Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick Project: (Big) KidWash

Recently a couple of friends and I got together to make a 'kidwash' similar to the one shown below:

There's links to make this type of thing floating around the internet, but we all thought they were a bit... trivial!  We wanted to make something we could be proud of, and that we'd enjoy using, as adults.  We wanted to do a quick-and-dirty project and reap the refreshing benefits.  There are three quick videos below, and then a walk-through with parts pseudo-details.  Enjoy!

Inspirational Links:
Lifehacker (deluxe?!  ha!)

3 Videos:

Walkthrough of the elements of the (Big) KidWash:

Turning the system on, and noting an easily-remedied failure:

Action movie of the (Big) KidWash (no slipping-n-sliding, sorry; we did that off-camera):


Our total project cost was $100, and was spent between the hardware store and the dollar store where we procured silly whirly-gigs, misting hoses, and jets.  We only used two tools: a pvc tool (not a saw; buy the tool, it's completely worth it (~$10)):
And a rubber mallet (~$10):

We decided to make one rectangular portion roughly 6 feet high, for us adults, and adjacent to that, a 4 foot high square, that the slip-n-slide could run under.  We didn't really have plans, and it was a lot of fun to just measure by eyeball and cut to fit.  It turned out perfectly (click here to enlarge):

It was pretty amazing how the PVC held together on its own, with simply some mallet hits.  We didn't end up using PVC primer/glue, and the water pressure didn't blow any of the joints.  The whirly-gig spun easily, and the long range jet acted fine as well.  The structure was stable, even when filled with water (despite not having any cross-braces).

We used 3/4 inch, schedule 40 pipe, all around, with the exception of the small risers that went to the lawn sprinklers.  All of the adapters were readily available, though we did have to use some re-sizers a few times for this non-traditional use of PVC.

We used a 360, 180, and 90 degree sprinkler for various purposes.

After we tested in the parking lot, we transferred it to a friend's back yard and let the real product testers ge to work.  Everyone had a blast!  (We did have some pool noodles and big car-wash sponges nearby, but didn't hang them, like others have done.)

The back-yard setup, post-sliding. (click here to enlarge)

The slip-n-slide runway, as well as the hose hookup, near the ground, minimizing tripping.
The runway has two garden sprinklers, a long-range jet for the far end, and a misting hose running alongside it.

The whirley-gig that spins around on top, making sure anyone within an 8 foot radius gets wet.

Here's the misting hose that runs along the slip-n-slide to ensure it's always a bit wet, and so we don't have to continually throw buckets down.
And for those environmentalists worried about wasting water while we live in a desert in Los Angeles... you're right, we're wasting water.  But on the brighter side, two out of the three adults who made this are soft vegetarians, so I figure I save a reasonable amount of water that way, offsetting this expenditure.  (1 year of daily 7 minute showers equals approximately 1 pound of beef.)