Bubble bucket

by scratchhax, published

Bubble bucket by scratchhax Jul 25, 2015
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High capacity bubble machine capable of 14,000 bubbles (more on that bellow) per minute. Uses a 5 gallon bucket, some aluminum extrusion and a 50rpm motor. Everything else is 3d printed. Video and another Video that google highlights made
Be sure to check out http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:973742 to eliminate the need for the aluminum extrusion!


MOAR EDITS!: Some bubble solution doesn't like so many wands close together, so I have added a spacer that you can print that will take the place of a wand. Use this every other wand for best results (halving the number of total wands). Source files and continued development can be found on my github https://github.com/scratchhax/3DPrinting/tree/master/Bubble_Machine
EDIT 2: Added a picture of the motor coupling and replaced the pin and link pieces for ones that are oriented 90 degrees to help with layer lines and strength. The motor coupling is just 6.35mm x 1.25mm aluminum rod ($2 at an RC store) cut to length with a small hole drilled for a paper clip key.
EDIT: Added BOM and updated the motor carrier to suck a bit less.
A quick word on the math. Some totally legit questions have sprung up about the actual capacity of this machine. The math I used is (40 wands 6 bubblers 8 bubbles each) * 10 rpm which comes out to 19.2 . No chance all of the bubblers will fire though so I took 70% of that to get the max which is roughly 14,000 per minute. In practice it's anywhere from 2,000 to what I estimate to be around 8,000. At 8k you can't stand in front of the thing, but it has to be a calm day for that to work. The videos are somewhere in the 2k range because it was a windy day. Hope you enjoy making one on your own, let me know if I screwed up the math (I am not a smart man).

You'll need to print around 40 of the wands, 80 pins and 40 links to make one the same size as the one I made. The bottom sprocket is held into the extrusion with T-Nuts and a bolt (the bolt acts as the axel, no bearing is needed as this sprocket stays submerged in soapy water) while the top sprocket uses a shaft coupler or some 4mm ID aluminum stock (hobby stores carry this).

Gear Head motor
Shaft Coupler You can use this type or make your own, like I did, out of aluminium stock
20x20 aluminum extrusion or whatever else you want to use to hold things together
Various bolts, tnuts, etc
5 Gallon bucket

Be sure to check out http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:973742 to eliminate the need for the aluminum extrusion!

Things to improve
I need a better mount for the bottom sprocket. It wobbles a little just using a bolt and that lets the chain eventually come off.
A better housing for the motor. A bit of soup eventually gets on the motor and Im worried that will impact it over time. Could just make the housing bigger, not the solution Im looking for.

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I also wonder if I could use a belt made from flexible rubber or plastic with holes punched in it? I would then use two to three pulleys on each axel... this would eleminate a ton of printing.....
I made a belt for my vandegraff generator using plastic covered fabric shower curtain, it could easily be adapted to this :)

Those are all really great ideas. I've been considering giving this thing a makeover this spring but haven't had the time to do a version 2 yet. Doing it again I would use an all pvc body, the chains work out well and I would likely stick with that but I would put air distribution inside the pvc similar to how one of the builds modified it. I saw one build at a hackerspace that actually just used section of pvc for the bubble wands and upgraded to a bigger fan.

You could use a shorter bucket and in turn less links, this could net you the same amount of bubbles with less printing. They make a 2.5 gallon bucket thats the same diameter. Also thanks for make the PVC pipe adapter. I have an old cordless screwdriver to use to drive it, I will seal the motor with a ballon or heat shrink. Thanks for posting!

I'm having a really hard time trying to print the pins. Does anyone have any suggestion on how to get them to print successfully? I access to a Replicator 2x and I'm printing in ABS.

What trouble are you running into? Make sure you are printing them flat. Also if you have any 3mm filament available, you can just cut off lengths of that and use them for pins. Works pretty well to be honest.

What is the total price of the BOM for this thing?

If you use PVC instead of aluminum, it should be well under $20. Pretty much the only expense is the geared motor and a bucket. TBH though, you could replace the geared motor with a hand crank and it would be just as fun.

I want you to be my neighbor ;)

howdy neighbor

Hey guys, I'm nearly done printing all the linkages and wands, and have the gears and motor mount already complete. Question I have is about the pins. I can't get them to stay together in the current (Tall) orientation. They print out fine, but then break off at a layer when trying to use them (insert into linkage holes) fairly easily. Should I lay them down for directional strength? Any other tips? If not I can get some plastic dowel or something and cut if I know the desired dimension. Measures 3.5mm now off my printer.

You have a couple of options here. Laying them down will strengthen them a LOT and is what I do. I use S3d for slicing so reorienting is really easy, but I can upload a horizontal pin if you need one. The other option is to use lengths of 3mm filament, raw and unprinted, as the pin. The pins don't really do much lateral movement so they tend to stay in place even if you have wiggle room in the joint.
SO excited to hear you are printing one for yourself, hope you enjoy!

Good to hear. I have no 3mm filament so i will try laying some down! I can also do it easily with repitier host and slic3r. How about the linkages, in their flat orientation, the holes are out of round. Do you put them on their side?

The links I will run either way depending on how much space I have on my plate. If you print them vertical you'll likely need a bit of support for the span but your holes will be nice and round. Im not sure what layer height you are printing at but I find that the holes stay pretty nice at .3 and below but get a little weird at anything larger.

Great, thanks! I'm running .24 or so layer height , my printer is a fairly well tuned twoUp, but still probably isnt as good as some of the better units - this might be part of my issue for the holes. I may try some on the side this afternoon depending on how many I already have. Worst case I'll drill em.

Only last thing, is there any way a pic that shows your motor mounting and linkage system could get posted here? I think I have an idea of how it all hooks up but a picture would help tremendously. Like, i'm not sure what the slot in the drive gear is really for...

Thanks for all your help, i'll be sure to post "i made one" pics once it is complete!

I replaced those files and uploaded the shaft coupling picture. Let me know if you have any questions.

Perfect! thanks!

I was just thinking of posting that up. When I get home tonight I'll upload horizontal pins, vertical links and I'll take some picture of the motor linkage. I eventually just grabbed some 1/4 hollow aluminum stock from a local RC hobby parts place and press fit it onto the motor. The drive sprocket has a 1/4 hole in it that fits that shaft and I have a little bit of paperclip drilled through in a T to act as a key, but it doesnt really get used, friction is enough.

Also, would you share your favorite recipe for homemade bubble solution, as it appears you've used a fair amount in development?

Aug 12, 2015 - Modified Aug 13, 2015
scratchhax - in reply to lukeandrew

sure. I use a glycerin based one that I found online. You can use sugar if you can't find glycerin (it's usually by the soap or skin care products) but the sugar based formulas mean you really need to make sure you wash things out afterwards or your bubbles will have parachuting ants.

1/2 (500 ml) cup dishwashing detergent
4-1/2 (4.5 liter) cup water
4 tablespoons (60 ml) glycerin (available in pharmacies or chemical supply houses)

Mix everything up, let it sit for 24 hours and it should be good to go. It will work immediately after mixing, but letting it sit seems to make the bubbles firmer

I'll have to give it a try. Thanks! This is a great project you've got here.