Pump action water blasters are a step up in complexity over syringe pump water blasters in terms of water blaster pressurization technology. For iSoaker.com, pump action-based water blasters are also categorized under the general class of Piston-based water blasters.
The pump action-based water blasters' workings are comprised of six types of parts:
- Pump Grip* - where the user holds onto the sliding inner section of the pump
- Pump Rod - the part of the pump that slides within the pump shaft
- Pump Shaft - the outer casing of the pump that holds water
- Nozzle - where water exits the water blaster
- Check Valves #1 and #2 - one-way valves to control the direction of water flow from the reservoir to the pump, then to the nozzle
- Reservoir - water storage compartment
* Note: in the simplest versions of these water blasters, the pump grip may simply be extended part of the pump rod that sticks out from the pump shaft.
Example Water Blasters:
The following are some examples of water blasters that use pump action water blaster technology:
The Water Blasting Cycle:
While many are familiar with how to operate this fairly simple water blaster, the steps involved are still outlined below for consistency.
Step 1: Priming
Before use, the reservoir cap needs to be removed and the reservoir filled with water. The reservoir can be filled completely.
To prime this type of water blaster, the pump grip and rod should be pushed into the pump shaft, expelling air from the inner-side of the pump shaft. This action may open Check Valve #2 slightly to allow air from the inside of the pump shaft to escape out of the nozzle.
Step 2: Loading
To load the pump, the intake hole or intake tubing within the reservoir must remain submerged in water while the pump grip and rod are pulled out from the pump shaft. This causes a reduction of pressure inside the pump shaft allow water to the pulled (technically pushed) into it. This change in pressure opens Check Valve #1, allowing water to pass from the reservoir to the inside of the pump shaft. Check Valve #2 remains sealed since the direction of force is opposite to how that valve would open.
Well designed pumps will have a stopper at the maximum amount the pump rod can be pulled before it falls out of the pump shaft. However, some models require a little more care not to completely remove the pump rod from the pump shaft, otherwise the seal will be lost, the pump rod will fall out of the shaft, and water will dribble out.
Step 3: Blasting
To blast, the opposite motion must be done versus loading or filling the pump, except with water already present in the pump shaft's chamber. Once the pump is filled, one simply needs to aim the nozzle in the desired direction and push the pump grip and rod back into the pump shaft, forcing water out of the pump shaft, through Check Valve #2, and out of the nozzle. Check Valve #1 seals when pushing water out of the pump shaft since the direction of force at this time is opposite to how it opens.
Depending on the size and volume of water available, one may opt to stop before completely emptying the pump shaft, allowing one to blaster a few to several streams of water on a single fill. Of course, once all the water is expelled from the pump shaft, one will need to return to load the pump again assuming there is still water remaining in the reservoir.
Insights on this Technology
Being one of the simplest ways to push out a stream of water, having minimal parts allows these water blasters to also be built fairly inexpensively, yet remain fairly durable. Though the direction of force being applied to the water is opposite to the direction of the resulting stream, smooth, potent, laminar streams are still possible, allowing these types of water blasters to achieve good distances for their size, though not quite as good as syringe pump-based water blasters.
As with the syringe pump systems, for this system to work, a good seal must be maintained between the pump rod and pump shaft in order to both draw water in and push water out. This seal is one of the weakest points in that continued use may reduce its effectiveness, leading to poorer or failed performance if the seal gives up.
The other parts that may end up failing, particularly if dirty water is used a lot, are the two check valves. These valves must open and seal as needed to ensure water is drawn from the reservoir to the pump, then pushed from the pump out to the nozzle. If either valve's seal is damaged or cannot close completely due to dirt, the maximum strength of streams produced will drop significantly.
As stream generation is a manual process, the strength of the stream is partly affected by the strength of the user. That said, most stock water blasters are designed that an average person of the age range recommended for the item should be able to get maximum performance from the stream. Usually, attempting to apply even more force will not increase output to any significant degree.
- Simple build can be quite sturdy and stable
- Simple operation
- Generally smooth, laminar streams
- Good potential range for amount of water pushed
- Reservoir allows one to fill and shoot multiple times before needing to refill the blaster
- Amount of water available per shot limited to pump volume
- Multiple shots from a single pump more difficult to do well
- Two-handed operation
- Difficult to maintain a stable, consistent shot since hand and arm must be moving to create the stream