An Acrylic Fountain
This was one of my first major concept projects,
and a major failure, really.
This project was fun to work on,
but the fountain never really functioned the way I'd envisioned it,
and it was very expensive to build.
I learned some very important questions to ask before beginning work.
- Will the coolness of the project balance the cost?
- Do you have the skills necessary to construct the project?
- Do you have the tools necessary to construct the project?
- What are you going to do with it when it's finished?
Of course, if you're just screwing around, you can pretty much
ignore those kinds of questions.
Anyway, the concept behind this project was that it would be a
rectangular waterfall that could sit on top of a table. It would be
made out of Plexiglas so that a light could shine through the whole
fountain and make neat patterns on the ceiling.
The execution of the project had/has many problems:
- The Plexiglas was just too darn expensive. There is no place in
Pittsburgh to buy plastics in retail quantities. I had to buy an
entire 4'x8' sheet of Plexiglas (about $80) and they even charged
me to cut it into pieces so that it would fit in my car.
- I had no experience cutting Plexiglas. I had enough scraps left
over from messing up to make
a whole other project.
I lacked the skill to score&snap straight lines,
and cutting the wavy lines with a hand saw was painful.
- I had no experience gluing Plexiglas and it's very
difficult. I wound up using way too much glue, and the seams that
need to be watertight really are not.
- The whole thing is crooked. I really should have taken more time
to build the project and make sure things lined up correctly.
- The water doesn't flow the way I thought it would. It didn't pour
out of the top reservoir evenly enough (I wound up having to drill the
holes you see). It doesn't cascade down the levels evenly at all.
It didn't pool in the base fast enough to be pumped at a normal rate.
The fountain needs more water to run than could be
contained in the bottom pool if the pump was off.
I patched those last two problems by adding a reservior to the side,
but now it has to rest on a base rather than
sitting directly on the table top.
- It's very finicky. I can get it to run pretty well if I take the
time to carefully level the base and get just the right amount of
water in the system, but it's not the same kind of "fill and plug in"
simplicity I've been able to acheive with simpler fountains like
the 'Prinkle Can fountain.
I hadn't even tried to run it in years until recently,
and it spent its time sitting on the bottom shelf
of a storage rack in the basement.
I had to spend about ten minutes cleaning sawdust and spiderwebs
off of it to take the pictures for this page.
On the up side for all of this, I only used about 2/3 of the sheet
of Plexiglas, so I have some very large pieces in stock in case I need
them, and I have a bevvy of small pieces for various things like
the screen of the
and the aforementioned