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Water in your balls - the $6 solution

Thomas Wayne

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When I originally decided to try putting water into the skier buoys (years ago) I used a simple hand pump and just held everything under water until I had pumped as much into the buoy as I thought would do the job. It was pretty hard work, since that type of air pump isn’t really meant for fluids, and eventually the seals inside the pump failed. That prompted me to built the fluid delivery system I explained posted about (much to the criticism of some individuals).

So a couple of days ago I built a device that should be within the skill set of just about any guy who can handle a knife without cutting himself. The parts are READILY available, and the entire project took about two minutes from start to finish. The end result is a unit that injects water and/or air into a standard slalom buoy, without the need for an outside air source or garden hose – meaning that it can be done in the middle of the lake, from a canoe (if you like).


1 FLO-MASTER hand-held garden sprayer, model 1998wb – I bought mine at Wal-Mart for $5.87

1 standard sports ball inflation needle

1 pocketknife, fishing knife or equivalent edged tool

Photo 1 shows the Flo-Master sprayer partially disassembled, along with the inflation needle. Two modifications will need to be made; first, everything beyond the threaded stem of the inner nozzle component must to be removed [shown within dotted box]. Second, the threaded end that is left must be chamfered out so that the back end of the inflation needle will “seat†into it slightly, ensuring a more air/water tight fit.

Photo 2 shows the inner nozzle component after it has been trimmed down to only the thread stem. This is easily accomplished by running your knife around the base of the nozzle stem (directly beyond the threaded part shown), progressively cutting into the plastic until it parts off.

Photo 3 shows the opening in the threaded stem after it has been chamfered out with the tip of the knife.

Photo 4 shows how the very end of the inflation needle should “seat†into the end of the threaded stem.

Photo 5 shows the only other modification necessary; the hole in the outer nozzle needs to be enlarged just enough to allow the inflation needle to be pushed through.  I used the knife point to accomplish this.

Reassemble the outer nozzle onto the inner nozzle’s threaded stem with the inflation needle in place - to ensure a good seal you may have to tighten this with pliers, but don’t over-tighten to the point of stripping the threads.

Photo 6 shows the device after is has been half-filled with water and pressurized. I filled the chamber up to the top of the FLO-MASTER logo, and found that 50 or 60 pumps was more than enough to empty the water out. Pumping requires virtually no effort at all, even when the pressure is quite high, and the thumb trigger may be locked on so you can just sit back and watch your buoy fill up. The same device is excellent for pumping air into the buoys as well.

$6 dollars and two minutes, meant to be used to pump liquid – which bicycle pumps are not - and I guarantee you’ll feel like “McGyver†when you’re done (I know I did).







Thomas Wayne

(PS: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacGyver)

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