For several months now I have been trying to figure out a way to pump water at my property. I have less than 5 ft of head, and a few water hoses of flow. I built a small damn 5' wide, 8" thick, and 2~ft tall. I've looked at the Ram pump, which I thought would be my only option. I dont believe I have enough flow for one though, and it's a little comlicated looking for my liking. :) After a loong time of searching, I found This man's website. Sounded like an idea. I couldnt not believe what the guy said. with a 2 meter wheel he was getting 16 METERS pump height! I didnt believe it, so I built my own. I wont go much into how it works, just how to build one. When it spins though it picks up air and water. As the two move toward the middle the air gets compressed. It's this air pressure that pushes the water up. The deeper you put the wheel in the water the more flow you get, but the less head.
Here's a small list of iteme you need to build one:
Pipe: 3 x the height you need to pump the water
Swivel: To let the wheel spin and still pump water through the non-spinning outlet pipe
Connections: vary for every spiral pump
Paddles" easy to make out of wood or metal
2 2"x4"s: spokes of the wheel
Start by making the spokes of the wheel, which will hold the pipe. I just used 2 2x4's to make a + shape. Next, wrap your pipe in a spiral shape and tie off on the spokes. Some steel wire should do nice for this.
Since the black poly pipe I'm using wont curl very far before it kinks, I used an additional 10ft of clear rubber tubing. In order to make the pipe spin straight for the swivel, I attached the rubber tubbing to the axel pipe. This would ensure the pipe spin perfect at the swivel every time, hopefully helping to not wear the swivel out too soon.
Since I dont have enough flow for paddles, I had to use a small water wheel to catch the low flow and turn it slowely.
My swivel is the only problems I've had with this so far. It decides to leak at very inconvientent times. :-( Though, turning the pump by hand I pumped water up around 30ft, so I know the thing works nicely. It's just not enough flow by itself to overcome the leak in the swivel. Something else to fix I guess. ;-)