“Beat the Heat” with homemade water guns

You can't see me... Playing "hide and seek" during our first water pistol campaign.

You can’t see me… Playing “hide and seek” during our first water pistol campaign.

During the summer months in  Northern Idaho, many families spend substantial time collecting, cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood.  Our family is no different since we use firewood to heat our house, cook our food, and heat our domestic hot water in the winter.  The best way to beat the heat is not to be out in it, so collecting firewood is done in the morning.  We break for lunch and work on inside projects while the sun bakes the outside.  Currently, we are on a stage 2 fire alert for North Idaho and chainsaws are not allowed to run after 1:00 pm, and if they are used in the morning, the sight needs an hour of monitoring before departure.

In the late afternoon during the extreme heat, we decided to have a water pistol campaign due to a logical request from our son.  He and I decided to have a full force water war with buckets of water left out all day in the sun, making the water not frigid, but nice to be blasted with.  Our fight lasted probably half an hour until our 5 gallon buckets ran dry.  By the end of the campaign, my son’s water pistol fractured and fell apart.  We decided to buy him a “better” water pistol like mine. During the second campaign, my wife joined in the free for all, but during the second campaign, my water pistol broke first in a not so bad place to prevent functioning, but within a few minutes the second break occurred leaving me defenseless.  Looking at my shattered handle, I began to mourn the loss of my 10 dollars for this gun I thought had quality on it because of the price.  After mourning, anger set in, and the finally the need for satisfaction.  Knowing the company that made the cheap Chinese product would careless to replace the broken siphon style pistol, I decided to build one of my own.  I hunted the Internet for a PVC water pistol and came across the same siphon style design as my once cheap inefficient plastic one that shattered.

Parts Check... Setting out all the parts and going over the project in mind always helps before construction begins. The broken blue water gun on the left is what is being replaced.

Parts Check… Setting out all the parts and going over the project in mind always helps before construction begins. The broken blue water gun on the left is what is being replaced.

So, without further ado, here is our how to instruction we found and modified due to a few comments made by others who built one themselves. As in the instruct-able, I  purchased the following parts…

  • 1 &1/4″ PVC pipe
  • 1″ PVC Pipe
  • 3/4″ PVC slip plug
  • 1 &1/4″ PVC end cap
  • 1″ PVC end cap
  • Dental Floss
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • PVC Glue
  • (2) #215 O-ring at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts
  • Black electrical tape

I decided to cut the length of the larger PVC pipe to the recommended 20″, but decided to cut the 1″ PVC pipe to 25 inches to allow room to grip the handle and to prevent the PVC from pinching the hand when firing the water pistol.  I used a dead blow hammer to force the 3/4 inch plug into the 1″ pipe.  I also placed the o-rings onto the 3/4 inch plug while hammering it to prevent from forcing the plug too far and not having a lip available to hold the o-rings in place.  The Dental floss helps hold the o-rings in place, which was surprising to me that it worked so well.  After I laid all the parts out it took me roughly 30 minutes to make the first one, and the second one was made much faster once I knew what I was doing.  I used black electrical tape to mark the one inch pipe about 2 inches of length from the end to warn the user to not pull the syringe out past a safe point, which keeps the water engaged in the barrel.

Ready, aim, douse... Our son tests the homemade water gun preparing for a battle with a friend on a hot sunny day.

Ready, aim, douse… Our son tests the homemade water gun preparing for a battle with a friend on a hot sunny day.

Once the PVC water pistol was constructed, the only thing left to do was have my son test it;  It worked great.  It shot far enough, 25-30 ft. and with enough water to make the water fight fun without worrying about our guns breaking again.  If my mathematical calculations are correct, I estimate the giant, homemade constructed, syringe, water gun should be spraying a little over a pint or just shy of two and half 8 oz. cups of water.

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