Air-Powered Water Pump

Found this video some time ago made by the Health Ranger from and after speaking with the fellows at Factor e Farm we see having one of these pumps as a top priority. The problem is they cost $600 and that’s out of this budget so my question is do any of you have access to the design for a pump like this or own one that you can take apart and take pictures of the internals so we can make our own?

Any help would be great. Also if after watching this video you choose to buy one a possible option would be having it shipped to Factor e first so they can break it down to understand its design and then it will be put back together and shipped to you

Thank you for your time..

PS by Marcin: We came up with the following design:

See the wiki page on the Compressed Air Water Pump for further details.


  1. Kevin Atkinson

    In an effort to crowd-source reverse-engineering the Brumby pump, I submitted a link to this post to the science subreddit.

    Vote up the link, it will get more eyeballs!

  2. Dan

    This is an airlift pump. The Brumby site says that the submersion/lift ratio has to be at least 1/3. Wikipedia says 1/2. In other words, if your water table is 50 feet down, you have to drill down to between 75 feet (1/3) and 100 feet (1/2).
    Bubbly water is lighter than non-bubbly. If your bubbly water is half air, it weighs half as much. A 100-foot column of half air, half water weighs as much as a 50-foot column of water. So, if you introduce 50% air into the bottom of a vertical tube 100 feet long standing in 50 feet of water, the bubbly water will rise to the top.
    The trick is that you have to drill down an extra 50% to 100%, which means that your well costs an extra 50% to 100% to dig.

  3. mimarob

    hmm, but since your using pressurised air, wouldn’t it work to run a motor on that air? Imagine just taking a cheap pneumatic drill or other rotating pneumatic tool and then combining it with a conventional water pump, strong enough to pump water 20 or whatever meters up?

  4. Kevin Atkinson

    A user from submitted this link:

  5. Jeremy

    Cool, thanks! I’ll be putting ours together today.

  6. mimarob

    Thats simple, just realized you’d probably get power tool oil in the water using my idea :-p

    Drilling double the distance would have a disastrous impact on cost im my area, its something like 100 EUR per meter (rocks) and you need to go about 50-75 meters down.

    Avoiding going another 50 meters down will motivate quite an expensive pump 🙂

  7. Marcin

    Jeremy will post a design of the pump we came up with. We think we have a simple design worked out, based on our experience and Brittany’s build of the pump cylinder ( We don’t think this design requires the extra depth of the bore hole. This way, there is no need for deep immersion of the pump body. Stay tuned for the design, plus testing in the next few days.

  8. […] infrastructure. Yesterday we got one step closer to this with a successful demonstration of an air-powered water pump that Guy suggested. We will install this pump in our well, which we dug last year and which still […]

  9. Water Pump Tool

    […] Brumby Pump plans anyone? | Open Source Ecology […]

  10. hawkiye

    Have you posted your design yet on the air pump?

  11. Jeremy

    Yep, the basic design so far is here:

    We’re still working on the timer circuit for the solenoid valve. We also need to source a cheaper valve.

  12. Tom

    You are aware that you could be infringing our patents here, right?
    You can go and spend hundreds of hours working out a way to copy our pumps, potentially get yourself in trouble and still only have a half-baked example.
    There is lot more in the pumps than may meet the eye.
    I’m sure you can spend your time more productively than to build an inferior version of a pump, that you could have simply bought and installed in a few minutes.

  13. Jeremy

    Hi Tom,

    We believe our pump is different from your design, but please send us your patents so we can make sure. .pdf scans will be fine.

    Thanks, take care.

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  15. Rob White

    With regard to the main question at the top of this page as to whether or not anyone has, or is willing to provide details of the Brumby Pump construction and internals I would like to add this:

    The Brumby pump is a patented design and if we find anyone who is attempting to copy this design or anyone who in any way is attempting to aid those seeking to copy this design any such persons WILL be prosectued to fullest extent of the law.
    Rob White.
    Brumby Pumps UK.


      Pumps just like the Brumby pump were used during the 1880s Calif gold rush and under common use rules can not be patented in the US.
      I found plans if them in a old mining engineer handbook at the Mckay school of mines library in Reno NV.
      the only difference between what you call the brumby pump and there old mine pumps was your are made from PVC and the mine pumps were larger a lot bigger and made from steel

  16. Katie

    In the USA a patent can be copied, but for testing and prototyping only. Any and all copies may not be sold or marketed. The copies you build also can not be given or traded away. The testing or prototype copy must be disassembled or destroyed after the test. You may modify the original patented item so it is a whole new thing then no patent problems exist. So I suggest you do a longevity durability test of a prototype.

  17. Katie

    To build a pump similar to the Brumby pump,first build a standard Airlift pump note that the Airlift patent has expired, I checked. Then cap the bottom of the pump and install a one-way foot valve at the bottom and a one-way valve in the water up pipe. Review the standard fish tank airlift pump on the internet,it is basically a PVC pipe inside a PVC pipe, you modify by adding two check valves. I have made my own drawings from some expired patents, but still testing.

  18. David


    Is the patent for Brumby Pump a UK or USA patent? I don’t find anything searching Google for a Brumby Pump patent.

    I did see a patent for a Hydraulic Elevator.

    I am very interested in building these pumps and using them on my farm and having them available as kits for others to build.

    I have also located 12VDC air solenoids that handle up to 115psi for more shallow depths. My wells are 25-30 feet and I figure 40-60 psi would work pretty good.

    I have begun collecting parts to build a test unit and hope to have something up and running this summer.

    Thanks for that drawing.

  19. David

    Some additional research shows that the Feri pump:

    is darn near identical to Brumby. Or maybe its’ the other way around.

    Interesting that sites are showing a picture of both pumps and it appears to be the same pump, just different names.

  20. MarkR

    If you do a patenr search on “gas lift pump” there are numerous patents which look similar to the Brumby design ie US patents 3,894,814 4,579,511 and 2010/0051288. The patent application that Brumby are refering to could be australian pat application 2009902513 by Molloy, Anthony John

  21. tim orum

    After reading all of this I have come up with a design of pump that also uses compressed air and a simple check valve system in the water and a more complex (but available at $80NZ)pneumatic valve on the surface. not sure if this is a new idea but i will will make a prototype and see how well it works. I am unable to use current designs because they wont fit down my existing bore pipe. Anticipating will cost about $200 to make + compressor, will keep you posted.

    1. Marcin

      Can you submit a drawing or your concept to us? Please email to opensourceecology at gmail dot com or post on the wiki.

  22. tim orum

    Ummmmm , im gonna check some patents first , me thinking there could be a small business op here. First prototype is running of a 12CFM compressor 40 P.S.I its happily pumping 20litres a minute. the pump itself is only 50mm dia so if you had a 100mm bore (I have only 60mm) I reckon my design would make those branby pumps performance look pretty average at best. Estimated cost of pump: $250NZ (less than $200US) + compressor – one off,retail prices for all equipment., larger pump would only be $50odd more

    1. Marcin

      Can you publish your design?

  23. […] bow out of this thread soon, but I just had to share a radically new pump design with you people: Air-Powered Water Pump | Open Source Ecology This guy is proud of the fact he uses a two Hp electric air compressor and a 1Hp supplementary […]

  24. Stephen

    The “geyser pump” patent is worth studying. It seems to do the same thing as the Brumby- pump & Feri-pump.
    (full pdf of patent on this page)
    Also, see (industrial
    sewage use)

  25. Mia

    The Feri Pump has been copied and called a Brumby Pump. The pump on the health ranger video is a Feri Pump not a Brumby Pump!! THE FERI PUMP IS THE ORIGINAL & THE BEST!

  26. Tara J.

    This is really interesting. Just trying to figure out why compressed air is necessary for your pump application. There are lot’s of other options, many of which are much cheaper. I found this pump types guide to be helpful in the past. Some good analysis.

  27. asano

    I think the principle used in “Dutch Bucket” hydroponics applies here. I’ve tried a Dutch Bucket before by attaching a T joint at the end. Here’s a sketch of my Dutch Bucket drip hydroponics.

  28. David

    I have built the pump Katie designed and have added a threaded top so that maintenance and part replacement can occur. I have to test it and see how well it will work. I used 3″ PVC for the body at 3 feet long.

  29. ben

    The Feri pump was the beginning and then the Feri pump become the Brumby pump. exactly the same pump inside with a different name. We purchased Feri pumps many years ago and now purchase the Brumby pump. We are the distributors for Europe for the Feri pump… now known as the Brumby pump. Here is the Feri which we sold and now heres the Brumby we sell
    Both the same just a name change. If anything now the Brumby has a bigger range and is capable of larger volumes of water abstraction.

  30. Brian White

    I made the pulser pump and on a suggestion from a friend, I tested the airlift part of the “pulser pump nano”. This is a very low pressure airlift pump in tubes. a bundle of tubes is required and possibly it could lift water in series to get huge lifts. The airpressure required to lift about 14 ft is about 1 psi or less. So potentially a child with a bellows could pump water from a 35 ft deep well (a series of 3 lifts). I did a test run a year or so ago and it is at
    There are no patents.

  31. Gary

    Using a wind powered air compressor is the perfect way to go with pneumatic water pumps. The can run the pneumatic pump and store air in an air storage tank to use on non wind days. It’s a great way to pump water off grid.

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