bucket system
wastes a great
deal of human energy.
Dr. Richard G. Koegel, the primary designer of this plan, is
with the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center at Madison,
A VITA Volunteer for many years, Dr. Koegel has long
in Asia and Africa where he designed, built, and
tested many technologies disseminated through VITA.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
2" by 2" by 36", hardwood
arm 1" by
6" by 8-1/2", hardwood
arm to pump handle 3/8" dia. by
4", machine 2
bolts with nuts and
rod for handle 1/2" dia.
by 8" steel rod
or G.I. pipe
rod mounting clamps Approx.
1/16" by 1" by 4"
sheet metal strip
1" by 14" by 14",
and lower chamber 1" by
4" by 10", hardwood
upper and lower Approx. 1/4"
by 2" lag
bolts or wood screws
Approx. 1/16" by 12" by 12"
inner tube rubber
1" by 7" by 7", hardwood
Approx. 1/4" by 3-1/2"
fastening screws lag
bolts or wood screws
Diaphragm support arm
2" by 4" by 6",
Diaphragm support arm
3/8" dia. by 5" machine
bolt, nut and flat washer
and lower frame parts 1" by
4" by 12", hardwood
5a Same as
part 3a Same as part
check valve Approx.
1/16" by 2-1/2" by
inner tube rubber
check valve Approx.
1/16" by 2-1/2"
dia. sheet metal disk
valve reinforcement 1/4" dia. by
1" machine 1
bolt, nut, and flat washer
check valve 3/4" long
flat head nails 3
valve gasket Approx.
1/16" by 4" by 6"
inner tube rubber
block 2" by
4" by 6", hardwood
valve gasket Approx.
1/16" by 4" by 6"
inner tube rubber
flange 2" inner
dia. pipe flange
valve assembly 3/8" dia. by
4-1/2" machine 4
nuts, and flat bolts, nuts, and
check valve Approx.
1/16" by 2-1/2" by
3-3/4" inner tube
check valve Approx.
1/16" by 2-1/2"
dia. steel disk
valve reinforcement 1/4" dia.
by 1" machine 1
bolt, nut, and flat washer
check valve fasteners 3/4" long
valve gasket Approx.
1/16" by 4" by 6",
inner tube rubber
flange 2" inner
dia. pipe flange
valve assembly 3/8" dia.
by 1-1/2" machine 4
bolts, nuts, and flat washers
1/16" by 12" by 12"
inner tube rubber
2" by 14" by 48", hardwood
assembly bolts 3/8" dia.
by 12" machine
Waterproof glue, gum, or pitch--about 2 ounces for sealing
Notes: 1) When
lifting water for more than three or four meters,
it may be
necessary to use more layers of rubber
or to use
thicker rubber in the diaphragm, Part 4.
2) The two
metal pipe flanges, Parts 6g and 7e, should
before drilling the two 2-inch holes in the
frame parts, Part 3. The size of these
the holes for the mounting bolts may
changes in the two bottom frame parts. If such
are not available, you can make substitutes
by welding a
2-inch pipe coupling to a 1/4-inch
with a 2-inch hole cut in it.
3) In making
this pump, you can substitute narrower
are adequately cross-braced for planks of
Drill for metal: 3/8", or any means of cutting
3/8" hole in
Wood drills: 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2", or metric
Pliers or suitable adjustable wrench
Wood chisel or tool for making 2"
hole in hardwood
Metal saw or hacksaw
Wood rasp or file
Handle, Part 1, Figure 6
Smooth handle along
the top 8" to 10" to
make it easier to
grip with your hands.
Bore two 3/8"-diameter
holes, one 2"
from the bottom and
one 5" from the bottom.
Bore a 1/2" hole
1" from the bottom
and from the same
side as the other
Handle Arm, Part 1a, Figures 6, 7
Bore a 3/8"-diameter hole 1" from the pointed end
6"-long side, and another 3/8" hole 3" down
from that one. Both
holes should be 1" from the edge. Bore a 1/2" hole
1" from the
6" side and 1" from the 8" side. Drill a
second 1/2" hole 1"
from the first and 1" in from the 8" edge. Bore a
3/8" hole 2"
from the other end of the 8" side and 1" in from
the edge. The
two handle arms should be identical.
Pivot Rod Mounting Clamps, Part 1d
These two clamps are made from approximately 16-gauge sheet
metal. Wrap each one over the pivot rod for handle, Part 1c,
and drill a 3/8" hole through both thicknesses (See
(These clamps will later be mounted to the top plate, Part
by unit assembly bolts, Part 10).
Diaphragm, Part 4
Cut the diaphragm, Part 4, from inner tube material. Center
two diaphragm supports, Part 4a, over the diaphragm. Drill
12 holes for the diaphragm support fastening screws, Part
Round the edges of the diaphragm supports that touch the
Screw together the two diaphragm supports with the
diaphragm between them. Saw out the diaphragm support arm,
4c, so the wood grain runs vertically in the material (See
Bore two 3/8"-diameter holes in the support arm, one
the top and the other 2" from the top, each 2"
from the edge.
(The lower hole is needed later.)
Fasten the support arm, Part 4c, to both supports with the
1/4" by 3-1/2" wood screws or lag bolts, Part 4e.
NOTE: The pump has
and used with screws joining
the two diaphragm supports. It
will be easier to replace the
diaphragm if bolts are used to
join the diaphragm supports,
and to join the assembly to the
diaphragm support arm.
The diaphragm assembly is now
ready to be joined to the pump
handle arm by a 3/8" by 5"
machine bolt, two flat washers,
and a nut. The diaphragm support
arm should pivot easily on
Frame Assemblies, Figures 9, 10
The top and bottom chamber
frames, Parts 3 and 5, must be
cut and assembled to be as flat
and square as possible. In
making the top frame assembly--two
of Part 3 and two of
Part 5--the bottom must be very
flat and square because this is
used to hold the diaphragm in
Top Frame, Figures 9, 10
Two top frame pieces, Part 3,
and two top frame pieces, Part
5, should be assembled using
three 1/4" by 2" lag bolts at
each joint (Part 3a). Before
assembling, make sure that the
ends to be joined are smooth
and flat. Use glue, gum, or
pitch in the joints.
Bottom Frame and Valve Assemblies,
The two metal pipe flanges,
Parts 6g and 7e, should be
sawed so that the two straight
edges are parallel and 3-3/4"
apart. Bore 3/8" holes in each,
as shown in Figure 11.
Cut parts 6, 6a, 7, and 7a from rubber inner tube material
the sizes shown in the parts list. Round the bottom edges of
parts 6 and 7.
Join the outlet check valve and the outlet valve
Parts 6 and 6a, with the outlet valve reinforcement bolt,
washer, and nut, part 6b. Join the inlet check valve and the
inlet check valve reinforcement, Parts 7 and 7a, with the
valve reinforcement nut, washer, and bolt, Part 7b.
Bore a 2"-dia. hole in the center of each bottom frame
Part 3. Using the two metal pipe flanges as guides, one to
Part 3, center the flange on the 2" hole, then mark and
the four 3/8" holes around the 2" hole on each
Cut one outlet valve gasket, Part 6d, and one inlet valve
gasket, Part 7d, from inner tube rubber to the dimensions
in the parts list. Cut a 2" hole in Part 7d and a
hole in Part 6d, as shown. Cut the second outlet valve
Part 6f. Cut a 2" hole in the second gasket.
Cut a spacer block, Part 6e, to the size shown in the parts
list. Cut a 3"-square hole in its center. Bore four
holes in the spacer block to line up with the four holes in
Now assemble the bottom frame in the same way as you did the
top frame. Nail the outlet check valve on the outside of the
outlet valve hole with the outlet check valve fasteners,
6c. Be sure the outlet check valve reinforcement is on the
away from the bottom frame. Now do the same for the inlet
valve, but this time have the reinforcement on the inside of
the bottom frame (See Figure 11).
Assemble the outlet valve gasket, Part 6d, the spacer block,
Part 6e, the second outlet valve gasket, Part 6f, and the
outlet flange, Part 6a, on the outlet side of the bottom
using the 3/8" by 4-1/2' machine bolts, nuts, and flat
Use glue, gum, or pitch to seal these parts.
Assemble the inlet valve gasket, Part 7d, and the inlet
Part 7e, on the inlet side of the bottom frame, using the
by 1-1/2" machine bolts, nuts, and washers, Part 7f.
gum, or pitch to seal these parts.
Final assembly of the pump will be simplified if you make a
pattern for boring holes for the unit assembly bolts, Part
The pattern should be a square of thin stiff material
than the top and bottom frame parts. (For this size pump,
the pattern 14" on each side.) Mark a line 1/2" in
edge. Using a nail, make a hole through the pattern
from each corner. Then make additional holes 3" from
corner hole, each 1/2" from the edge of the pattern.
pattern for marking the places to drill holes through the
plate, Part 2, and the baseboard, Part 9.
The holes in the baseboard should be drilled 18-1/2"
end and 1/2" in from the two edges, using the pattern
the position of the holes.
Assemble the pump by putting a 3/8" by 12" machine
washer, Part 10, through each of the four corner holes in
baseboard, from the bottom. Put the bottom gasket, Part 8,
place. Using glue, gum, or pitch between each surface, put
bottom frame section, the diaphragm, Part 4, and the upper
frame section in place. Fit the top plate, Part 2, over the
four bolts (See Figure 12).
Loosely fit a flat washer and a nut, Part 10, on each of the
four bolts. Complete the assembly by inserting the remaining
bolts with washers through the complete pump. Put a washer
top of each bolt, and loosely fit nuts on them.
Tighten each of the nuts with your fingers, starting in one
corner and tightening each in turn. Then tighten all of the
nuts with a wrench, one at a time, with gradual even
Do not tighten one nut as tight as it will go, and then
another. Tighten each one a little bit at a time.
Woodgrain. The grain of the wood must be in a specified direction
on certain parts of this pump:
1. Top plate,
Part 2: the grain in this wood should run
in the same
direction as the slot that is 5" wide
supports, Part 4a: when these two parts are
the diaphragm, the grain in one piece
90[degrees] from the grain in the other.
support arm, Part 4c: the grain in this part
from one 4"-wide end to the other.
4. Spacer block,
Part 6e: the grain here should run from
4"-wide end to the other.
Part 9: the grain in this part should run
the length of
the wood; that is, from one 14"-wide end
to the other.
Waterproof glue, gum, or pitch. Where two wood parts are to
joined with glue, gum, or pitch, the surfaces should be as
smooth as possible. This will improve the seal at the joint.
Bottom frame pieces. These are screwed together in these
If long threaded rods are used in place of the
screws, the bottom frame parts can be tightened more easily
a leak develops. To use threaded rods, you must bore holes
through the bottom frame parts, Part 3, from end to end.
Pipe flanges. The pipe flanges, Parts 6g and 7e, should not
touch the baseboard or overlap the upper frame because this
would affect the watertightness of the joints. Cut the face
the flange to a size that will avoid this problem.
Handle mounting. Be sure that the connecting bolt, Part 4d,
does not rub against the slot in the top plate, Part 2. If
does, either shorten the bolt, or cut a notch in the slot so
the parts do not rub against each other.
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
When you are ready to use the pump, fill the diaphragm
with water. Do this by pivoting the pump on its inlet side.
Prop the outlet valve open and pour water through the valve.
With the pump in this position and the inlet hose inserted
the water source, operate the pump while pouring water into
chamber. The pump will soon start working. The time and
needed for this depends on the length of the inlet hose.
Usually five to ten strokes of the handle will be
sufficient. <see figures 13 & 14>
Two pumps can be
mounted side by side,
as shown in Figure 15,
and operated by a
person standing on the
beam and rocking from
side to side. This is
an easy way to operate
The rubber valves and the diaphragm may need replacing after
to 12 months when the pump is used two to three hours a day.
You may need to replace them sooner if the water is dirty,
if the pump is used more every day, or if the rubber
is not in good condition.
If the pump does not pump water, the trouble probably is
air leaks either from faulty construction or alignment of
valves, or worn valves or diaphragm.
A small quantity of grease should be applied to the two
rod mounting clamps, Part 1d, when they squeak.
Variations of the pitcher pump, a piston-type handpump, have
been in use for centuries in many parts of the world.
manufactured pumps are produced in a wide range of sizes
to meet many different needs. The pump presented here
<see image> is
durable and easy to use. It is a good design for production
a central shop. Or it can be made by anyone with access to
The pump lifts between eight and ten gallons per minute for
about 10- to 15-foot suction. The maximum lift is about
Some welding may be required, as well as pipe threading, but
alternative construction processes are given to accommodate
available resources and skills.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
2" x 5" x 24" hardwood
1/4" x 3" steel rod or G.I.
pin in each end
3/8" x 3-1/2" steel rod or
G.I. pipe; 1
pin in each end
Metal strap 1/4" x 1" x
3" I.D. x 18" - G.I. pipe
(threaded on one end)
1/2" dia. x 18" steel
(threaded on one end at least
3/16" dia. x 1-1/2" cotter
pin or nail 1
1/2" I.D. flat washer
2-1/2" O.D., 1/2" I.D.
2-3/4" dia. x 1-1/2"
1" x 9-1/2" leather strap
Note: brads or screws required
to hold leather strap to 3d.
Will need about 10 to 12
flat headed nails; use brass
nails if available
1/2" machine nut--to fit on
3-1/2" to 4" I.D. pipe
1/4" x 1" x 1-1/2"
steel bar stock 4
1" I.D. pipe flange.
can be a 1" I.D. pipe
welded to a 1/4" thick x
dia. steel ring.
1/8" x 2-1/2" dia. leather
cut to an oval shape, shorter
dia. [+ or -]2"
1/4" I.D. x 1-1/2" O.D.
1/4" x 1" machine screw and
3/16" x 1-1/2" machine
1" G.I. pipe length as needed to
G.I. - Galvanized iron
I.D. - Inner diameter
O.D. - Outer diameter
Drills for metal, sizes 3/16", 1/4", 3/8",
Wrenches (pliers and pipe wrench)
Shears capable of cutting sheet metal, leather, and rubber
1. Handle Assembly, Figures 2, 3:
Cut the handle according to the following drawing (Figure 4)
from good hardwood stock measuring 2" x 5" x
Cut a 3" x 5/8" slot, centered on the 2"
edge, into the short
end of the handle. This slot will hold the piston rod. Taper
and smooth the long end of the handle to permit easy hand
Drill a 1/4" hole through the slotted end, about
1/2" in from
the top and front
edges. This hole will accommodate pivot Part
1a which secures the piston rod.
Drill a 3/8"
hole at a point 5" or 6" from the 1/4" hole, and
parallel to it, approximately equidistant from top and
edges. Position this hole carefully in order to prevent as
as possible the horizontal movement of the pump rod.
Bend Parts 1c, the 1/4" x 1" x 8" steel
straps, into a 20[degrees]
angle at the midpoint.
Drill 3/8" holes at one end of the straps. This is to
the handle via the pivot Part lb.
Weld the straps to the cylinder as shown in the cutaway view
(see Figure 5).
Alternate method of constructing the handle, Part 1c:
Part 1c could also be constructed by slotting and drilling a
12" long section of 2" x 4" piece of wood to
handle. The wooden piece could then be strapped onto the
by two wooden clamps, each of which would be cut to fit
halfway around the cylinder, thus avoiding the necessity of
2. Cylinder assembly, Figure 5:
The cylinder is
from a piece of
3" inside diameter
G.I. pipe. Make
spout for the
cutting two slots
in the unthreaded
end of the pipe.
slot should be cut
straight down from
end; the other
should be cut
2" across the
unthreaded end and
at a point
the bottom of
the first slot.
Bend the two
weld a metal plate
bottom of the
spout could be
bolted to the
The inside of the
must be sanded as
emery paper or
wear on the piston
3. Piston rod assembly, Figure 6:
The piston rod
assembly is as
shown (3, 3a), but
a few additional
points are worth
a 1/4" hole
the piston rod
from the top. Another
should also be
bored 2" up
from the threaded
end of the rod.
4. Piston assembly, Figures 7, 8, 9:
Carefully drill the holes in
hardwood block 3d. The 1/2"
diameter center hole must be
exactly on center and parallel to
the sides of the block. The 3/8"
diameter side holes should be
equidistant from the center hole,
and should also be parallel to
the sides of the block. The distance
from the center hole to the
centers of the side holes should
be 1" (See Figures 7 and 8).
As shown in Figure 9, the lower
portion of the piston block has
a slightly larger diameter than
the upper portion. The lower
portion should be 1/4" thick
and 2-3/4" in diameter. The
upper portion should be 2-7/16"
diameter (See Figure 9).
Part 3e is a section of leather strap wrapped around the
block and tacked onto the smaller upper section. Tack the
leather along its lower edge to permit the upper half to
outward. The leather strap should be pounded with a hammer
along its upper edge before it is tacked to the block. This
will force the leather into a cone shape so it will seal
effectively against the cylinder wall. It might be helpful,
is not necessary, to sew the strap together at the joint.
Finally, fit rubber disk 3c over the top of the piston. Pit
large metal washer 3b over 3c.
5. Connector/reducer assembly:
The connector/reducer assembly consists of a 3-1/2" or
diameter) pipe coupling (4) that has a pipe flange (4b)
welded onto one end. The mounting holes in the pipe flange
welded shut. If a pipe flange is unavailable, a substitute
be made with a 1" (inside diameter) pipe coupling and a
ring (3-1/4" outside diameter, 1-1/4" inside
diameter and 1/4"
thick). The 1" coupling is then simply welded to the
the resulting assembly welded to the connector as before.
care to make these welds watertight.
The connector also serves as a housing from which the pump
Weld four 1/4" x 1" x 1-1/2" metal bars (4a)
at right angles to
each other on the very bottom end of the pipe connector.
3/8" diameter holes in these four metal bars. Note that
metal bars should be slightly rounded where they contact the
pipe coupling (See Figure 12).
6. Foot valve assembly,
Figures 10, 11:
The foot valve assembly
of an oval-shaped
disk (5), a sheet
(5a), a 1/4"
x 1" machine screw
and nut (5b), and
with nuts (5c).
Shape the foot
into an oval as
shown in Figure 12
2"). Punch a
through the leather
at a point about
5/8" to 3/4"
in from one end.
Bolt the sheet
metal disk to the
through this hole
as shown in
the diagram. The
bolt and sheet
leather as it
closes over the
Cut two 3/16" holes through the
leather about 1" apart and 1/2"
in from the closest point of
contact with the side of the
Drill two corresponding 3/16"
holes into the reducer assembly
(4b) as shown in Figure 12.
Mark these holes carefully as
they determine the location
and effectiveness of the foot
valve leather to a considerable
Cut a slight groove, 1/32" deep
across the leather (5) so that
it will bend along a specified
line. Cut the groove as close
as possible to the 3/16" nuts
that mount the leather disk.
Insert the 3/16" machine screws
through the bottom of the reducer
assembly. Then place the
foot valve leather, then the
two 3/16" nuts. Apply some tar
or pitch to the holes in the
reducer before and after the
insertion of the 3/16" machine
screws to prevent air and/or
The effectiveness of the foot
valve will be determined by the
seal it makes with the suction
inlet. Be very careful to make
the suction inlet as flat and
smooth as possible before
mounting the foot valve leather.
It is very important to
locate the foot valve so that
it does not come in contact
with the piston as this will
make operation very difficult. <see figure 13>
7. Suction pipe and inlet filter assembly:
Cut 1" diameter pipe to the
required length. Note that the
total lift of water must not
be more than 20 feet.
Make the inlet filter by cutting
approximately 75 slots 1"
long at the bottom end of the
suction tube. The width of the
slots will equal the width of
the hacksaw blade. Start cutting
slots 2 ft. from the
bottom of the pipe. Space
slots over a 2 ft. length.
This will give a 2 ft. sand
trap. Take care to stagger the
slots and avoid cutting too
deeply as this will weaken the
Pound the bottom end of the
pipe flat to force the water
to be drawn in through the
slots. Or thread the pipe and
install an end cap. <see figure 14>
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
The pump must be primed to
begin working. Pour water into
the cylinder while pumping the
handle for a few strokes. This
develops a low pressure area below the piston and above the
foot valve. The low pressure area draws water in through the
foot valve as the piston moves upward. At the top of the stroke
of the piston, the foot valve will close and prevent the
from escaping back down into the suction pipe.
As the piston moves downward, the water is forced through
holes in the piston, past the rubber disk and into the area
above the piston. By the time the piston is at the bottom of
the stroke, most of the water should be above the piston. As
the piston is again lifted, the water spills out of the
At the same time, more water enters through the foot valve.
Quite often when this type of pump is first installed in a
bored tube well, it becomes necessary to draw very fine
and clay particles through the filter before the water will
enter the suction tube readily. This process is known as
"developing the well" and it may take from two
hours to several
days of continual use of the pump before the water becomes
clear. If the pump is mechanically sound, you will note that
the pump also becomes easier to operate as the water becomes
The piston and foot valve leathers will need to be replaced
periodically. Exact life of the piston leather and foot
depend on the quality of leather. Pumps made with factory
machine tools and materials will often last 7 or 8 months
continued use before the leathers must be replaced.
If, after the well is developed, i.e., the water is clear
flowing freely, the pump continues to be easy to operate but
draws little water, an air leak may have developed. Air
may occur in one of four places:
1) where the cylinder is
screwed into the connector reducer unit; 2) where the
tube is screwed into the connector reducer unit; 3) where
piston rod meets the rubber disk and/or, 4) where the piston
leather meets the cylinder.
If the leaks occur in the threaded parts, put pipe compound
equivalent on the threads before screwing the parts
If the leaks occur where the rubber disk contacts the piston
rod, replace the rubber disk, making the inner hole slightly
smaller than 1/2" in diameter.
If the leaks occur where the piston leather meets the
replace the piston leather and/or rub it with a good leather
oil or equivalent.
Grease moving parts at frequent intervals.
Commercial pumps have traditionally been made of cast iron
because of its strength and durability. And the cylinders
often been lined with brass to ensure smoothness and prevent
wear on the pump leathers. Unfortunately, however, use of
metals has often made the pumps either too costly to purchase
or too complicated to fabricate. <see image>
During the early 1970s, VITA Volunteer C.D. Spangler, a
engineer, began experimenting with pumps made of polyvinyl
chloride pipe. PVC pipe is lightweight, durable, easy to
with, and relatively inexpensive. It can be made into pumps
that are far easier to build, install, maintain, and repair
than cast iron pumps. It is now available in most countries
sizes suitable for construction of even deep well pumps. And
pumps made of PVC pipe can be sealed and used in sealed
so that they are well suited to potable water supplies. VITA
published Spangler's original designs in 1975 in Handpumps
Village Wells. They have found wide acceptance, especially
southern Asia. Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok tested
pumps extensively and suggested improvements to the piston
assembly in an environmental health project supported by the
World Health Organization and the United Nations Development
Programme. By the end of 1981, nearly 10,000 of the pumps
in use in Thailand alone.
PVC pumps are especially suitable for community water
and as the basis for small scale manufacture. The parts are
relatively simple and can be fabricated by small shops or
in a given design. Most countries now have plants to
extrude PVC pipe, even where the raw material is imported.
This section of Six Simple Pumps differs somewhat from the
other chapters in that it actually covers two separate
one for shallow wells and one for deep wells. Both are made
PVC pipe, however, and so have very similar construction
Pipe sizes and piston styles vary with the type and
depth of the well being used. Basic methods for working with
PVC pipe are included, as are techniques for making a variety
of valves and pistons. Construction drawings for each of the
pumps provide guidelines to the sizes and quantities of
Both of the pumps are of the piston type. The shallow well
pump, for a water table 5-20 feet beneath the surface of the
ground, will discharge 5-15 gallons per minute. For the deep
well pump, pump discharge depends on the diameter of the
the length of the stroke, and the number of strokes per
minute. If the water level is less than 30 feet below the
of the ground, the cylinder could be up to 4 inches in
diameter. If the water level is farther from the surface,
longer column of water that must be lifted becomes heavier
a greater effort is required to operate the pump. The
the distance to the water level, the smaller the diameter of
the piston should be, so it is not too hard to pump.
The traditional pump stand is made of cast iron. It supports
the handle and contains the discharge spout. Direct suction
pumps, or shallow well pumps, have the piston and lower
in the pump stand, which is also the cylinder. Traditional
well pumps have the cylinder with piston and valves below
lowest water level in the well and suspended from the base
the pump stand by the discharge pipe.
In the designs presented here, the handle is supported on a
separate post next to the well and pump stand. The pump
without the handle provides only a passage for the rod, a
channel for the water, and a discharge spout. In shallow
it is also the cylinder and the support for the suction
Since the pump stand does not bear the load and stress
by the handle, it need not be so strong, and therefore does
have to be of cast iron.
If the PVC pump stand needs protection, a concrete pipe,
pier, or wooden post can be placed around it, with the spout
extending beyond the protection. Such a pump will use a
of expensive materials and can be easily repaired.
The post supporting the handle can be made of concrete,
stone, or wood, depending on local availability and cost.
distance from the post to the pump can vary so as to provide
the best leverage. The closer the handle pivot is to the
the easier it will be to pump. The length of the stroke will
smaller, however, and so will the discharge.
The handle can be made of wood that can be replaced locally
when worn or broken. The handle should also have a stop on
support post so it will not strike the top of the pump
The seal between the piston and the cylinder wall is usually
provided by a leather or rubber disk with a turned-up edge,
called a "bucket." Quality control is important if
or rubber buckets are to be obtained. These are not
and if good ones cannot be obtained locally, they can be
imported from many countries in the developing world--India,
Pakistan, Korea, Thailand, and others.
The pump is simple, dependable and low in cost. The object
pump project should be to develop a pump that can be
in quantity by local technology to meet the needs of most of
the rural population in the area. A pump similar to that
in Figure 2 has been developed in Thailand at a cost of
US$30. It delivers about 5-15 US gallons per minute
on depth to water. It is being used for irrigation as well
for domestic purposes.
SHALLOW WELL PUMP
This suction type pump is usually used with shallow wells
may also be used with deep driven, jetted, or drilled wells
where the pressure in the aquifer is enough to keep the
level at all times within 20 feet of the ground surface. The
pump stand is a length of 3" PVC pipe, which also
serves as the
pump cylinder. The well casing itself may be the suction
in driven or small-diameter jetted or drilled wells. In dug
wells, the 1-1/2" suction pipe is suspended from the
pump stand, which in either case must be set firmly in the
The top of the pump stand should be several inches above the
spout and have a removable cap with a slot to allow for the
small back and forth movement of the rod. To remove the
and replace the leather bucket it is only necessary to
the rod from the handle, remove the cap and pull out
the piston. If the lower valve is a poppet type valve it can
have a small loop at the top and can be fished out using a
with a hook at the end.
DEEP WELL PUMP IN CASED WELL <see figure 3>
PVC casing can be used in either jetted or drilled wells. In
jetted wells the hole is full of water and the PVC casing
be placed in the hole with little possibility that there
be caving before the casing is in place. The same is true of
wells drilled by the rotary process. With percussion drilled
wells the best procedure is to drive a metal casing and then
insert a PVC casing and screen after the aquifer has been
penetrated. The metal casing is then removed to be used
In wells with PVC casings, the PVC casing can also act as
If the water level is less than 50 feet below the surface,
handle support should be placed to enable the pumper to lift
the column of water in a 3" PVC casing without too much
exertion. If the water level is deeper than 50 feet, a
of 2" PVC casing should be used.
The lower valve can be the same basic design as the piston
valve, except that it has a slightly larger diameter. It
fits very tightly in place and does not need a separate
seat. But it can be removed for repairs if necessary.
method is to fix a permanent valve seat into the casing at a
joint below the farthest travel of the piston. The valve
can be made of brass, glass, or flat PVC cemented into
In this case a flap or poppet type of valve should have an
bolt with the loop at the top so the valve can be fished out
with a hook for repairs as necessary.
The length of the rod is chosen to place the piston below
lowest water level in the well. The piston may be standard,
with one or two leathers. The top of the well and the handle
support are the same as in the suction type shallow well
It is easy to remove the rod and piston for repairs.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
PVC piping as indicated
A. Pump Body and Well Pipe
1. Well casing PVC
pipe rated at 120 lb/[in.sup.2] (number, diameter,
and length will
vary depending on depth of well
couplings or cement unions to join the well
3. PVC inlet
screen, commercial or locally fabricated.
on depth and flow rate of the aquifer
4. PVC end cap
(inlet screen body)
5. 1.5" to
2" PVC outlet spout
Same as above
except that Numbers 3 and 4 are generally not
required, if for
B. Flap-Type Piston Assembly
2. Threaded steel
assembly rod (galvanized would be good,
but is not
3. Brass nut
4. Brass washers
5. Rubber disk
6. Piston leather
(strip approx. 1" x 7", cut to fit)
fitting to connect to pump rod (specification
depends on type
of pump rod used)
C. Recoverable Flap-Type Foot Valve
Same as B above
except a threaded brass rod is substituted
for Number 1.
Also, a galvanized
eye bolt may be used instead of threaded
brass rod in some
D. Pump Rod
steel rod, sections 3/8" to 1/2" with threaded
and length depend on depth of well)
steel threaded unions, as required
3. Galvanized lock
nuts, as required
4. Top and bottom
connections to piston and pump handle
will depend on design chosen)
1. 1" PVC
pipe. 120 lb/[in.sup.2] rating in sufficient length
2. Bamboo or
hardwood support and guide blocks (enough to
every 6 to 7 feet)
3. Brass nuts and
bolts to attach guide blocks
4. Top and bottom
threaded couplings to connect to piston
and link to
5. Steel link-rod
6. Self tapping screws
to attach pilot block
Emery paper, sandpaper
Shears capable of cutting leather and rubber
WORKING WITH PVC PIPE
Make cuts square with long axis of the pipe, using a mitre
or temporary jig at the work site. Use a wood-working saw or
hacksaw with a coarse-tooth blade. Remove all burrs on cut
edges with a scraper and sandpaper.
Use threaded joints wherever pipe sections must be taken apart
for repair and maintenance. Thick wall (schedule 80) pipe
sections may be threaded externally (male thread) with a
thread cutter and joined with a threaded female union. Care
should be taken when joining two sections of casing with a
union to be sure that the two ends are butted flat together
with no space between them.
When joining thin wall and small diameter pipe, use a
cement and threaded coupling. If the casing is made of
bell and spigot pipe, the bell end should always be down.
the straight end as far as possible into the bell. This will
make it easier to remove the piston and/or lower valve.
Where threaded joints must be water tight, use a
non-solvent, non-toxic joint compound.
Note: If small diameter PVC pipe is used <see figure
4> as the pump rod in
conjunction with the Recoverable Flap-Type Foot Valve, use
nuts at each joint to prevent the sections from unscrewing
during installation or recovery of the foot valve.
Cemented joints are generally
cheaper than threaded joints
and are used where the joint
is expected to be permanent.
Use female unions to join
sections of pipe. End caps,
"T" fittings, reducing unions,
and other fittings can also
be cemented directly to plain
The surfaces to be joined
must be free of oil, water,
and dirt. Clean the surfaces
with fine sandpaper or solvent
Test each fitting and joint
prior to cementing.
Apply a light, even coating
of the solvent cement recommended
by the pipe manufacturer.
The cement dries
quickly, so join the parts
immediately. Give each joint
a one-quarter turn as it is
being assembled (not after)
in order to distribute the
cement evenly. Allow the
joint to cure for 5 minutes
before installation or application
of mechanical stress.
PUMP ROD AND PISTON
Metal rods are generally available commercially. Or, they
be made from 1/4" to 3/8" galvanized steel rod and
steel pipe fittings. The rod makes a movable connection at
top of the piston and with the pump handle using a yoke and
arrangement at both places.
The yoke and pin connection between the rod and the handle
move through a small arc and will cause a small side
in the upper end of the pump rod. This creates a slight
motion in the piston as it moves up and down, and causes
wear on the piston leathers or rubber buckets. To overcome
this, the Thai researchers added another yoke and pin
to the piston rod. The second connection greatly extends
the life of the leathers, but the pins in both connections
be parallel to each other or the second connection will not
effective (See Figures 5 and 8)
The pump rod can also be made of 1" PVC pipe. This has
advantage of being cheaper, lighter, and non-corroding. Use
thick wall, pressure-rated PVC. Since PVC pipe is flexible,
attach wooden guides to the pipe to prevent the pipe from
buckling on the down stroke (See Figure 6). The guides will
help prevent the side to side movement at the rod caused by
pumping action. Connect the top of the PVC pump rod to the
handle with a double-jointed link, as described above (See
Ready-made piston valves are usually readily available and
However, if desired, a piston valve can be hand
fabricated according to the instructions on pp. 22-24 of
Chapter 2, Pitcher Pump.
The Thai researchers found that a double piston valve
made the pump more efficient and prevented undue wear on the
leathers. Other types of valves are shown in Figures 6 and
FOOT VALVE ASSEMBLY
There are several good designs and means of fabricating foot
valves for the piston pump. One of the best options is to
a high quality ready-made valve and incorporate it into
the assembly of the pump. If possible, choose a foot valve
allows easy replacement of the wearing parts of the valve.
type of recoverable flap-type foot valve that can be locally
manufactured is shown in Figure 10.
Other options for the foot valve are a ball valve in a seat
(though this may cause excessive wear), a leather or rubber
flap valve, or a poppet valve (see Figure 9). If the lower
valve seat is a permanent ring of PVC or other material, it
be cemented inside the casing at a joint as the casing is
Another method has been used by Rev. George Cotter of the
Buhangija Mission in Shinyanga, Tanzania. This is to crimp
squeeze in place the PVC ring that acts as a seat for the
ball making the foot valve. Once the length of PVC pipe has
been determined, immerse the lower end in hot oil until
insert the ring an inch or two up the pipe, and use common
auto radiator hose clamps to squeeze the pipe above and
the ring position. The hose clamps can be used again and again
as the PVC pipe will not return to its original shape once
has cooled. The easiest way to handle the hot oil is simply
have a paint can (or other metal container) of used engine
This can be reheated again and again. Cotter also suggests
the end of a section of PVC pipe can be softened and flared
fit over a metal pipe or another section of PVC pipe by this
RECOVERABLE FLAP-TYPE FOOT VALVE
Construction of this valve is essentially the same as the
of the piston assembly, with minor changes.
1. The valve body
and leather seal must fit very tightly in
casing. Size will vary according to the type of
PVC pipe used
and so cannot be specified in advance. The
valve is wedged
tightly into place in the well casing to
prevent it from
shifting during use. It can, however, be
2. While the
piston assembly is held together with a galvanized
steel bolt, the
foot valve is assembled with a
brass bolt with
exposed threads. The brass threads will
significantly and will allow a threaded
be made whenever it is necessary to repair
or replace the
foot valve (See Figure 10).
fasten the foot valve with an eye bolt as
shown in Figure
11. The valve can then be removed by
means of a long
PVC INLET SCREEN CONSTRUCTION (DEEP WELL)
The inlet screen sits below the pump in the well. It
sand from entering the pump. PVC is a superior material for
construction of the screen because it does not corrode and
not tend to become encrusted with mineral deposits.
Inlet screen can be purchased or fabricated, and the
Rural Water Resources Laboratory at the University of
Maryland has developed a fabrication method that is readily
adaptable to local, small-scale manufacturing facilities
Resources section). Making the screen by hand is tedious,
may be the only option. If the screen is made by hand, the
following specifications must be used:
2" heavy wall PVC, 3 to 9 feet long (depending on depth
flow rate of water).
Cut fine slots one inch apart as shown in Figure 12. Do not
cut more than one-third of the way through the pipe. Start
cuts 24" from the bottom end of the pipe. This provides
a 24" sand trap.
Slots should alternate and not be directly opposite one
another. Cut at least 75 slots. After the screen and well
casing are in place, backfill around them with fine gravel
or coarse sand that has a particle size slightly larger than
PUMP STAND AND OUTLET SPOUT
In both designs presented here, the pump stand is an
of the pump cylinder and well pipe. A PVC spout must be
attached to this PVC well pipe. A piece of 1.5" to
2" PVC pipe
is cut to the desired length. One end is then
"welded" to the
3" well pipe: the end of the spout that connects with
pipe-is-cut and sanded until it fits the exact curvature of
well pipe. A spare section of well pipe or iron pipe with
same outside diameter can be used as a sanding form for this
Cut a hole the same size as the internal diameter of the
in the well pipe. Fix the spout into place as described
"Cemented Joints". Support the spout until the cement
(about 5 minutes).
To assure longer life, it may be desirable to make a
enclosure for the pump stand. A wooden, brick, or stone
or poured concrete are all options that have been tried
Choice will depend on cost and availability of
PUMP HANDLE DESIGN <see figure 13>
A. Smooth metal rod or section of G.I. pipe that works as
B. Cotter pins to hold bearing in place.
C. Pin through bearing and support so bearing will not
rotation will take place in the wooden handle,
which is easy to
replace when it wears.
D. The distance along the handle between the bearing holes
should be set so
the mid-point of the arc through which the
end of the handle
travels is over the center of the well
casing. This is
important to minimize the slight rocking
motion of the
piston (See Figure 14).
E. The bearing holes in the handle should give a smooth,
fit on the
bearings. The holes should be soaked with used
motor oil before
installation, and after installation should
often with a few drops of oil.
ASSEMBLY AND INSTALLATION OF DEEP WELL PUMP
In some situations it may be necessary to assemble and
the pump and well pipe as quickly as possible in order to
reduce the risk of collapse of the well bore. In these
situations, it is advisable to use threaded well pipe joints
these may be put into use without the delay involved in
for cemented joints to cure.
In all situations it is advisable to pre-assemble or
all PVC components and pump parts to assure that everything
will go smoothly during the actual installation. It is also
advisable to pre-test the pump, especially if the piston and
foot valve have been hand fabricated. If a recoverable
flap-type foot valve with a hardwood valve body is used,
install the valve in the pump cylinder and soak the assembly
a bucket of water for several days in order to test for fit
To assemble and install the pump and well pipe:
1. Assemble the
2. Position the
foot valve seat, if required, between the
and the part of the well pipe used as the
3. Cement the
inlet screen coupling to the pump cylinder
4. Tie a safety
line to the top of the pump cylinder section
and lower the
combined inlet screen and pump cylinder
the well bore until only a short section
5. Tie a safety
line to the top of the next section of
well pipe and
join it to the top of the pump cylinder.
If a cemented
joint is used, wait 5 minutes before
6. Untie the
safety line from the pump cylinder and carefully
combined sections into the well bore.
7. Add additional
well pipe sections as in steps 4-6 until
screen is resting on the bottom of the well
bore and a
section of well pipe 3 feet high remains above
the top surface
of the well platform.
8. Backfill the
bore with enough fine, clean gravel or
coarse sand to
cover the inlet screen section and the
The remainder of the well bore should be
dry clay, if cheap and available. The
clay will form
a grout-seal to prevent surface water from
the side of the well pipe and contaminating
the well. If
clay is too expensive, fine soil should be
used and a
cement-grout used to fill the last 10 feet of
the well bore.
9. Pour the
concrete for the well platform (if not already
done) and set
the pump handle stand in place with concrete,
wooden clamps. Be sure to permit concrete
10. Pour the
concrete for the pump stand cover if this option
is selected, or
install a protective wooden box around
the pump stand.
11. Install the
12. Lower the
recoverable foot valve if this option is
the threaded-brass bolt and nut method of
recovery is recommended for wells over 30 feet
shallower wells, a hook ring can be used instead
of a threaded
connection and the foot valve pushed
into place with
a couple of sections of 2" PVC pipe.
13. Lower the
14. Cover the pump
stand with a removable cap of PVC, light
sheet metal, or
wood. Cut a slot in the cap just large
enough to allow
the movement of the pump rod. If desired,
the pump may be
sealed more closely by the addition of a
"stuffing": cut inner tube rubber or similar
material to a
disk that is slightly larger than the inside
diameter of the
pump stand. Cut a hole in the center
of the disk that
is just large enough to allow the passage
of the pump
rod. To assemble, slip the rubber disk
over the last
length of pump rod and fit it into the top
of the pump
stand. Put the cap into place with the pump
rod poking out
through the slot.
15. Install the
pump handle and connect the pump rod to the
16. Pump the well
until the water is clear.
17. Disinfect the
ASSEMBLY AND INSTALLATION OF THE SHALLOW WELL PUMP
The installation procedure for the shallow well pump depends
the type of well bore that exists. If the well bore is not
larger than the well pipe (a drilled or jetted well),
is similar to the deep-well installation procedure. If
the well bore is large (a dug well) then assembly and
If the dug well is structurally sound and if the depth of
in the well is adequate, the pump and suction pipe are
and suspended in the well from the platform/well cover. An
inlet strainer is generally not required.
A large community well may be covered and two or three or
pumps installed, depending on the demand on the well.
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
This pump does not require priming. Water should flow easily
when the handle is pumped. Once or twice a week check to be
sure that the pump action is smooth. Be sure the handle is
loose. Put a few drops of oil on the handle pins. There are
only a few things that may prevent the pump from working
* worn piston
* worn or broken
* broken or badly
Check these regularly and replace if necessary.
If the pump is not working properly, do not wait until it
fails, but find out what is wrong and fix it promptly. This
will keep downtime to a minimum.
The design of the pump is so simple that villagers in
who do not have special equipment or tools have had no
making repairs and replacing worn parts. After varying
of use, a survey found almost all the pumps in operation,
downtime for repairs less than 5%.
With only three moving parts, the inertia pump <see
figures 1-5> is simple to
build and maintain. The design of the pump is unique: the
pump moves up and down, rather than working parts inside.
The pump can be made of sheet metal, as described here, or
PVC pipe or bamboo, although the bamboo may not last long.
The inertia pump is efficient for lifting water short
up to a maximum of about 4 meters. The capacity of the
pump depends on its size and how fast the pump is moved up
down. The 8-cm version will lift 75 to 114 liters of water
minute a distance of 4 meters. The 15-cm version will lift
to 284 liters of water per minute a distance of 1 meter.
Dale Fritz, a long-time VITA Volunteer and a former staff
member, developed the pump in Afghanistan in the mid 1950s.
pump has since been used by people all over the world.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
Materials (dimensions are given in centimeters)
8 cm 10 cm
Galvanized sheet metal
Shield, Part 2
43 x 30
49 x 30 61 x 21
Shield cover, Part
3 15 x 20
17 x 20
21 x 22
Top of pipe, Part
5 8 x 8
10 x 10 15 x
Pipe, Part 8
17 x 450
35 x 279
49 x 149
27 x 30
35 x 30
49 x 30
Handle bracket, Part
1 15 x 34
15 x 40 15 x 54
Valve bottom, Part
4a 6 x 6
8 x 8 12 x
Valve top, Part
4c 11 x 11
13 x 13
18 x 18
Hinge, Part 4d
Rubber, from inner tube
Gasket, Part 4b
11 x 11
13 x 13 18 x 18
Table 2: Tools
Anvil (railroad rail or iron pipe)
Saws, for metal and wood
Drilling tool and drills for wood and light sheet metal (or
Dimensions for three sheet metal pumps
8 cm 10
A 34 cm
Top of pipe,
Handle, Part 6
Wooden pole, about 5 cm dia. by 2 m long
Post, Part 7
Wooden pole, about 12 cm dia. by 140 m long
Table 4: Lift
and capacity for three sheet metal pumps
Pipe Diameter Pipe
Length Height of
Capacity in liters
2 to 4 m 75 to
1 to 2 m 114
1 m 227
(*) At 1830 m elevation. Will be greater at lower altitudes.
Tables 1 and 3 give the dimensions for making this pump in
three sizes. Table 4 shows the length of pipe needed for
three sizes, the height water can be lifted, and the amount
water that can be pumped.
The pump is made from the thickest galvanized sheet metal
can easily be worked by a tinsmith. Successful models have
made from 24- to 28-gauge sheet metal.
The pipe is formed and made airtight by soldering all joints
and seams. The valve is made from the metal of discarded
barrels and a piece of truck inner tube rubber. The bracket
attaching the handle is also made from barrel metal. The
can be built easily by anyone used to working with sheet
Cut the parts to the correct sizes taken from the tables.
Assemble according to the drawings. The two larger pumps may
need to be strengthened to prevent the pump body from
if the pipe hits the side of the well. Do this by forming
"ribs" about every 30 cm below the valve or by
bands made of barrel metal. The bands should be clamped
the pump body, using small bolts.
Smooth the pump handle at one end so it can be gripped
Make the supporting post about as high as a person's waist
make operation easier. Attach the handle to the pump and the
post with 10 mm bolts or nails of about that size.
In making any of these pumps, the hole covered by the valve
should have the same area as the pump body.
It is very important that the plug in the top of the pipe be
made completely airtight.
To pump more water more easily, build two of the 8-cm
Mount them about 1 meter apart on a pivot on a platform over
the well. Connect the two pumps by a wooden beam wide enough
for a person to stand on. Build troughs to catch the water
it pours out of the pumps. To use the pump, the operator
on the beam, shifting his weight from side to side.
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
The pump must be primed, and the bottom of the pipe must be
submerged far enough to develop the pull required to lift
water. For a lift of approximately 4 meters, for example,
pipe should extend into the water 1.5 meters. Check lengths
The pump works by suction. That is, it builds up a quantity
water within the cylinder. A particular rhythm is necessary
pump the water up and down. Using short strokes at the rate
about 80 per minute works best.
Otherwise, there is no real rule of thumb to guide the user,
and some practice and "trial and error"
With so few moving parts, there is little to wear out. The
valve rubber will wear, however. Check it frequently and
it if necessary. Periodically examine seams and joints
for airtightness. Seal with solder if leaks develop.
Check pivots in the handle. These will wear over time and
cause too much play in the pumping action. If this occurs
the pump is in danger of damage from striking the side of
well, make a new handle. Be sure the holes for the pivot
are the same size as the original, and not the new worn-out
Chain pumps, which can be powered by people or animals, have
been in use for centuries. The pump takes its name from the
series of links and disks forming a continuous chain that
water up through a pipe as it passes around a sprocket
The pump presented here uses salvage auto parts, scrap metal,
and heavy lumber. It was adapted by Peace Corps Volunteers
Chad from a basic chain pump that appears in VITA's Village
Technology Handbook. It will lift water from depths of up to
meters (20 feet), it the rate of 8,000-9,000 gallons per
This is the most expensive and complex of the pumps included
the manual. It also has the greatest potential output. Cost
the pump depends on the availability of salvage materials
can be reduced by substituting less expensive locally
materials where appropriate.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
As shown in Figure 1, the finished pump frame is partially
of sawed lumber. If sawed lumber is not available in the
logs can be used. Torque arms also can be made from round
or angle iron, depending on materials available. If the pump
to be moved from one well to another the logs should be kept
between 7.5cm and 12.5cm in diameter. The frame and pump can
carried without a great deal of difficulty. Or, the pump
assemblage can be pulled by an animal from one location to
Please note on the materials list that quantities are not
for the rollers, chain links, disks, attaching pins, or
gasket material. These quantities must be calculated
to the depth of the particular well.
Note also that some parts can be made of wood instead of
if it is more readily available. These parts include the
rollers, disks, and chain links.
These plans call for 15cm-diameter PVC pipe. Should a
or larger diameter pipe be used, it will be necessary to
the size of the rubber gasket and the metal disk
The metal disk should be approximately 6 mm smaller in
than the inside diameter of the pipe chosen. The rubber
on the other hand, should be 3mm larger in diameter than
the inside diameter of the pipe. A funnel-type apparatus is
attached to the bottom of the PVC pipe to guide the chain
disks into the pipe. For a 15cm pipe the flared end of the
funnel should be 36cm to 46cm in diameter.
1. Four-wheel drive
vehicle differential with brake drums
2. 8 steel arms
26.7cm x 5cm x 10mm thick steel plate
3. 30.5cm x 30.5 x
6mm thick steel plate (hub)
4. 5cm diameter
steel or cast iron rollers(*)
5. 26.7cm x 2.5cm x
6mm thick plate steel(*) (chain links)
6. 14.6cm diameter
steel disks 1.2mm thick(*) (18 gauge)
7. 15.6cm diameter
rubber gaskets 3mm thick(*) (made from old
8. 10mm diameter
steel rods 6.7cm long(*) (connecting pins)
9. 7 - 35.6cm x 5cm
x 5mm thick steel plates (torque arm reinforcement,
arm end piece and
mounting plates for guy
10. 4 - 3cm x 3cm x 3mm angle steel(*) (guy rods)
11. Scrap steel plate and inner-tube rubber (enough to cover
and seal bottom
of differential housing)
12. 1 gallon of motor oil (lubrication)
13. Cotter pins(*) (2.5cm length)
14. 24 bolts, 10mm x 2.5cm, with nuts (hub sprocket and guy
15. 12 bolts, 10mm x 8cm, with nuts
16. 4 bolts, 10mm x 14cm, with nuts (torque arm and bracket)
17. 2 bolts, 13cm x 10cm, with nuts (torque arm)
18. 6 - 13mm nuts
19. 12 bolts, 10mm x 22cm, with nuts
(*) Depends on well dimensions or depth of well.
20. 15cm diameter PVC pipe(*)
21. Wood(*) (trough)
22. 10cm x 10cm wood lumber(*) (frame)
23. 2 - 5cm x 10cm x 4.5meters wood lumber (torque arms)
Miscellaneous - 10mm dia. nails, glue, metal clamps
Needle-nose pliers (fastening cotter pins)
Metal drill and bits
Metal hacksaw and blades
Casting facilities (rollers)
Knife (to cut gasket materials)
Anvil (optional--read instructions)
Welding equipment with cutting attachments (cutting steel
This chain pump consists of four major components:
1) chain and
disk assembly, 2) sprocket hub and arms assembly, 3)
and frame assembly, and 4) torque arm attachment.
(*) Depends on well dimensions or depth of well.
I. Prepare the chain
and disk assembly.
Determine the length of the chain.
To do this, attach a large
rock to a length of rope and lower the rock into the well
it barely reaches the bottom.
The length of the rope indicates
the depth of the well and provides a guide to the number of
chain links, disks, and rollers needed.
Because the chain is
continuous, it has to be two times the depth measurement of
Figure 2 shows the dimensions of the chain links.
To find the
number of links needed for a given well, measure between the
end holes (23.7cm) and divide this number into the total
of the chain
needed. The result should be an even
odd, use the next lower even number.
Cut 6mm thick steel plate to the dimensions shown in Figure
Make two pieces for each section of chain link.
Drill holes as
Determine the number of disks required by dividing the total
number of links by two: there will be one disk for every two
links in the chain.
Figure 3 and 4 show the two disk components.
Figure 3 is a metal disk and Figure 4 is the rubber
Cut the rubber gasket carefully.
It is better to start with the
holes too small. If
the holes are too large, water will escape
between the chain link and the gasket.
Construct the required number of each component and set
Make rollers. The
number of rollers needed is equal to the
number of links. The
rollers are of steel or cast iron. If
unavailable locally, it will be necessary to have them made.
Dimensions for the rollers are provided in Figures 5 and 6.
An alternative to the one-piece cast roller is a roller made
three wood or metal disks bolted together, as shown in
Dimensions should be approximately the same as the cast
Make connecting pins.
The number needed equals the total number
of links and disks.
Figure 8 shows the dimensions of the pins.
Drill two 3.5mm holes in each pin.
The pins should be made from
cold drawn steel rods for maximum life expectancy.
the required number of pins and set aside.
Assemble the chain as shown in Figure 9.
Use the 6.7cm cotter
pins to fasten the disks and rollers to the chain link.
that the rubber and metal disks are attached to every other
link. Do not fasten
the last roller and chain link together:
this will be done after the chain is pulled through the 15cm
PVC pipe (see Figure 1).
II. Prepare the hub
Construct hub plate from a 30.5cm x 30.5cm x 6mm steel
following the dimensions given in Figure 10.
Follow the measurements
exactly. The easiest
method of scribing a circle is
with a meter stick, a nail, and a pencil.
A 10mm diameter nail
is nailed to one end of the meter stick; this point is the
center of the circle.
Measure from the nail the distance of the
radius (half the diameter) and drill a hole to fit the
at this point. Drill
a 10mm hole in the center of the steel
plate. Put the nail
in the hole and with the meter stick and
pencil draw the two circles.
Drill eight evenly spaced 1cm
holes in each circle as shown.
Take scrap steel plate, 10mm thick; cut 8 arms to the
given in Figure 11.
The two holes and radius center line
measurements must be exact for each arm.
Attach the arms to the hub with 10mm x 2.5cm bolts and
sure to insert the bolt from the back of the hub plate,
the arm section, before fastening with the nuts.
<see figure 12>
III. Prepare the
The frame is made from 3 wood beams 10cm x 10cm x 1.6 meters
long and 2 beams of 10 cm x 10cm x [diameter
of the well(s) +
The wood beams should be laid out as shown in Figure 13.
Make sure that the two bottom support beams extend at least
61cm beyond either side of the well.
Mark board positions and
remove from well.
The wooden beam that supports the pumping mechanism should
bolted to the bottom support beam 30cm from the center point
Using a wood drill, bore 10mm diameter holes.
together with 10mm x 22cm bolts and nuts.
IV. Prepare the
differential and frame assembly.
<see figures 14 & 15>
Remove one brake drum from the
Cut out a rubber gasket and
steel plate to cover the exposed
end of the differential.
Bolt into place, to keep oil
from leaking out.
Jam the differential portion
of the gearing by welding or
by inserting a piece of metal
secured with bolts so that it
cannot be moved. It
necessary to provide a means
for putting oil into the differential,
which is normally
used in the horizontal position.
(The flow of power is
reversed from that which was
initially intended; instead of
the drive shaft turning the
axle, the axle turns the drive
Attach the sprocket hub to the
flanged portion where the
drive shaft normally fastens
to the differential.
has a 10mm center hole; there
will be a similar center hole
in the drive shaft.
To center the sprocket hub on the drive shaft, place a
10mm pin in the hole of the sprocket hub and the drive shaft
center hole. Mark
the hub plate so holes can be drilled for
attaching the two.
It may be possible to remove the inside arm
bolts of the hub assembly and use those holes for attaching
hub to the flanged portion of the drive shaft.
If this is not
possible, drill new holes in the hub plate and flanged
in this case, use a minimum of four 13mm bolts.
<see figure 16>
Make the guy rod mounting brackets: two (2) brackets have to
made and welded to the underside of the brake drum.
<see figure 17>
Figure 18 shows the arrangement of the guy rods that support
and stabilize the differential.
Fasten the bottom of the guy
rod to the wooden support members by removing from each
of the frame one 10mm x 22cm bolt and nut.
Re-insert the bolts
through the guy rods and then through the wooden members.
Bolt the upper ends of the guy rods to the
mounting brackets on the brake drum.
V. Assemble the
Use scrap steel plate 5mm thick to make four reinforcing
as shown in Figure 19.
Attach one to each side of both torque
arms (5cm x 10cm x 4.5m wood lumber) where they straddle the
brake drum. Each
torque arm is attached to the brake drum with
1.3cm diameter bolts as shown in Figure 20.
Drill two 1.3cm holes in the revolving part of the brake
perpendicular to each other.
Use two 1.3cm nuts between the torque arm and the brake
these nuts serve to offset the stress of the torque arm on
the brake housing.
(See figure 21)
Construct the torque arm end bracket as shown in Figure 22.
This bracket serves to attach the two torque arms together
provides a means of hitching the animal.
Be sure to drill
through both (5cm x 10cm) wood members.
Insert 1cm x 12cm bolts
through one side of the metal bracket, through the wooden
and then through the corresponding side of the metal
bracket before fastening.
VI. Attach water
Attach the water trough and 15cm diameter PVC pipe.
shows the arrangement of the pipe and water trough.
of the PVC pipe, which is at least 20cm below the water
is flared to allow easy entry of the disks as the water is
pulled up the pipe.
The bottom section of the flare should be
2-1/2 to 3 times the diameter of the PVC pipe.
sections can be made of 18 gauge (1.2mm) steel
inside surface should be as smooth as possible where it
the 15cm pipe.
Otherwise the rubber disks will wear out
The top of the 15cm PVC pipe enters through the bottom of
wooden water trough, where it is clamped both under the
and on top to keep the pipe from being pulled through the
trough when the pump is operating.
Inner-tube rubber or scrap
pieces of 15cm PVC pipe can be used as reinforcing material
under the metal clamps.
Nail or bolt the water trough to the wooden frame supports,
differential, and also to the wood cross member located on
outer perimeter of the well (see Figure 18).
A metal water
trough can be substituted for the wooden one if you
extra expense will assure a longer life and less chance of
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
Before installing the pump in the well it is necessary to
connect the disk/chain link assembly.
Pass the disk/chain links
through the 15cm PVC pipe with the rubber side of the disk
The following procedures should be carried out in order to
maintenance at a minimum:
1. Make sure there
is enough oil in the differential at
2. Check oil
3. Check drive
shaft/sprocket hub every day for oiling
Dust accumulation tends to dry up the oil
4. When the pump
sits for a time without being used, the
to freeze up and need to be oiled and
5. Check the
rubber disks after about 250 hours of use and
Prepare the track for the animal to prevent slipping (loss
traction). Use a
layer of gravel, straw, twigs, wood or bark
chips, or whatever is available.
Slope the track slightly away
from the well to prevent drain-off of waste products into
It is best that the animal pull the torque arms instead of
pushing them because the weight of the water forces the pump
run in reverse when the animal stops walking and could cause
injury to the animal.
An animal can be expected to run the pump
an average of 4 to 6 hours per day without undue fatigue.
There are many situations in which water for irrigation
to be lifted only very short distances from a river or canal
the fields. To
accomplish this, farmers in ancient times
adapted a device said to have been invented by Archimedes to
remove water from the hold of a large ship.
The device is the
Archimedes screw, a helical channel arranged around a
crank shaft. The
screw can be made in a variety of ways, from
continuous tubing wrapped around the shaft to a spiral
of overlapping boards or plates within a cylinder.
the design, the screw can be used for such diverse purposes
lifting water or loading grain.
The Archimedes screw presented here <see image> a
water lifting device.
It consists of a wooden cylinder wrapped around a spiral of
The central shaft is of metal pipe or rod.
The screw is turned by hand, or can be attached to a
It is capable of lifting approximately 100 gallons of water
minute to a height of 18-20 inches.
It can be moved easily from
place to place as needed.
Screws of this type are still used
daily by Egyptian farmers along the Nile.
variation was built and tested by Loren Sadler and the VITA
design group at the Sperry-New Holland Corp.
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
For a typical Archimedes Screw lifting 100 gallons per
a vertical distance of 20 inches:
1 - 90" long,
1" diameter pipe or 3/4" diameter rod for
142 - 18" long
boards, 1-1/2" wide x 1/2" thick for the
carefully. Inaccurate lengths reduce
40 - 71" long
boards, 1-1/2" wide x 1/2" thick for wrapper
(An alternate wrapper may be one piece
of light sheet
metal 62" x 71" or two pieces, each 36"
x 62". )
6 - Bands of sheet
metal, wire, etc. about 62" long to
wrapper around spiral
Hammer and/or screwdriver
Screws, nails, waterproof glue for fixing boards in position
Drill a hole for the crank shaft at the center of each of
142 boards. The
accuracy with which these holes are drilled
influences the efficiency of the Archimedes Screw.
first board to the crank shaft as shown in Figure 2.
second board to the first board by several screws or other
means, with opposite corners of the two boards
the remaining boards in the same manner.
Attach the last
board to the crank shaft in the same manner as the
the leading edge of each board in the spiral so that water
flow over it more easily.
Seal the spiral with tar or pitch to
Next install the wrapper, forming it tightly around the
to minimize water leaks.
If the boards are used, they should be
beveled for a tighter fit with each other.
Seams in sheet metal
should be sealed carefully to prevent leaks.
Cut away the lower
(intake) end of the wrapper at the start of each side of the
double spiral so that water may be scooped up as the spiral
turns. Fasten metal
bands or wires tightly around the wrapper.
Attach drive crank.
Seal joints in wrapper with tar or pitch.
Prepare supports for
the screw as illustrated, using any available suitable
Wooden bearing blocks should be soaked in oil to prolong
their useful life.
Archimedes Screws of this design may be built in a variety
For best results, Keep the lift height at 1/3 or less of the
screw length. For
economical construction and good performance,
the width of the boards used for the spiral should be
and 4 times their thickness.
The number of boards required for
a spiral will be approximately 3 times the lift height
by the board thickness plus 1-1/2 times the board length, as
(N = T + 1-1/2 BL)
Several Archimedes Screws of this design have been
Archimedes Screws observed in Egypt and India have
the following specifications and performance data: (*)
(*) Water Lifting Devices for Irrigation, FAO Agricultural
OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE
Put the screw into place, with the lower end in the water
is the source of supply.
Turn the crank to lift the water to
the irrigation channel.
Check the screw periodically to be sure boards remain
necessary, tighten the metal bands or wires.
the support posts for wear and soundness; replace if
Though no accurate figures are available, a screw of this
should provide many years of service.
Units of Length
= 1760 yards
= 5280 feet
kilometer = 1000
meters = 0.6214 miles
= 3.2808 feet
= 39.37 inches
= 1.607 kilometers
= 0.3048 meters
= 2.54 centimeters
= 0.3937 inches
Units of Area
mile = 640 acres
= 2.5899 square
kilometer = 1,000,000 square
= 0.3861 square
= 43,560 square feet
foot = 144 square
inches = 0.0929 square
= 6.452 square
meter = 10.764 square feet
centimeter = 0.155 square inches
Units of Volume
foot = 1728 cubic
inches = 7.48 U.S.
= 1.2 U.S.
1 cubic meter
= 35.314 cubic feet
= 264.2 U.S.
= 1000 cubic
= 0.2642 U.S.
Units of Weight
ton = 1000 kilograms
= 2204.6 pounds
= 1000 grams
= 2.2046 pounds
ton = 2000 pounds
Units of Pressure
1 pound per square inch
= 144 pounds per square foot
1 pound per square inch
= 27.7 inches of water(*)
1 pound per square inch
= 2.31 feet of water(*)
1 pound per square inch
= 2.042 inches of mercury(*)
= 33.95 feet of water(*)
= 14.7 pounds per square inch (PSI)
1 foot of water
= 0.433 PSI
1 kilogram per square
= 14.233 pounds per square inch
1 pound per square inch
= 0.0703 kilograms per square
(*) at 62[degrees] Fahrenheit (16.6[degrees] Celsius)
Units of Power
1 horsepower (English)
= 746 watts
1 horsepower (English)
= 550 foot pounds per second
1 horsepower (English)
= 33,000 foot pounds per minute
1 kilowatt (KW)
= 1000 watts
English) = 1.0139 metric
1 metric horsepower
= 75 meters x kilogram/second
1 metric horsepower
= 0.736 kilowatts
= 736 watts
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Animal-Drawn Agricultural Implements, Hand-Operated Machines
and Simple Power Equipment in the Least Developed and Other
Developing Countries--Report of a Manufacturing Development
Clinic, New Delhi, India: 21-30 October 1974, United Nations
Industrial Development Organization, Geneva, Switzerland,
Report ID/148 (IC/WG. 193/3), 1975. 45 pp.
recommendations that the governments of developing
countries promote the local manufacture of agricultural
machinery and implements.
Includes lists and photographs of
agricultural implements and the developing countries in
they are used.
Animal-Driven Power Gear, Geneva, Switzerland: United
Publication GE .75-14371, 1975. 30 pp.
animal-driven power gear described in this publication
works on the same principle as a bicycle.
The device is basically
an arrangement of levers and gears that transforms slow
leg movement into the speedy rotation of a wheel.
gearing provides up to 135 revolutions per minute--enough
operating a variety of individual processing machines.
drawings but does include photographs.
"Chad Chain Pump."
Peace Corps Tech Notes
(August 1969), pp. 8-9.
Washington, D.C.: ACTION/Peace Corps.
and explanation on initial Peace Corps work
on modifying the VITA chain pump to use animal power.
good background material but does not include good working
Effective Use of Animal Power on Farms Can Lead to Less Work
and More Harvest.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: World Neighbors,
Vol. 11, #1E, 1979. 8 pp.
Includes a very
good section on training animals for farm
Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Engineering.
of a PVC Handpump.
Bangkok, Thailand: Report submitted to
the World Health Organization, 1981. 52 pp.
A PVC suction
type handpump, based on VITA designs, and
fabricated by the Agricultural Engineering Division of the
Chulalongkorn University, was tested and evaluated under
had three phases: Phase I studied
and modified the existing suction type PVC handpump for use
dug wells with a water level not deeper than 6 meters.
developed a lift type PVC handpump suitable for dug wells
deeper than 6 meters.
Phase III modified the Phase II handpump
into a small diameter tube well for use up to 30
pump uses PVC well casing as the pump cylinder.
The new pump,
which uses the Korean type piston, is recommended for all
of PVC handpump use in Thailand.
Hand Pump Testing and Evaluation to Support Selection and
Development of Hand Pumps for Rural Water Supply Programs.
Leidschendam, the Netherlands: World Health Organization
International Reference Centre for Community Water Supply,
1979. 54 pp.
A report of an
international meeting, gives results of a
survey of hand pump testing and evaluation projects.
for hand pump testing and evaluation are also given.
"How to Make a Hand Pump for Irrigation." Link,
no. 26, pp:
20-29. Marshalltown, South Africa: Link. Sept. 1981.
instructions accompany illustrations that show how
the hand pump works to lift water, the components of the
and how some of the component parts are made and fitted
For complete plans, one can write to Link.
Islam, S.; Mazed, M. A.; and Roy, K. S. "Comparative
of Different Types of Manual Pumps," Agricultural
in Asia (Summer 1981), pp. 65-68. Tokyo: AMA.
Looks at a
collection of manually operated pumps that are
used for irrigation, and compares capacity, lifting head,
ergonomics, cost benefit ratio, and maintenance
Kingham, John, et. al. Hand/Foot Operated Water Pumps for
in Developing Countries. Report submitted to CA Testing and
Research, Harpenden, United Kingdom, October 1980. 78 pp.
project in which 12 brands of hand/foot operated
deep well force pumps being used in developing countries
were tested under laboratory conditions. This is a final
summary of important features discovered during the tests
discussion of the pumps, together with recommendations.
Kukielka, Boleslaw Jan.
Interim Report on Drinking Water Protected
Dugwell Programme in Four Pilot Project Districts in
Thailand. Bangkok, Thailand: report presented to the
Health Project, Department of Health, 1980. 21 pp.
Results of a
project to improve the drinking water supply
of several Thai villages.
Protected dugwells were built and
inspected, and villagers were encouraged to install the
and simple pumps themselves.
Includes 11 technical drawings of
piston rod assemblies and piston valve assemblies.
Laboratory Tests on Hand Operated Water Pumps for Use in
Washington, D.C.: International Bank for
Reconstruction & Development/The World Bank. February
laboratory tests of 12 hand pumps. The
range objective of the program is to promote the manufacture
improved or more reliable hand pumps in developing
pumps that can be maintained by trained village operators.
"Linking Pumps for Better Performance," Basics,
no. 7, p. 9.
Sommerset, England: Basics, Rural Communication. March 1979.
design for a simple frame that links two lift
pumps and enables a single operator to work the two at the
time using his feet.
This is less tiring and, because two pumps
are working, provides a greater and continuous flow of water
up to 3,500 gallons per hour).
The diagrams show how the pumps
List of Agricultural Equipment and Tools for Farmers
for Local Construction.
London: Intermediate Technology Development
publications list of agricultural equipment
plans available from ITDG.
McGrath, Patrick, et. al. A Hand Pump Primer. College Park,
Maryland: University of Maryland, College of Engineering,
1978. 20 pp.
A guide to the
selection of appropriate hand pumps for
Pacey, Arnold. Hand
Pump Maintenance and the Objectives of
Community Well Projects.
Oxford, United Kingdom: OXFAM, 1976.
of the broader aspects of village pump
maintenance. Suggests that community awareness and control
the pumps are essential if they are to be kept working. Also
includes a list of hand pump manufacturers in India and some
African and Western countries.
Simple Bullock-Drawn Implements for Efficient Irrigation.
University of Udaipur, College of Agriculture, Jobner (Ext.
Bulletin #1), 1964. 15 pp.
Sternberg, P. M.; Silver, M.; and Allison, S. V. "Flow
for Measuring the Discharge of Small Pumps,"
Vol. 9, no. 1, pp: 14-15.
Forest Grove, Oregon: Appropriate
Technology, June 1982.
conventional methods of flow measurement and
calibration procedure and concludes that the
meter is sufficiently accurate.
Sternberg, Yaron, and Knight, Robert.
Development of PVC Well
Screens for Local Fabrication in Developing Countries.
Washington, D.C.: International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development/The World Bank, April 1978.
development of a well screen that can be
made in most developing countries.
Pump for Irrigation (Hand Powered)," Village Technology
Handbook, pp. 92-96 (Drawings and instructions).
Arlington, Virginia: VITA, 1963.
This section of
the VTH describes basic concepts from
which the animal powered chain pump was designed.
step-by-step construction details.
and Maintenance of Water Wells.
virginia: VITA, 1969. 170 pp.
written for U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers who
were employed to develop the ground water resources in the
areas to which they were sent.
It gives a general review of
ground water, its occurrence and properties; well
methods by digging, driving, drilling, and jetting; well
liners; boring equipment; etc.
It has a useful section on well
pumps and also on the planning aspects of a well digging
program, ground water exploration, choice of supplies, well
protection without expensive equipment.
It contains working
drawings of tools, lists of parts needed, and step-by-step
Techniques for drilling boreholes are given more
attention than those describing hand dug wells.
Watt, S. B.; and Wood, W. E. Hand Dug Wells and their
London: Intermediate Technology Publications Ltd.,
1977. 253 pp.
step-by-step guidance on the actual technique of
hand dug well construction in which the shaft is large
to permit the diggers to descend as the work
borehole method is not dealt with.
DECISION MAKING WORKSHEET
If you are using this manual as a guideline for including a
simple-pump in a development effort, collect as much
as possible and, if you need assistance with the project,
write VITA. A report
on your experiences and the uses of this
manual will help VITA both improve the book and aid other
in Technical Assistance (VITA)
North Lynn Street, Suite 200
Arlington, Virginia 22209-2079 USA
CURRENT USE AND AVAILABILITY
* Describe current
agricultural and domestic practices that
rely on water at
* What water sources
are available? Include rivers, streams,
Are there wells in the area?
are they used for?
* What is water used
NEEDS AND RESOURCES
* Based on current
agricultural and domestic practices, what
seem to be the
areas of greatest need? Does the
need a source of
clean drinking water? Would a reliable
irrigation water stretch the growing season, permitting
production of an
additional crop for home use or
* What are the
characteristics of the problems? Is the
of the problem/need? How do you know?
* Has any local
person, particularly someone in a position of
expressed the need for or interest in this
If so, can someone be found to help
* Are there local
officials who could be involved and tapped
* How can you help
the community decide which technology is
* Which available
water sources seem to be most useful?
ground water sweet
or saline? Will you rely on existing
wells or will new
ones have to be dug? How does the water
Who owns the well, or the land where new
wells will be
located? How do you gain access?
* Are construction
materials available locally? Are local
sufficient? Who will maintain the
available if they must be purchased?
* Do a cost estimate
of the labor, parts, and materials
Will health benefits of a sanitary well
Will improved agricultural yields pay for
Is a user fee an option?
* Does the
technology require outside funding? Are
* What is your
schedule? Are you aware of holidays and
harvesting seasons that may affect timing?
* How will you
spread information on, and promote use of, the
IDENTIFY THE MOST APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY
* Is more than one
water-lifting technology applicable?
the costs of
various technologies relative to each other--
fully in terms of
labor, skill required, materials, installation
costs. Remember to look at all the
* Are skilled
resource people available who can guide the
* Where the need is
sufficiently large-scale and resources are
available, consider setting up a
* How was the final
decision reached to go ahead--or not go
RECORD KEEPING WORKSHEET
Photographs of the construction process, as well as the
finished result, are helpful for later repairs and for
who may want to copy your pump.
They add interest and detail
that might be overlooked in the narrative.
A report on the construction process should include much
This kind of detail can often be monitored
most easily in charts (such as the one below).
<See Report 1>
This category includes damage caused by weather, natural
Pattern the records after the routine
Describe for each separate incident:
* Cause and extent of damage.
* Labor costs of repair (like maintenance account).
* Material costs of repair (like maintenance account).
* Measures taken to prevent recurrence.
BEARING BLOCK FABRICATION
Bearing blocks support, guide, and absorb the load and
of moving parts in mechanical devices.
Their purpose is to
maintain position, and reduce heat, friction, and wear.
Properly functioning bearings are necessary for mechanical
devices to achieve their maximum efficiency and lifespan.
Poorly made bearings reduce operating effectiveness.
maintained bearings may lead to failure of the machine.
Improper bearing lubrication is often cited as an operating
problem in developing countries.
Wooden bearings are usually
Those that are not may be lubricated with
grease, oils, or other liquids.
There is a wide range of bearing types, such as sleeve
ball bearings, and roller bearings.
Some bearings support
radial loads while other support thrust loads.
Both types of
loads exist in all machines.
TYPES OF SOLID BEARINGS
A solid bearing may be simply a block of wood with a hole
drilled through it.
Properly designed and maintained solid
bearings reduce friction by maintaining a layer of
between the rotating axle or shaft and the bearing surface.
The larger the bearing load, the larger the bearing must be.
Slowly turning, heavy loads require special attention to
the amount, of friction.
The more power lost to friction, the
larger the bearing must be.
Efficient bearings waste less power
and allow the machine's size and cost to be reduced.
Solid bearings are commonly cut in half before they are
to permit easier replacement of the axle and the bearing.
Solid bearings that have been cut in half are known as
The wood selected for bearings should have good
woods are easily polished, difficult to
impregnate with preservatives.
They cannot be glued easily, and
do not react with acid.
Some examples of self-lubricating woods
blackbutt, boxwood, oak, poon, tallowood, pear,
lignum vitae, and camphorwood.
The type of wood used will
depend on local availability.
The hardest wood available should be used to make bearings.
Wood selected for bearings should be allowed to dry for
to 12 weeks before it is used.
Drying makes the wood harder and
more resistant to wear.
Wooden bearings will eventually wear
out, however. They
are cheaply and easily replaced when they
are completely worn.
An advantage of properly constructed wooden bearings is that
they do not need constant lubrication.
Those woods that are not
naturally self-lubricating can be impregnated with oil.
involves soaking the bearings in not oil until the bearings
thoroughly impregnated with oil (this process is further
in the following section).
When a sleeve bearing begins to wear, it will nave to be
matching faces of split-half bearings can
be planed down and the bearings flipped over when one side
starts to wear.
Wooden bearings will not need much, if any, additional
if self-lubricating woods are used to construct them.
problem item to watch for, in the care of wooden bearings,
lubrication may be desirable if the bearings
seem to wear down too quickly.
Bearings should, whenever possible, be installed in a
where falling dirt will not directly enter them.
The life of wooden bearings can be extended, and their
improved, by impregnating them with oil.
This is done by
placing them in a vat of engine or vegetable oil and heating
the oil until all of the moisture is driven out of the wood.
This process can take from 30 minutes to two hours, and is a
must for sleeve bearings to prevent later shrinkage.
is complete when only single streams of tiny bubbles rise
from the bearings to the oil's surface.
The bearings should be
left at the bottom of the vat and allowed to cool overnight.
This allows them to absorb the maximum amount of oil.
(NOTE: EXTREME CARE SHOULD BE TAKEN WHEN HANDLING THE VAT OF
HOT OIL TO AVOID SERIOUS BURNS.)
The portion of the shaft directly in contact with the
should be as round and smooth as possible to avoid excess
on the bearings.