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Welcome to the Hub page for all things fluid dynamics, if you were wondering why we lumped them both together here it's simply because they go together. Both areas are governed by the same laws of physics so we'll be covering it all at once.
By the end of the section, you will have a firm grip on how to manipulate liquids to your advantage as well as you'll even have some basic piping schematics to replicate in your own build.
While we definitely recommend plumbing a source of water is critical and I wouldn't recommend anyone leave a city center for extended periods of time without actually having a method of purification and storage. Without you'll be tethered by your human need for water and when that bell tolls, it’ or die.
The equation itself is essentially a fancy way of saying if a pipe is straight and there are no external factors water flow will be constant based on the energy headed in. As many of the hydraulics programs like those of electronics come built ready to test your builds. We’ll cover the basics on the manipulation of water but it’s less important than electrical as a failure just leads to a water leak as opposed to a potential fire it’s for that reason we won’t go overboard.
How do hydraulics work?
Hydraulics take advantage of liquids’ inability to be compressed, that unique trait in liquids allows us to lift really heavy things. It’s for that reason we can build a system capable of supporting your bed and even lifting it up in the air! Hydraulics have numerous applications in a van both internally and externally we’ll be covering them more in-depth at a later date as they are the least popular modifications by far. Not to say they are useless though just a bit rarer!
Setting up Water Storage
There are several components required to establish proper plumbing inside of your van. We’re going to cover all of these components as well as provide some of our top picks product-wise.
Water Pump Manual: Humans have been manually pumping water from wells for quite some time, they operate by simply taking the mechanical energy from the pump and using it to start a flow of water through your piping system. Simple and rudimentary even if you have an automatic pump I recommend installing a manual system for those days when what-ifs strike.
Water Pump Electrical: Who says you can’t have running water from a van? With a large enough water tank and a bit of rationale restraint and you can easily have an electrically powered water flow setup. For those staying close to the boundaries of a city, water is incredibly accessible all it takes is one friend or stranger with a garden hose and boom back to full capacity ready to roll!
Water Storage Tank: The good water tank, this will be the one you keep all your clean and purified water inside of. You will, of course, need a 2 litres daily just for drinking so a safe start point is around 20 Litres, this is a great entry point it will give you 7 days in the wilderness with enough water for the misc stuff you need! As for the material for these tankers you’ll want to consider the environment you will be in as that will have an effect on the tank itself. Most people will go with a steel fusti tank due to the large opening making it a bit easier to fill. Calculate your needs and decide if you are going to fill internally or externally and make a call!
Dump Tank: The not so good tank, this is where you’ll have all your dirty water route to and if you plan on putting in a toilet system you will be taking this to the next level with a mini septic tank installation. This doesn’t need to be fancy get the cheapest largest container you need that works with the pipes and terminals you have and call it a day!
Sink: You’ll have a bit of choice in this area, some like metal and some don’t even like full sinks instead opting for a portable sink that they can take out, unfold, set up, wash, empty and store. It depends on how much space you want in your interior for a living and if you have the space for a beautiful kitchenette why not? If you plan on eating out mostly or cooking by campfires maybe that space can be better used for something else, it’s your van what do you want out of a sink?
Tubes: The nerves connecting the whole of your plumbing system. These tubes will be key in establishing a nicely flowing system. You’ll want to take as much advantage of gravity as you can if you have the room for it fitting a water tanker up high means less work when you need water from the pump! Easier to install then pipes and more vibration friendly too there’s no reason not to use these guys in your van.
Pipes: The more traditional route for plumbing, piping can work fine in a van and if you have experience in their installation you can definitely set up an efficient piping system.
Pressure Sensor: For those with some complex builds a water pressure sensor can be installed to allow for an easy to access readout of the pressure within the system. For those really high tech folks out there this can be combined with a Raspberry Pi system to integrate a digital readout of all your vans “vitals” very handy if you can take on the project!
Rooftop Tanker: Some people just want to be able to disappear for long periods of time, water-wise for them nothing is better than a massive roof-mounted water tanker. Properly set-up a rooftop tanker can allow huge quantities of potable water to be stored, allowing for complicated water setups such as overhead gravity fed showers and more!
Shower/Bathtub: A shower system with a bit of work can even be built right inside of a van, for some the luxury of a bathtub is more important than a bit of legroom. While very impractical and a bit overkill it has been done plenty of times and some people swear by it, I suppose given the choice between a public shower and a shower at home I can see why these get built! The Toilet: A toilet is, of course, the holy grail of modern civilization, the ability to get our poop out of the cities and into the waste systems cleaned everything up and even stopped the spread of a lot of diseases. I highly recommend an external waste tank be built or at least one in an airtight container… obvious poop smell related reasons. Toilets can be manually or electrically flushed depending on the system. I strongly recommend against a toilet!
Unlike the other components, plumbing is much more specified with each piece so we'll be covering each modification individually, check back here for each of the above topics to be updated with a full guide on how to build each one individually!