PDA

View Full Version : Ram pumps anyone?



Jaakko Fagerlund
07-07-2014, 10:21 AM
Is there people on this board that have made a hydraulic ram pump for themselves or for a friend? I've been wanting to build one for ages and finally it is on my next-projects-list :) I do not have a creek or a river or similar, this is just for fun and learning, because the time I find a place that has a natural water source, I'll bolt this kind of thing there to supply me with water 24/7.

I just love watching and listening to the slow kachunk --- kachunk --- kachunk sound and seeing a pump operate without electricity or fuel and the fact that it has two moving parts.

I recently went to this website (http://permaculturenews.org/2014/04/02/ram-pumps/) and that was my deal breaker there, the waste valve design that the AIDFI ram pumps (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=AIDFI+ram+pump) also use. I'm planning on making something like the AIDFI demo ram pump (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev_9OgrcvuU), so the body will be something like 60 mm wide or so.

I think I'll go and find me a stainless steel door hinge with a suitable size or if I can't find one, then its back to the machine shop to make some other hinge idea.

Materials I'll be needing are probably some heavy wall 60 x 60 tubing, some angle iron for the feet, stainless steel plate or cut-off from a bar for the valves, piece of inner tire or a rubber sheet, some round pipe, some round pipe or the like to make the flanges and then a handful of nuts and bolts to fudge it together :) But first, let me take a self..err...make a CAD drawing to figure out the needed sizes.

Guido
07-07-2014, 12:58 PM
http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p86/Guido_album/vistasandiego009_zpsb17453d2.jpg (http://s126.photobucket.com/user/Guido_album/media/vistasandiego009_zpsb17453d2.jpg.html)

Watched last weekend, at Vista antique engine and farm equipment show, this ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk hydraulic ram pump at work. Never was able to convince wife how the thing works, or why.

A first for me, but always fascinated by the simplicity.

--G

Jaakko Fagerlund
07-07-2014, 02:33 PM
Just earlier today I got off the phone with The Finnish Safety and Chemical Agency that monitors things like product safety, work safety and such and one thing they also monitor is pressurised containers and systems. I was asking what regulations there are and what tests do I have to do in order to be able to manufacture such a pump and/or sell one to another individual. Usually products in the EU have to be CE marked, but in this particular case I'm not allowed to do so, as the pressure container is "too small" for anyone to care about it, as long as "good machine shop practice" is followed and end user is provided with complete instructions for use & maintenance :) But I still have to check if I have to stamp the CE on the pump body itself, as it is technically a machine and there are some directives that specify what sort of safety systems a machine has to have or needs. All in all, it is good that there are specialists that you can call for free to ask advice and can rely on that information to be correct in the eyes of the law.

Haven't yet started drawing the model for this, but I found some nice 60 x 60 mm thin wall (2 mm) tubing that I will probably use for this small model. Also I think there is some suitable size pipe in the storage rack at work to make the air chamber. I'm not sure if I have any suitable sized plate of stainless for the valves, so I might have to make a scrap yard run for that. Gasket material I have, door hinge I didn't go looking for yet as the hardware store is already closed, but nuts & bolts I do have as well as material for the flanges.

The test setting will be 1 meter fall from a bucket or something and I'll attach a pressure gauge to the air chamber to see how much pressure I will get to determine the maximum lift height. Drive pipe will be probably around 30-40 mm in diameter, have to check what I have.

So in short this is starting to look like a project that might actually succeed :D

Forrest Addy
07-07-2014, 03:19 PM
Suckers really work.

My dad and I bought an old farm that had a ram pump in the creek. It was plugged with sand but we cleaned it up and doctored the valves. We ran a steel ram pipe (important; the pipe wall has to be rigid) It kept a stock tank full of water at our picnic site for 20 years. We had maybe 3 ft of fall in 200 feet or so and it pumped maybe 40 ft uphill to the stock tank. I'm guessing a gallon a minute delivery. Clink - clink - clink; all day and all night. Absolutely unattended. No power, no bucket brigade, no nothing but clever ancient art.

Look here:

http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/nrcs142p2_041913.pdf.

Our pump had a 3" inlet for the ram pipe and a 3/4" discharge. We used 1 1/2 IPS ram pipe because that's what we had. It didn't want to cycle on the 1 1/2" ram pipe but we jiggered the discharge valve so it worked. Getting the pump running was strictly a Saturday afternoon project mandated by Mom so she didn't have to go to the creek to wash dishes. 6 hours of work fetched 20 years of convenience. This is yet another example of how SWMBO's complaint galvanized mankind's advances.

jlevie
07-07-2014, 04:39 PM
http://www.clemson.edu/irrig/equip/ram.htm is an example with everything already worked out and doesn't use any expensive or hard to find parts.

sasquatch
07-07-2014, 07:40 PM
Indeed those rams are fascinating old technology!

Jaakko Fagerlund
07-07-2014, 11:49 PM
http://www.clemson.edu/irrig/equip/ram.htm is an example with everything already worked out and doesn't use any expensive or hard to find parts.
Have run in to that several times, but the thing is that it isn't good, it requires parts that are not easily available everywhere and it is not easy to scale up, as the bigger fittings are either not available or cost more than a truck. Also it will have lots of internal drag and added turbulent flow due to multiple junctions and the waste valve isn't easily tuned.

But for someone just needing a quick ram of that size it works :)

Black Forest
07-08-2014, 03:04 AM
I have for several years contemplated building two of these pumps to supply water to two pastures I have that have creeks close by but not in the pasture. There is more than enough fall available. It will be interesting Jaakko to see what you come up with.

J Tiers
07-08-2014, 08:27 AM
It's as much the length of pipe as it is the fall. Essentially they use "water hammer" as the power source, so you need a mass of moving water.

Don't forget the "snifter" valve to keep the air chamber full.

Jaakko Fagerlund
07-08-2014, 09:18 AM
It's as much the length of pipe as it is the fall. Essentially they use "water hammer" as the power source, so you need a mass of moving water.

Don't forget the "snifter" valve to keep the air chamber full.
Yup, the optimum drive pipe length is 150 - 1000 times the inside diameter, so it isn't very exact but is recommended to be between those numbers for the shock wave to act correctly. The fall mainly dictates your maximum output to a certain lifting height, as in if you have Q as your drive pipe flow, e as your lifting height, f for your fall and assume 0.6 efficiency, then the output flow will be 0.6 * Q * f / e.

Oh yeah, good point, I'll either add a very small hole or make a ball bearing snifter, though last option would be to use a bicycle tire or similar. I'm aiming for the simple hole, as it is atomatic and doesn't need any additional parts to the design :)

I'll try to get some drawings here later today, have to run some errands first.

vpt
07-08-2014, 10:11 AM
Had to find a video. Very interesting and neat stuff! I'll be watching progress and stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9W0zx2D7aU

Jaakko Fagerlund
07-08-2014, 05:29 PM
Quick sketching as a 3D model, but shows the main parts without the waste valve and its flange.

Purple is the end plate / drive pipe connector that is welded to the main body. Main body consist of 60 x 60 tube. On top of the tube is welded another pipe flange for attaching the air chamber and valve. The brown disc is the valve plate, it is just a plate full of small'ish holes and one center hole, where there will be a a bolt that attaches a piece of round rubber over the holes to act as a one-way valve. Then the light blue is the air chamber, nothing special in it except it is missing the delivery pipe connection. The red plate is welded to the main body and accepts a similar plate on it that will stop the wste valve. The waste valve will be a piece of flat stock that will be hinged to the bottom of the main body with a stainless door hinge. There will be a bolt going through the waste valve plate to act as a tuner, so I can change the angle of the plate in relation to the passing water.

Not pictured is the small hole that acts as a sniffer, it will be just below the one-way valve on the thin portion of the pipe flange. Also some installation feet or some such are missing and all the rubber seals I omitted from this design stage.

http://i.imgur.com/JaromVEl.png (http://imgur.com/JaromVE)

Now to bed and maybe continuing tomorrow :)

Duffy
07-08-2014, 11:17 PM
Jaakko, the principle name in hydraulic rams in Britain is Blake, while in the US it is Rife. I believe that they are both now out of business, but the Blake units were on display in dealer's shops in 1980, (at least in Kenya.) Also about that time there was a "How To" paper, produced by one of the aid foundations, that gave detailed design plans. Everything was made using standard threaded fittings, except the clack valve. I THINK that I have a copy, and I will try and find it. I also have, hidden in the same place, a copy of a Rife technical bulletin.
FWIW the ram pipe should be about 50 feet long, give or take, and it is Best if metal. Plastic is a very sorry second choice. If the delivery line must be longer than the magic 50 feet, any pipe-shaped stuff will do. Also, a CO2 bottle makes a great chamber.
With a decent operating fall, these units will "beat" at 50-60 BPM, so they will be heard!

Jaakko Fagerlund
07-09-2014, 03:53 AM
Jaakko, the principle name in hydraulic rams in Britain is Blake, while in the US it is Rife. I believe that they are both now out of business, but the Blake units were on display in dealer's shops in 1980, (at least in Kenya.) Also about that time there was a "How To" paper, produced by one of the aid foundations, that gave detailed design plans. Everything was made using standard threaded fittings, except the clack valve. I THINK that I have a copy, and I will try and find it. I also have, hidden in the same place, a copy of a Rife technical bulletin.
FWIW the ram pipe should be about 50 feet long, give or take, and it is Best if metal. Plastic is a very sorry second choice. If the delivery line must be longer than the magic 50 feet, any pipe-shaped stuff will do. Also, a CO2 bottle makes a great chamber.
With a decent operating fall, these units will "beat" at 50-60 BPM, so they will be heard!
Let me know if you find it, would be interesting to see another persons ideas :)

What comes to the pipe length, it depends on its diameter only and the 50 feet you quoted is not any magical number.

And I thought about using a ready made chamber like a CO2 bottle or similar, but it falls yet again in the category of "not available readily everywhere". Pipe and flange materials are available everywhere, so that's still my main goal in the design to use such materials.

vpt
07-09-2014, 09:10 AM
Wouldn't it be a good idea to have a bent elbow come off the valve to help promote flow to the tank instead of just a strait 90 degree fitting?

Jaakko Fagerlund
07-09-2014, 09:44 AM
Wouldn't it be a good idea to have a bent elbow come off the valve to help promote flow to the tank instead of just a strait 90 degree fitting?
Maybe, maybe not, I'm not exactly sure what you mean with that but have a pretty good idea of it. Technically you are correct, but it probably wouldn't do much difference in actual output or efficiency, plus it would mean parts that are not so easy to fabricate from plate & pipe stock.

dp
07-09-2014, 12:56 PM
Since none of the ram pumps I've seen take advantage of the downstream flow to help draw off the waste water I presume it has been tried and failed. My internal Mr Wizard still things something that helps lower the back pressure at the waste gate should work to improve efficiency. This is the same thinking that goes into aircraft engine cowling design - accelerate the cooling air before letting it free into the slipstream.

vpt
07-09-2014, 09:18 PM
Maybe, maybe not, I'm not exactly sure what you mean with that but have a pretty good idea of it. Technically you are correct, but it probably wouldn't do much difference in actual output or efficiency, plus it would mean parts that are not so easy to fabricate from plate & pipe stock.


I mean something like a Y pipe, one side is the valve that closes when water reaches the certain speed and the other side to the tank. So instead of the water having to make a 90 degree turn to flow to the tank it has a more strait route to follow hopefully improving efficiency. I would think with something like this the most efficiency is wanted.

sasquatch
07-09-2014, 09:36 PM
I'm pretty sure that popular mechanics magazine had a "How to Build a Ram" article years back.

Abner
07-10-2014, 08:46 AM
Jaakko,
Here is a link to a design I used a long time ago. It worked very well 2' of drop = 28' of lift. I used 2" x 21' sch 40 steel drive pipe. Used common off the shelf parts that could be found at any good hardware store. The sweep in the line before the flapper valve(a rubber drain plug in this one) keeps friction as low as possible. It's simplicity is its strong point.
http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/hydraulic-ram-pump-zmaz79mjzraw.aspx

Jaakko Fagerlund
07-11-2014, 02:24 PM
Whew, what a week at work, haven't had much free time to design my own stuff so got a little delayed with this project but tonight I'll continue drawing it again :) I just checked yesterday that hinges are available in brass, stainless and zinc coated steel, so I'll probably purchase a stainless version even though it costs a little bit extra. Nothing special here, a common item found just about anywhere and the size doesn't matter as long as it fits inside the body of the pump. The one I found was 40 x 60 mm, so it fits perfectly.

Also found some rubber mat to use as a gasket for all the connections needed, easy to just draw, cut and punch some holes in that stuff as it is thin.


I mean something like a Y pipe, one side is the valve that closes when water reaches the certain speed and the other side to the tank. So instead of the water having to make a 90 degree turn to flow to the tank it has a more strait route to follow hopefully improving efficiency. I would think with something like this the most efficiency is wanted.
Ah yes, that would improve it a little, but remember that these things run 24/7 and a small change in output doesn't matter that much. It would be far more efficient to just build a bigger pump, unless the stream/river flow is the limiting factor.

sasquatch, good to know, though I don't need plans or a how-to, as I already know what I want and need :)

Abner, that site I hasn't seen, thank you for that, but as I've said earlier in this thread, I'm not going to use hardware store parts like T-junctions, fittings and PVC parts as they are not common around the globe and will cost more than plain old steel plate.

boslab
07-11-2014, 09:06 PM
Since none of the ram pumps I've seen take advantage of the downstream flow to help draw off the waste water I presume it has been tried and failed. My internal Mr Wizard still things something that helps lower the back pressure at the waste gate should work to improve efficiency. This is the same thinking that goes into aircraft engine cowling design - accelerate the cooling air before letting it free into the slipstream.
Oh oh i know this one lol that bernaullis thing A1.V1=A2.V2, he was a clever bugger, wonder what the effect of different Venturi plates on a ram pump would be, would the cycle increase in frequency? Puzzling a bigger diameter gets a lower velocity but at a higher pressure, so the drive pipe could be short and big no, or yes, im a dont know.
I saw a ram pump once in a hole next to a stream while out walking, its top chamber was cast iron as was the rest, thought it said oliver on it but whaterver it was it was old, square nuts like coach bolts, but still clacking away. Its a clever bit of kit, wonder who came up with it, must try to find out.
Mark

Abner
07-12-2014, 08:03 AM
dp,
It's been a long time ago but if I remember correctly when the clacker valve shuts and the resultant energy from the shock wave is sent to the delivery/pipe tank and there is a brief moment when the pressure is at or near zero which allows the clacker valve to fall open restarting the cycle. The MEN design I used had a small spring to push the claker open, the spring pressure being the only adjustment available to tune its operation. I understand what you are saying but have no idea how you would design it, as the vacuum created would tend to hold the claker shut.

Jaakko,
It has been a long time ago but I also remember that the pump I built performed differently when the delivery pipe was full than when it was empty. Starting with an empty delivery pipe I think I had to sit there and push the clacker valve down (open) with my finger until there was enough pressure in the delivery pipe for it to cycle correctly. With a full delivery pipe I could adjust the spring and get it to run optimally.

lwalker
07-12-2014, 08:40 AM
What's the appeal of the ram pump? Is it just simplicity: only two moving parts? It seems to me that a water wheel driving a centrifugal or other impeller-type pump would probably give more flow.

Abner
07-12-2014, 09:05 AM
What's the appeal of the ram pump? Is it just simplicity: only two moving parts? It seems to me that a water wheel driving a centrifugal or other impeller-type pump would probably give more flow.

Primal drum appeal :cool:

I think it's harder to design something simple. Take personal computers - all these years and what do we have.

dian
07-12-2014, 09:14 AM
"so I'll probably purchase a stainless version"

wouldnt you want the brass hinge (red brass being best)?

lwalker
07-12-2014, 11:20 AM
Primal drum appeal :cool:

I think it's harder to design something simple. Take personal computers - all these years and what do we have.

Actually, when I read the original post, my first thought was if the efficiency of a ram pump could be improved by adding computer control :-)

Guido
07-12-2014, 12:48 PM
The gulf coast Macondo problem followed a borehole drilled deep (long) into mother earth. In the area of the drill bit (bottom hole assembly) a digital pulse system is generated in the hydraulic drilling mud column, a simple stream of organized, engineered pressure pulses. The info represents bottom hole rock characteristics.

Computerization located on the drillship monitors the pulses, while generating paper recordings of real time info arriving from over three miles away.

--G

A.K. Boomer
07-12-2014, 01:17 PM
What's the appeal of the ram pump? Is it just simplicity: only two moving parts? It seems to me that a water wheel driving a centrifugal or other impeller-type pump would probably give more flow.

it's starting from a lower level reservoir and pumping water to a higher one, and it's doing it as simply as possible,

in either example huge amounts of water will have to be wasted (go down to a lower level) in order to get the smaller amount to a higher level, but if the water was going to be wasted anyways then it's "free" work...

don't think you would want a water wheel as they are pretty inefficient - but a large turbine that is geared and drives a smaller pump at a higher rate might be the ticket...

I propose a hydraulic ram with two intake pipes and one outlet, and a special ceramic smooth bore Y valve that when open on one side it's closed on the other, the waste water is sent out at the bottom part of the Y, but the intake charges are taken right at where the Y joins just slightly before and when one valve side is closed for the waste water and is "stacking" the water is sent into the high pressure pipe, meanwhile the other one of the twin intake tubes is building up it's free flow and the valve to the pressure side is now closed - it's a duel purpose Y valve,,, one with two intakes and three exhaust ports if you will - the two high pressure ports and the one large waste port...

no need for check valves as when this valve closes one waste port it opens a pressure port on the same side - while closing the other sides pressure port and opening its waste,,,
Also - no need for valve springing as one side will always start the "effect" - then it's a done deal and the cycle will continue, one way to make sure of this is to leave a little catch on each side of the valves free flow mode, something that when the one side gets to close to maximum velocity to starts to drag a little on the valve and pivots it shut in a millisecond - but only after the other side has lost all it's impact pressures...

just one moving part, teetering back and forth on a pivot...

Also this would not hinder the individual flow rate for the intake sides and therefore keep the all too critical "dead stop" spike loads at there maximum, whilst at the same time keep the pressure side working more so at a constant flow, this would be ideal in not having to immediately accelerate the pressure side and all it's mass every time the intake charge is closed - there would effectively always be pumping pressure and velocity on the high pressure side, therefore it would be a more efficient design...

This is somewhat the same operating principle behind my "double barrel pneumatic ram" that I plan on testing for my car,,, a type of supercharged ram air if you will... constant flow with increased pressures,,, it's bound to get some strange views with two massive tubes on top of my hood, and it's flutter valving will be the real hat trick - light weight and durability are bound to be an engineering challenge as the exchange rate/BPM is going too be off the charts esp. at 100mph + :p

Abner
07-12-2014, 04:16 PM
Actually, when I read the original post, my first thought was if the efficiency of a ram pump could be improved by adding computer control :-)

Then it will get 'stuxnet' and it will self destruct...click...click...boom...water everywhere :-)

I think it is the simplicity and the noise - easy to dance to, bare chested women dancing around...
And those old cast iron monstrosities are cool to look at.

Toolguy
07-12-2014, 04:45 PM
OK - If it attracts bare chested women I'm in!:cool:I wonder why that feature hasn't been mentioned before?:confused:

A.K. Boomer
07-13-2014, 10:15 AM
One could always build one of these if you don't have to lift the water too high, last forever and ZERO moving parts, although I think the sound would drive me nuts...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOn7Zu3CCxo

This is a pretty serious hydraulic ram manufacturer, very well made and has a sound I think I could get used too...
nice high-pressure air over water reservoir for continuous flow and improved efficiency...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2kv8BUVy6E

Jaakko Fagerlund
07-13-2014, 03:12 PM
This is a pretty serious hydraulic ram manufacturer, very well made and has a sound I think I could get used too...
nice high-pressure air over water reservoir for continuous flow and improved efficiency...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b2kv8BUVy6E
Watched the video and near the end of it they speak of a system that enables to use dirty water supply to pump clean water with the ram pump. Now I've come across this sort of system description before, but I'm still puzzled at how in the world does it work? Anyone have any information regarding this?

914Wilhelm
07-13-2014, 03:52 PM
Is there people on this board that have made a hydraulic ram pump for themselves or for a friend? I've been wanting to build one for ages and finally it is on my next-projects-list :) I do not have a creek or a river or similar, this is just for fun and learning, because the time I find a place that has a natural water source, I'll bolt this kind of thing there to supply me with water 24/7.

I just love watching and listening to the slow kachunk --- kachunk --- kachunk sound and seeing a pump operate without electricity or fuel and the fact that it has two moving parts.

I recently went to this website (http://permaculturenews.org/2014/04/02/ram-pumps/) and that was my deal breaker there, the waste valve design that the AIDFI ram pumps (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=AIDFI+ram+pump) also use. I'm planning on making something like the AIDFI demo ram pump (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev_9OgrcvuU), so the body will be something like 60 mm wide or so.

I think I'll go and find me a stainless steel door hinge with a suitable size or if I can't find one, then its back to the machine shop to make some other hinge idea.

Materials I'll be needing are probably some heavy wall 60 x 60 tubing, some angle iron for the feet, stainless steel plate or cut-off from a bar for the valves, piece of inner tire or a rubber sheet, some round pipe, some round pipe or the like to make the flanges and then a handful of nuts and bolts to fudge it together :) But first, let me take a self..err...make a CAD drawing to figure out the needed sizes.

Too bad we're not neighbors I have a commercially made unit from the Skookum company out of Portland, OR that's been taking up space here for 20 years. My father bought it 40 years ago. Cast iron, probably weighs 100 #, has a 2" intake pipe if I recall. I'll dig it out and take a photo for fun.

cameron
07-13-2014, 03:55 PM
I have no information, but perhaps an ordinary pressure water tank with separating diaphragm or bladder could be used to do it.

wtrueman
07-18-2014, 12:40 AM
As mentioned before, Popular Mechanics or maybe Popular Science, possibly in the late Thirties. Or Forties had this article. Good luck, Wayne.