Suppose I have a wheel, about 6 feet in diameter, with empty soup cans affixed around it, powered by a big windmill. This drawing only has four spokes, but there will be more:

                      ___| <-- tin can
          ...   \       |       /
    .... <--bamboo chute| <--spoke
...               \     |     /
<--water is sent that way    /
                    \   |   /
                     \  |  /
 __                   \ | /                  |  |
|  |-------------------( )-------------------|__|
|  |                  / | \
                     /  |  \
                    /   |   \
                   /    |    \
                  /     |     \
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ <-- water
                       |___ <--water is picked up here

The water needs to be dispensed into a chute, or aqueduct, made from bamboo, cut in half. The water is sent down the chute to another higher pool of water.

The first problem I'm running into with this design is that there isn't any way to position the chute in a way that catches the water pouring out of the cans. If I position the chute under the can, it falls within the radius of rotation, and blocks the turning.

How can I get the water from the cans to spill out into the chute, at ideally the highest point possible?

  • $\begingroup$ you could have your cans on pivots and a stop at the top that causes them to tip... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 24, 2020 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ Then you can have two cans, mounted outside the wheel frame so they pour into chutes that then join. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jun 24, 2020 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ For a windmill drive, a simple chain pump would probably match the torque and rpm of the mill and the pump better. See 3.6.7 here $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Jun 26, 2020 at 1:45

1 Answer 1


Consider an alternative to the current placement of the cans. side dump water wheel

The image above from the Pinterest web site, UN Food and Agricultural Organization shows a wheel in which the cans (bamboo tubes) dump the water to the side into a trough. I'm not suggesting that you duplicate this design, but if you turn your cans slightly to the side, you can have a chute or trough to collect the water without contacting the wheel.

There will be velocity of the water as it dumps to clear the gap necessary to keep the cans from hitting the wheel and there will be some loss, but it's not going to be consequential in the bigger picture.

I used the search terms "water lifting wheel" and selected images to find this wheel. Others appeared, but this provides the best representation of the concept. The trough can be placed higher as well.


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