How to Build a Water Wheel Pump

Water wheel pumps are used to pump water, pulverize grain, and provide an alternative to traditional power sources. They automate these processes, so the job gets done quickly and efficiently. Building a water wheel pump is moderately challenging, but the eventual savings is well worth the effort.

Materials Needed for Building a Water Wheel Pump

Start your water wheel pump project by gathering the items needed for construction. These include hammer and nails, buckets, sewing pins, a saw, a pencil, a ruler, plywood, a protractor, and pre-treated lumber. The first building step is to create the paddles of the pump. Based on your blueprint or the design you are using, measure the length and width of the paddles on the wood planks. You might need up to ten total paddles, so repeat the measuring and cutting several times.

Make the Wheel

Next, use the protractor to measure two circles on the wood. These will be the center of the wheel, so they need to be proportionate to the paddles and the rest of the wheel pump. Refer to your design and measure more than once before cutting to ensure accuracy. After the circles are cut, create the stand for the water wheel pump by cutting two equal triangular pieces from the plywood. Extending from the points of the triangles to their bases, nail a board through the center for additional support.

Attach the Wheel Parts

Now you can create the sides and build the wheel. You will be connecting the paddles as you build the wheel. Each paddle should be installed at a 40 degree angle around the center wheel. Using glue and nails, attach the paddles to the wheel. Once all the paddles are attached you can install the paddle wheel on the stand. The buckets can also be attached to the paddles at this point.

Test the Water Wheel Pump

Once the wheel is complete you can test it. This can be done with a hose or under a faucet. If the water wheel pump was built correctly, it will begin to spin as the water pours onto the paddles and fills the buckets. Classic water wheel pumps are operated using strictly the energy of the water, but modern pumps have an engine. It is up to you whether you use a classic or modern pump, but the classic pump will be much less expensive.

The most challenging part of building a water wheel pump is getting the measurements correct. This is why it is a good idea to use a pre-made design or blueprint. In most cases, the research and testing of the measurements has already been done, so as long as you follow the instructions, your pump will work. If you are creating your own design, you might have to use a bit of trial and error to get the pump working correctly. The wheel spinning properly is based on balance and weight, so unless the measurements are exact, your water wheel pump is not going to spin efficiently.