A survivalist shows off his manual pump that’s perfect for everything from a natural disaster to the apocalypse. Whether you’re looking to empty a flooded basement or re-routing water to live on, a manual pump can be incredibly handy. Pumping over 50 gallons per minute, this DIY survival tool was built entirely from PVC parts that can be purchased from any hardware store. Once the pump itself is built you can redirect water anywhere you want.
He included the instructions for building your own in the YouTube description:
Here are the details if you’re interested:
The pump has two valves, a check valve at the bottom and a valve in the piston, just like most other hand pumps. In this case the valves are both made from 4″ plastic drain covers that are made to fit into a 4″ pipe (Oatey 4″ All PVC Snap-In Drain, No. 43569, $4.56 from Lowe’s Hardware). The cover is full of 1/4″ square holes and has a lip around the top to fit into the drain receptacle. I cut the lip off of one with a lathe or grinder so the whole thing can slide easily into a 4″ pipe (which has to be the standard high pressure PVC, NOT cellular core which has a slightly smaller internal diameter. You might want to check using the valve before buying.). This will become the piston valve.
The other drain cover becomes a check valve when you cut a circle of inner tube rubber just large enough to cover all the holes but small enough to freely pass through a 4″ pipe, then use a stainless steel 1/4″ x 1″ bolt with SS fender washers on each side and a SS nut to fasten it in place through the middle square hole of the cover. Don’t over-tighten the bolt or it will deform the rubber and keep it from sealing. Use a lock nut to keep it from coming undone if you wish.
At the bottom of your 4″ pipe you’ll need to put a 4″ coupling. The check valve should be able to drop down into it all the way to the middle shoulder of the coupling. Grind off the valve lip and/or the coupling shoulder a little bit if it’s too tight to go in. The rubber flapper will face up so the water can enter the pipe from below but not exit back down. The pipe should now be inserted into the coupling all the way to the valve lip. Be sure the rubber flapper is smaller than the diameter of the pipe or it will get pinched. If you wrap the pipe with Teflon tape before inserting it you can fasten it to the coupling with stainless steel sheet metal screws. This allows you take it apart again later if necessary.
The piston valve is made almost like the check valve except the lip is removed so it can move freely inside the pipe, and the rubber flapper is held in place with a stainless steel 1/4″ bolt with two fender washers as before but also passing through the middle of a 1 1/2″ PVC cap drilled for the bolt. The ‘sucker rod’ then becomes a 1 1/2″ pipe inserted into the cap and held in place with SS screws. The cap can either be flat top or round top, I’ve used both. If you use a round top you should place a fender washer on top of the rubber before bolting on the cap.
There should be some kind of filter at the bottom to keep sand out of the pump since it can cause the piston to jam in the pipe. I use coarse wire mesh wrapped around the bottom and cover it with plastic sacking material that will allow water through but not sand. For this large flow you need lots of surface area of sacking. I used a 4″ tee at the bottom and put a fairly large area of mesh extending out both sides of the tee.
At the top I used another 4″ tee and a reducer bushing to guide the 1 1/2″ pipe. All the 4″ connections are made with Teflon tape and screws so I can disassemble everything I if wish. The 1 1/2″ pipe has a tee glued to the top and some stub pipes glued in that to form a handle, but there are lots of ways to do this including putting on a large pump handle to give you some mechanical advantage.
Note: When I looked I saw that Lowe’s is only selling foam core 4″ pipe, which has smaller internal diameter than regular Schedule 40 PVC pipe. You’ll have to find another source for good 4″ pipe. You want to have the drain cover with you to make sure it will slide freely in the pipe.
These valves are simple and inexpensive and can form the basis of treadle pumps and so on. They allow a LOT of water through them – the last time I tested it I was getting 60 gallons/minute!”