DIY Video : How to dig your own shallow water well for the garden

    This project goes over the instructions on how you can dig your own shallow hand pump water well using simple tools and save a lot of money.

    Before digging the water well, you need to know the ground. You got to have the right soil for this system to work. If your soil type is silt, clay, sand or loam, then its ideal .In our case, we have the first 10 or 12 feet of fine glacial silt and below that there is glacial deposits of river gravel.

    The first step is to dig a hole for the well casing. The tools you need to dig the hole are six inch post hole auger , three quarter inch extension pipe with coupling at the end and couple of wrenches.

    Once you have spotted the area where you want to dig the well, you start by applying downward pressure on the auger by twisting it. It screws itself into the earth filling its basket with material. When it’s full, you pick it up and dump it aside or in a wheel barrel. Sharpening the auger can help it cut through tree roots but it will not stay sharp long. It is important to do your best to keep the hole centered.

    Once the bottom is reached, we pull out the auger and remove the basket from the handle and insert one of the extension using the pipe wrench.

    The next part is getting the casing down the hole. For the casing we are using a cheap and readily available six inch PVC sewer pipe. We use a rasp to smoothen the end of the pipe so that it fits a cap . A round piece of PVC flat stock is bolted and glued on top of the cap using a PVC glue. This becomes the mounting base for the pitcher pump.

    To get started with driving the well point, we need a long piece of 10 foot pipe and a sandpoint, a couple of drive couplings. The drive couplings are steel rather than cast which makes them stronger. But most importantly, they have that small diameter so that they can slip down inside, making them not much larger than the diameter of the sand point itself.

    The sandpoint is made of perforated stainless steel and a cast iron point at the bottom.

    We connect the sandpoint and 10 foot pipes using the couplers and some Teflon tape. Now you don’t want to hammer on your drive point or any of your fittings without them being quite tight because you need those extra threads to spread the load. We drive the whole thing with a homemade post hole pounder which is a gooseneck trailer hitch ball welded into a piece of pipe.

    We insert the sandpoint with the extension into the well casing and start drilling by hand.

    We are gonna find out how far down that water is by dropping a string with a bolt tied to it to the very bottom.

    We finally attach a black ABS suction by sliding it down into our pipe .Then we cover the pipe with our PVC casing . And once the casing has been firmly tamped down, we will pack around the casing and tap that into place.

    The final step is to install the pitcher pump and prime it by add some water. The top cap is installed on the casing opening and the pump is bolted to the top of the cap. Priming the pump simply entails pouring a little water in that top basin.

    • DIY Video: How to build a really efficient Portable Multi Purpose Ammo Box Wood Stove
      This project goes into the build of an efficient portable ammo can wood stove that can warm your space, act as a cooking stove, baking oven and an alternative for ground fires at camp sites. This ammo stove is compact and doesn't take up additional storage . All the basic components used in this stove are modular and can be stored inside the stove when not in use. These components are easily available in your local hardware store. The basic components needed to build this stove are as follows. The ammo box called the "fat 50 "is purchased from an army surplus store for $30 , the titanium stove pipe for $100 , the metal for the control dial and the door is salvaged from old barbecues. Rest of the basic tools needed are grinder, blow torch, hack saw ,rivet gun and a drill press. Not only you can use wood logs, paper, twigs but it also runs on wood pellets. The system has a gravity fed hopper that feeds the pellets intermittently for consistent heat over a longer period of time. For maximizing the burn, a divided combustion chamber is used. This forces the burn to go around a sealed baffle before it exits out the stove pipe providing less smoke and retaining more heat. A thick steel plate is used as a cook top which is rescued from an old barbeque . This plate absorbs the heat for cooking and is removable thereby protecting the stove top. Additional feature is a baking oven underneath the stove. The first step to build is simply removing the lid of the ammo can stove which just slides of the hinges. Remove the rubber gasket on the back side of the lid using a plier . This rubber gasket is replaced using 3/8th inch stove rope. This provides heat resistant seal from smoke. Remove the handle by drilling along the spot welds on the sides of the handle just enough to weaken them and pull it using a screwdriver . Two holes of three inches are drilled at the top surface of the stove . These are done to fit in the titanium stove pipe and for the gravity fed hopper system. We use a three inch propane fuel cylinder tube to make a pipe collar as a guide to trace out the holes. These pipe collars acts as hopper support for gravity fed pellet mechanism and for securing the stove pipe. The hole for the first pipe is about five and half inches away from the door hinge and the second one , one and half inches away. The holes are then cut using a jigsaw. The flanges in the stove pipe collars are made by securing them against a wooden fixture and bent them using a hammer. The edges are heated with a torch to anneal the metal for hardening. Before inserting the stove collars into the lid, the metal sheet inside the lid was removed. Using fiber glass cloth, a smoke seal is made around the collars. The collars are then inserted and the metal sheet is reinstated with help of some stainless steel rivets. A adjustable damper is installed inside one of the collars .These damper provide control to both burning speed and fire intensity. Also the damper in a closed state also acts a base for a steamer or a boiler. The damper is made using a thin steel cut out of a disc , the size of the inside pipe diameter. The shaft from a barbeque skewer is inserted along slots drilled in the disc holding them underneath the collar. Inside the combustion chamber ,we have two dividers installed. One divides the combustion chamber and the bottom one separates the oven from the stove . The top divider acts as an inner wall . The combustion has to travel around the corner and then go outside through the stove pipe at the end. This collects more heat and has less smoke build up inside. The side door openings are four inches high and three and three eighth inches wide. The door is made out of thick steel plate which was salvaged from an old barbeque. The door has three holes for the air intake and it is supported by a regular door hinge. A small circle metal piece at the front regulates the amount of flow that goes into the stove. A secondary burn system is introduced inside the stove so that the air coming into the upper part of the combustion chamber where all the smokes ascends gets reignited . This drastically improves the efficiency of the stove. Here we use couple of half inch black iron pipe that is connected with 2 90 degree elbow and an end cap. Holes are drilled on the pipe so that the fresh air is introduced into the chamber. A hole at the side of the stove is made the air intake. The pipe is inserted into the chamber and secured in place using a coupling and a spacer. A 3 X 4 inch duct adapter is used as a funnel for the gravity fed hopper system. To make this efficient , we add a small cage made of door basket inside the chamber so that all the pellets wont drop suddenly to the bottom. The cage is made from the metal rods from the basket. The rods are spaced 8mm apart and put straps across both sides and secured it using rivets. To prevent the overflow of pellets inside the cage, a two and half inch tailpipe is placed at a specific distance below the hopper. This helps the pellet build up in the cage but not overflow. Now there is a sustained release of pellets at all time for a consistent burn. Stainless steel tent stakes are placed at the bottom of the stove riveted to a metal plate. This prevents the bottom from burning out and also improves air flow. Also acts as ash collector. To use this stove as a light source, we make a small window out of half mm natural mica glass. We use a fiberglass cloth to form a seal around window. It is held by green painters tape. After positioning the glass, spacers are added around the edge . These metal strips allow for the mica to expand and contract. Another metal frame is used to hold all these in place. The portable stove pipe is made out of titanium rolls. The titanium prevents corrosion and also distributes the heat efficiently. To make a long cylinder without denting the foil, unroll the film across the ground, roll it small enough to get the clips on ,spacing them evenly along the length of the pipe.
    • How to build a Homemade Off grid Solar Powered Water fueled Air Heater and Air Cooler using an 8 X 8 heat exchanger and a car radiator fan
      This project goes into the build of a homemade water fueled radiant Air heater / Air Cooler that can blow cold air or hot air into your room or space using a heat exchanger and an old car radiator fan . This system can pump out cold air at 1500 CFM with the temperature reaching 55F and heat output at almost 170 F. The entire system is powered by a 100W Solar Panel and costs around 60 to 70 dollars . The major advantage of using this cooler is that it doesnt add any humidity to the air. The materials you need to build this Cooler/ Heater are as follows. Standard bilge water pump or aquarium pump or 12V DC fan for solar, seven inch 12V 80W car radiator fan, 10 X 12 piece of plywood, a couple of eleven inch 2 x4's, 8 X 8 heat exchanger, one inch PVC tubing , a couple of hose barbs with coupler , a tub to hold the ice or hot water . A 12V DC heating element can also be used to warm up the water The first step is building a frame to hold the heat exchanger and the car radiator fan together. This is done by a taking couple of 11 inch 2 X4 's and mount them parallel to each other on a 10 X 12 inch piece of plywood. A hole is cut on the plywood to place the car radiator fan . The heat exchanger is attached on the back side of the fan just between those two eleven inch 2 X 4's.The heat exchanger is rated for over 25k BTU's and covers about 1000 sq ft that can heat or cool an entire living space. A tub containing Ice cold water or hot water is used as a source of heat or cold . The Water pump submerged into the water source is connected to the inlet tubing . This pumps the cold or hot water into the input of the heat exchanger . The car radiator fan is powered on using the 100 W solar panel and the hot or cold air radiates into the room or space. The water returns back into the tub through the other tubing . The solar panel is connected to a speed controller that is further connected to the radiator fan to adjust the air flow. The 200gph water pump with the half inch pipe is connected to the inch pipe main tubing using half inch barbed to inch threaded and inch threaded to inch barbed and a threaded PVC coupler. To make the hot water , we use a 150W DC Water heating element . The heat element is connected at the base of the tub or barrel . This unit is powered by a solar panel . You can use an AC powered immersion water heater if there is no option for solar. A 100W Solar panel is powering the 80W Car radiator fan and 12V 350 GPH Bilge pump that is used to pump the water to the heat exchanger and back . It also powers Heating element if you plan to heat the water this way. Another way to heat the water is using a 50 ft copper tubing. The water is pumped through the copper tubing using a small pump and a 5W Solar panel and heat it up. The hot water is then passed through to heat exchanger .
    • How to build a Large 2000W Portable Solar Power Generator at Home from scratch.
      The idea of a completely silent power generator that can still run large power loads, and never need gasoline is a really cool concept. This project goes over the build of a large 2000W Portable Solar Generator that can power appliances ranging from a table saw to charging your phone effortlessly. We need a large box to hold our basic components. Here we use a pelican 1620 protector case that is durable, dustproof and waterproof .This is going to be the case that we package everything into. It's got wheels on the bottom so you can roll it around ,also has heavy handles on either sides. The battery is a AGM glass mat ,coil would style, 12V optima deep cycle battery. A deep cycle battery just allows you to get a little bit deeper into the discharge before you are starting to shorten the life of that battery. This battery also has the ability to be mounted in any orientation . So it is safe whether the battery is on its side on its back or even upside down as long as we have it mounted securely so that nothing shorts against our terminals. The next major components for our build is the 2000W inverter from Krieger. This one has some large terminals on the back for our wiring. Also has a active fan here for ventilation. Also comes with a remote control switch. The 100W Solar Panel is from Renogy. It has the bus on the back for connecting in to your solar charger .It also comes with a 30A Solar Charge controller. This can run up to four of the 100 watt panels in a 12 volt system. The back of the solar panel comes pre wired with MC4 connectors, as well as a couple of MC4 pigtails. We use high quality 16 gauge speaker wire to extend the connection. These wires are highly flexible for portable use. To connect it to the MC4 pigtails we need to go ahead and strip the insulation off and use butt splice connectors to crimp them to the MC4 pigtails. In case you cant to charge the system with standard AC power ,we use a 1.5A Battery maintainer / Float or Trickle charger. This will be good for just keeping it topped off when it is in storage. Or if you just want to charge up your batteries and you really don't have a place to be setting the panels out. Next step is mounting components on the outside of the case . Before mounting any component, factor in how the internal components are going to placed inside the case. On one side of the case ,we are going to mount a small LED work lamp with toggle switch, a 12V gauge pod with 5V USB output, digital voltmeter,12V cigarette socket ,an AC input plug for using with the trickle charger, a 6pin solar panel trailer connector. These components are secured in place using a RTV silicone sealant. One the other side of the case , we are going to mount the inverter remote control switch, 350A high current plug which is used for jumper cables or to add high current loads, a GFCI AC outlet with a weatherproof cover. The GFCI outlet is connected to the inverter inside the case. We want to put the battery as close to the wheels as possible, because that will help keep the heaviest part down low when moving the case around either on the wheels or by carrying it. We place it snug into a corner of the case using battery mount and couple of pieces of 2X4. The inverter is placed inside the case in such a way that there is enough space for air ventilation and for tucking some of the wires underneath. The inverters are secured in place using mounting tabs and 10x24 machine screws. The PWM solar charge controller is also mounted in the same way near the solar panel connector input. The trickle charger / battery maintainer is placed as low into the back of the case .This is not something that will get very warm so we don't need to worry about heat dissipation or anything like that . We plug the power cord from the trickle charger into the AC input cord. Next step is the wiring. We start by connecting the power cables from the inverter to the battery. The positive and negative from the inverter is connected to the positive and negative of the battery respectively. To distribute power in our generator ,we use a six circuit fuse panel for the positives and a busbar for the grounds. We use two inexpensive battery cables to run the power to our distribution blocks as well as running the power to our high current quick connector. The positive red connection from the quick connector goes to the fuse panel and the black negative connector to the ground busbar. Both connections are further extended to connect to the positives and negatives of the battery respectively. The LED lights are connected to the 3 way connector switches. The switches are further connected to the power distribution fuse block. Similarly a single switch is connected to the USB outlet, voltmeter and the cigarette lighter ports in parallel. The positive from the switch is connected through a daisy chain mechanism to the three positives of the ports ,the negatives are similarly connected to our distribution block. At this point, we now have a power wire and a ground wire for every single one of our accessories connections . We bundle these wires and keep it neat and tidy using zip ties. Separate the positive wires from the negative wires, we are going to be rounding the negative wires to our ground busbar. After we have all of the ground wires connected, we can move on to the power wires on our distribution block. Each one of the blade connectors represents one fuse circuit. We connect the positive red wires from charge controller, battery trickle charger, usb ports,voltmeter,12V outlet to the fuse circuit. We are using a 30A fuse for the charge controller,12V socket, 20A for the LED work lights, 5A for the trickle charger.