Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Solar Water Purifier

by deltaModulator Sep 15, 2014
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that is a really neat concept - I really like the idea

This is a really great and ingenious idea, as a college student i have a plethora of 2 liter bottles and i thing ill print quite a few of your parts and build an array just to see if i can maximize fresh water output.

Sounds good, please keep us posted here!

Survival / Emergency Still (Water)
by mussy

It was inspired by Les :)

gracias por el diseño, desde Mexico

I wanted to let you know I am launching my own relief effort in PR and I am going to take as many of these as I can carry!

Please stay in contact with me, I would like to know how things work out.

I will - I am printing these now and I will be testing tomorrow - provided the weather is right

Les, this is a great and heroically honorable thing to to have done.

If you are any good with the design software try adding a tube sticking out the side at a downward angle such that a drinking straw fits on it. As clean water is captured it runs out the drinking straw into a glass. Stand 10 bottles around a cup and get 10 times the water output without having to take them apart. Additionally a funnel with a drinking straw reaching from the top to below the collector would let you refill the dirty water without risk of contaminating the clean. I am not sure how many it would take per person but with enough you should be able to build a sustainable drinking water supply per person. If I were any good with the software I would build them and send them for you to add, alas.....

iamskypilot, thank you for your appreciation and your ideas. The rotary arrangement is not one that I had thought of and is a nice improvement (I was thinking of a linear arrangement in 1D, 2D, or 3D). In addition to that your funnel idea is more of a major improvement. If I work on this design again - and I really should - then I will add these two features and credit you for the improvements! Good thinking!

Like the concept, thanks for the idea, sterling man for sharing your idea.

YVW! Gotta share ideas if you want to change the world, right?

Great idea! could you do me a favor and make a video of you saying, "put the lotion in the basket" or "it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again". You sound a lot like Buffalo Bill.

on a side note, have you thought of putting a drain tube in order to collect more water?

You are a great man, great design too :)

I would feel great if someone in the field were to use it. As it is I just feel mediocre.

This is great make the tray bigger and it's perfect. I will definitely be printing this for my grab bag.

Good I hope that turns out well.

It is simple and easy to make.
I'm definitely sharing this idea with my colleagues
Good job CreatorLes!!

You mention your colleagues, can you tell me about where you work - education?

Oh, man, 41 comments and such encouraging words! I have been making play things and various this and that while all this time boat loads of views were occurring on this item. So now I'm shifting gears to this again. Some thoughts:

o Make a baffle system printed in black for the center, sort of a sponge like water boiler thingie to go in the water itself
o Print the collector in white
o Set up a test system outside here in the nursing home where I stay.  

More ideas to follow!


This is from my new friend Cfish:

: Back when I use to camp a lot, I had an old tire inertube with a black raincoat glued to it in a coned down shape. On a hot day you could get a 2/3 return of urin on the ground with it placed over with a cup in the center. I never drank it, but it looked and smelled like distilled water. Les

You sir, are a gentleman!. Thanks for sharing.

ty. well, i try. i really do try.

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Add a drain tube to the tray and it could drip into a glass. then you would just need to add water to the reservoir occasionally.

Very Good Design, I Like it

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Version 9 is uploaded now (Fri Oct 17 2014).


Hi, why don't you put a side hole with a pipe connection so water can flow in a cup? It's just and idea. :-D

Try this:

-Take one 2 liter bottle, fill it up half way with dirty water and put it in the sun.
-Take another 2 liter bottle (empty), Put it in the shade next to the other one. (the cooler temperature in the shade helps to condense the vapor back into liquid water)
-Connect the top of the 2 bottles with a hose.

See how well that competes with your design.
I'm not trying to rag on your design, but I think this might be an easier way.

Allen, I like your idea. You could make a short flexible pipe with cut bottle cap on both end. Then all you need is 2 plastic bottle, unmodified. I need to give it a try!

Hey, if it's better it's better and should be added to the toolbox of water purifier strategies. You may not always have sun and shade but i guess you can make shade. I think you may be right about the better yield. I have not made any progress the past week, i'm unable to do testing and that is what is needed at this time. Supposedly there is a school project but meh, i wish someone could help. I'm sort of a fish out of water at this point.

really nice idea, would love to see if it works, but I am not in hot country! just wondering if say the old coke bottles with the black base would help accelerate the evaporation? If they brought those back and used your device as a joining mechanism it would be great!

Pic: http://ak-hdl.buzzfed.com/static/2014-01/enhanced/webdr02/29/11/enhanced-31507-1391011773-5.jpg

Once i get my 3D printer back running i will print this ASAP and give you some feedback.

Version 6 is out with improvements to the bottle half gripping and changes to the drain pipe.


The latest version is ready and posted. This includes the strongly requested drainage fitting feature to remove collected water into a central reservoir.


A very simple and great design. Good thinking!

I guess if they really wanted, they could install a drain hose on the reservoir and a feed hose to drip water inside the bottle.
With an array of those and if you were using filters upstream to keep the largest debris out of the system, they could have this running for days at a time if not more and produce a lot water.

Oh and... pikaboo! you made me laugh lol

hehe i try to sometimes add a surprise near the end of the video because my voice can put viewers into a trance. the drainage system you describe seems to be the one favored by all. I imagine "quads" of bottles connected together hierarchically. I have just added the drainage hole and printed two examples. Going to print more once the spout works.


I wonder what would happen if we built a raft, attached an array of those to it in a way that they are kept slightly over water and let it work away 24/7

I'm a student at a New York city public high school and I'm taking a class in which we are making water filters with the help of 3d printers. This is the most simple and the best idea I've come across researching and I'd love to get in contact with you about it.
My email is mayav16@nycischool.org. I'd love to hear from you and it would really help our project.
Thank you

mayav16, I feel extremely enthusiastic about unleashing the pure raw creative force and energy of one of more high-schoolers upon this project! You could end up improving on my design and making your mark in the world already at such a young age! Plus what I enjoy about young minds is they tend to think outside of the box like me, that's why I say I'm 47 going on 11 lol. Don't ever "grow up", I did that and I promise you - it's a trap!

Haha, all joking aside I will contact you via email now...

People like you are the reason i had to go into 3Dprinting...There is so much good we all can achieve, my honest respect to you Les!

All my life i had such good intentions yet never did they become something tangible. 3D printing bridges the gap between imagination and implementation. And as for your kind words and those of everyone else - I am truly overwhelmed with joy! People are beginning to learn about the REAL me, the guy that lives on the inside of this skin suit, cause that outside guy - what was that all about? Nothing.

not a 'water purifier' it simply allows salt water to be condensed (distilled) which only separates non-condensibles like Salt, and leaves distilled water (not drinkable water due to unknown byproducts either re-condensed with the water or nutrients lost during distillation. any water 'recycled' during this process needs tested to see if further filtering etc needs done b4 drinking it or it may make you sick at the least. this is just a 'simple solar powered still'. just so that people dont believe they can survive with this. but it may help a couple days stranded at sea etc to delay scurvy etc. same as collecting rain water. (only it would be hard to keep bottle level while being tossed by waves if afloat). nice idea though keep thinking outside the box as there is no such thing as failed experiments while inventing. each one is just a road sign pointing towards success. ;^)

Yes, it would more accurately be called "2-Liter Solar Distiller". There is the issue of killing the bacteria which may be partly accomplished by infrared radiation from the sun or more preferably my friend tells me - three drops of chloride (not sure i got that chemical right, but the one they put in drinking water). Solutions, solutions everywhere and not a one to apply!

I may have thought up a better way to do this and it does not require 3d printing at all. We need a small dirty water container, a large water collection container, and a 2 liter bottle with the bottom cut off. We first set the large water collection container out in the sun. Then we place the small dirty water container inside of it, centered naturally. We then place the 2 liter bottle over the small dirty water container and close up the large water collection container.
It works ver simply. When the water evaporates from the small dirty water container it rises to the inside of the 2 liter bottle where it condenses upon striking the interior of the bottle. Water then drips down and collects in the bottom of the outer container. Leave it in the sun for long enough and you have your clean water!

Excellent job mate and nice idea, I'm curious to print it and test it!

ty frapicchi, since so many are eager to print it I updated the design to the latest one which is version 3.

Here we go Les, just downloaded, will print one on my printer and do some testing as well. Will report back any feed back…the world will be a better place because of people such as yourself. Well done. Timm@carrotwerx.com

timm, be sure to get version 3, it's much better.

Most Excellent, Timm! I've got a cloudy day here so cannot test until maybe tomorrow. You may need to remove the outer lower branch of the H-cross-section as I did, this is a design refinement.


cool idea. I am impressed by the simplicity of the design and how it connects to the bottle. Seems like a really great start to something that has a lot of potential.

Yes Noah, I have focused on simplicity in my design work for a long time, previously on electronics. It's getting some good attention, need to test it as soon as i get a sunny day!

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More info on this and related topics here (warning graphic images of Human suffering): http://www.10bitworks.com/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=end_human_suffering_les_hall


This is really quite brilliant -- people have been working with the water cones for awhile - http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:119674 but doing it with the large semi-transparent print. Your method involves far less printing time per unit area of collection. I would go with black spray paint for the bottom. Gathering 2L bottles will not be the problem. It would be very interesting to see how many you need to get enough water per person per day of decent sun.


Solar Powered Water Purification Cone

Thank you Joshua, such encouraging and thoughtful words really fuel my fire for doing things like this!

I feel that there has to be a way of improving this so that some one could get more than a sip of water from the ring.

i agree. thoughts: put a set of them on a black background such as a garbage bag, the black will absorb heat and increase production of water perhaps. also I'd like to modify the design to accept bottles of slightly different circumferences which there is an idea floating around in my head for that... to increase production maybe use a large Frenel lens or reflector or perhaps a water lens to concentrate solar rays. ty for your suggestion!

Prob is the 2liters are not meant for long term. They are permeable. Only use for a couple rounds.

yes, another problem is that they vary in diameter. I think I can mod the ring to accept a range of sizes, and the problem you mention can be alleviated by just sending the third world boatloads of 2 liter bottles. repurposing is usually better than recycling, and after a couple of rounds the bottle can be recycled (or so I would think). satisfactory response?


Note: I have not tested this yet, will do so at my earliest convenience!

just a little idee if you put a pipe in the side of the ring you can catch the water outside of the botle whitout thinking to emty the ring every time.
but this is a realy nice idee

Yes, you could drain them in, oh say four-packs of soda bottles, and keep them running all the time. There comes a point at which the economy of scale will prefer another technique of water purification, however it is nice to know you can "tile them up" to get more than a little sip of water.