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post #11 of 22 Old 03-13-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

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Originally Posted by medicrene View Post
FYI, I looked at the info regarding building a watermaker. It was a good start, but it certainly does not provide enough information. It describes a pump for the watermaker, but it does not describe what kind of motor to attach. it is going to take a while to get that figured out. As for the gentleman above who said he made a watermaker for 700 dollars, I would love to know how. The high pressure pumps alone cost over 1000 dollars and the membranes are expensive. I would certainly like to see a breakdown of costs and how he did it.
I doubt Brent Swain will provide specifics as he has described his method in a book that he sells. But as he hasn't got back to you, I'll tell in what I know.

Major qualification: I am thinking about this so I did a little research - I have never made one.

Most people who claim to be able to make a watermaker for a few hundred bucks use a pressure washer pump. I don't know which ones are suitable and will tolerate salt water. Sorry!

The other expensive part is the pressure vessel (The cheaper one are only suitable for lower pressures i.e. not desalination). I can only imagine that, to keep the price down, you would need to make one. Not sure what from. You can buy a length of 316 tube for $100 or so but I haven't looked into pressure rating. Don't think about PVC as even schedule 120 isn't strong enough. CF tubing would probably work but is expensive - you might as well spend the $500 or so for a ready made GRP vessel and save yourself the problems of making end cap(s), etc. This is one area I would really like some information on if anybody knows.

No way that I know to avoid buying a membrane - shop for the best deal but make sure it's for desalination.

To keep the price down, drive the pump off of an existing engine - auxiliary or generator - as described. If you want to drive it off of an electric motor, the pump manufacturer can probably advise on the power you need but I haven't looked at that. If so, make sure you have sufficient electrical power to run it.

You don't actually need the vacuum gauge or flow gauge as long as you clean the filters and membrane regularly. Really nice to have them though.

As a project, it doesn't seem too difficult but it's not just a case of buying the components and bolting them together and don't know of a step by step how to. At a minimum, you are going to have to figure out and fabricate a means to drive the pump. If you aren't comfortable with that you might be better off buying a ready made watermaker.

I think to create a system with all new, high quality parts is going to be $2K or so.

Hope that helps a bit.
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post #12 of 22 Old 03-14-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

Thanks for the input. I am now considering the Cruise RO watermaker. It lists for under 5000. Has anyone got any experience with this?

The Witchdoctor.
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post #13 of 22 Old 03-15-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

I don't know if this will work for you but it seems the best deal around. WaterMakers
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post #14 of 22 Old 03-15-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

Check out Cruise RO Water and Power's watermakers. I am installing one now. It is very similar in design to the one in the article that was suggested in this posting. I am impressed with the quality of the materials and instructions that came with the kit.
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post #15 of 22 Old 03-15-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

Any 3GPM presure washer pump with ceramic plungers will work , engine driven. Under $300 . A friend , in the watermaker business for many years , told me they are far more solidly built than the ones they make for watermakers. The mebrane housing can be welded up from 2 1/2 inch sch 40 stainless pipe from the scrapyard, $2 a pound. You do have to buy the mebrane and one pre filtre, as well as some hydraulic hoses and fittings. Watch them put the ends on the hydraulic hoses . Make sure they don't put a gob of grease on them, as some hydraulic shops like to do. That will kill your membrane.
$20 plus postage for my book will be one of the cheapest components. .

Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"

Last edited by Brent Swain; 03-16-2012 at 04:07 PM.
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post #16 of 22 Old 03-15-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

There was a very excellent 2 part article in Good Old Boat maybe a year, year & a half ago. The author went into great detail on how he put his engine driven watermaker together & it produced some serious water.

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post #17 of 22 Old 03-27-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

I bought and installed an Echotech water maker a year ago. I wanted a DC motor driven pump.
I also looked at buying the components and building my own. It sounds simple to get SS pipe from the scrap yard and weld up the pressure vessel if you are an experienced welder like Brent and have the equipment. Otherwise you spend time drawing out what you want , time on the road to find a shop that promises the part "next week" and a month later, you find another shop and the circle starts all over....
Also, if you are heading off shore and depend on your water maker, do you really trust the first one off the line????

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post #18 of 22 Old 03-27-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

Check out wolfwatermakers.com .Wolf used his pressure washer pump in the South Pacific and its been running since 1998, no problems. He said they are far better built than the ones made for watermakers. Compare the wall thickness of sch 40 2 1/2 inch stainless pipe (.203 inches) with the wall thickness of most commercially made housings. They are flimsy by comparison. Home built watermakers are far more reliable than commercially made ones, as is the case with most home built gear.
The mere 24 inches of weld needed to build your own housing shouldn't cost much, if you cut out your own parts.

Brent Swain, Boat designer, Builder, and author of "Origami Metal Boatbuilding"
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post #19 of 22 Old 06-19-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

Southern Cross Marine Group in Auckland do locally made watermakers to spec. It's all about flushing out the system and maintaining the membranes - and don't forget the time and energy saved in not refilling tanks. A good quality pump and a good quality membrane with components you can get at it is what is required.
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post #20 of 22 Old 06-20-2012
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Re: Suggestions for Watermaker

We worked with George at quality water works in NC and custom built our watermaker which uses common industrial components. Its a modular system which allowed us to scatter/fit in the components where they fit. George was great and his website shows good examples plus he will provide great diagrams and suggestions.
The big option is go with 12V system or a 120v system. A lot depends on if you have an onboard generator.
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