Design of the Week: Self-Starting Siphon

By on December 10th, 2018 in Design


 A 3D printed self-starting siphon [Source: Andrea Fontana]
A 3D printed self-starting siphon [Source: Andrea Fontana]

This week’s selection is the incredible self-starting siphon by Andrea Fontana.

Italy-based Fontana, a.k.a. “Trikko” on Thingiverse, designed this amazing, yet incredibly simple device. It’s a siphon but you do not need to do any sucking; you merely insert the device into a full tank of fluid and it starts working all by itself. There is nothing tricky involved; it’s almost magical.

Here’s a video of the device in action from Fontana:

You might be curious as to how this device actually works, as I was. Fontana points to another video, made by The Curiosity Show in 2014 that explains the principles behind the self-starting siphon:

It seems that as water enters the tube it has a momentum, and if sufficient, the water can overcome the first “hill”. Then it gathers up even more momentum on the second downward path that is sufficient for it to overcome the second hill and become a working siphon.

I had no idea this was possible, and from now on I won’t be doing any siphon sucking!

Of course, the conditions must be just right for this to work: the water level must be relatively close to the top of the container, and you must have physical access to implant the device. As such, this concept would not work if you’re interested in stealing gasoline from a parked automobile, which is probably a good thing.

If you want to make one of these, Fontana has provided the design for free download on Thingiverse.

Siphon away!

Via Thingiverse

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!