Water Fountains

I'd like to create a water effect where water is shot in a straight column around 20 feet in the air and then falls back into a trough. It doesn't need to last long and is only used one time per show. Multiple columns would be nice, too. Any help is appreciated.
20 feet, huh? That's some good distance. How large a spray does it have to be? The smaller the spray, the less effort it is going to take to launch it.
compressed air to shot the water from a tube?
i'm thinking anywhere from 3/4" to 2" diameter column of water. 20 feet would be good, but its the concept i need the most help with. Here's what i'm thinking so far:
A large open trough/water tank with sloped sides, roughly 4' wide by 16' long with either 4 or 5 fountains spaced evenly along the center line. I'm wondering if it is best to do 1 pump that stays running and then a valve at each spray, or a pump at each spray that just starts when i need the effect. Thing is that it needs to be at maximum height when it starts, not build up. Also, does anyone know of anywhere to order supplies for this?
so is this just a one shot or do you need a constant stream for like 30secs?
1 shot--instantaneous. I'm now also considering what it would take to make a water screen that something could be projected on. (This would need to last longer).
what exactly is this for. sounds neat but i would just lik to be the bad old pessimist for a second. i was doing a show involving a large poicher of water, a big spill and an actor with a broken leg. enough said
on a brighter side, i know disney world uses this effect as landscping. maybe try and contact a grounds maitnence pearson or something to see how they do it. Going through a large corporate beurocracie might be very frustrating but sometimes it actally works.
This is for a basketball team intro. I saw the fountain style effect on broadway and would like to recreate it--it reminds me of a pyro gerb and water can be pretty mezmorizing with colored lighting. So I've got a large basketball court to work with and structural beams about 40' high, the roof another 10-20'. A water screen would be neat and I could project various colors and then use gobos to project the team name on the screen. The ground level portion of the system has to be portable and well designed so it can be moved off and leave no water on the court for the players. But if for some reason it spills over, I will have capability to clean it before the game begns.

has anyone worked with http://www.tsunamiscreen.com/ ?
Ok... intanous...

Get a tank, a pressure tank, fill it with water and fill it with compressed air... lot of it...

The outlet of course should be at the bottom... then run high pressure hoses to where you want the jets...

Frankly, I think it would be easier and in this case even safer to use to pyros...

Putting water anywhere near a basketball court is a good reason to have an athletic nut kill you. No matter what you would do there would certain to be some splash... Not to meniton the fact that water is heavy...

Use pyros. They might even be cheaper than trying to build your own apparatus to shoot water...

As far as lighting goes, you don't need water for lighting... Useing some cool lighting throughout the room else where and incorperate it with the pyros...

Water in this case is just not a good idea...

Keep in mind that shows on broadway cost tens of millions of dollars, they aren't something just thrown together...
You could possibly use fog, which can be lit as well. Otherwise you will undoubtedly have to put a LOT of plannung into the effect, as well as multiple test runs and reworkings to get it right.
ISU uses fog for their entrances... they have 2 peices of truss that roll out on eighter side of the locker room entrance... inside the truss was red cyc lights and a few foggers... very niffty... and well contained and easy to roll around!
For a water jet to go straight up and back down into a trough you are going to need to have a perfectly vertical column and there will be very little room for tollerance on the jet/nozle.

Water screens are a great effect but are generally done on water. i.e., you set up the system on a pond/lake/pool etc.

The previous comments about water and highly poloshed floors is one to be taken seriously. Seen the kids on TV mopping up the swet from a fallen player. Imagine the mess your water effects will make.

I would go fog or pyro, but would stay away from gerbs, as hot fallout also doesn't mix well with highly polished floors!

Smoke and flash pots would look good, combined with some nice lighting effects would be your best bet.
There is the rain effect with the pvc pive w/ holes at top. sounds easy but never tried it myself. but thats really not what ure going for now is it. but as i said you will become very familliar with low coeffecients of kinetic friction when you use water and slick floor.
Thank you everyone for your recommendations. I've got some pyro lined up (so many legalities for that you have to start really early now), some fog, some intelligent lighting, and I'm going to build a fountain that uses a 3" pvc tank 4 feet tall; 2.5 feet for water, 1.5 feet for compressed air. The bottom of the tank will reduce to 1", go through an electric valve, turn paralell to the ground and then T such that there is a 1/2" outlet for the first spray, then a 3/4" pipe continuing to the next outlet, where a T reducing to 2 1/2" outputs will be. The trough will be about 4 feet wide, 2 feet high with sloped sides. I will test this many times before putting it on a basketball court, and then several more times on the court before "opening night" to ensure that absolutely no water leaks.

Thanks for your replies, and I'm open to any more tips!
Make sure that you post some pictures
PVC is not recommended for use with compressed air.

I'd be surprised if you can find a pressure-rated PVC tank (or even of polyethylene).

There are equations for the basic characteristics of water jets from nozzles out there. (I don't have them. You might be able to find them on the internet or maybe in a water hydraulics book.) In any case, you should be able to find an equation that correlates the nozzle/hole diameter to the pressure and velocity and height of the water jet will reach.

Also, that information will give you a better idea how much pressurized water you really need since it will give you the flow rate per nozzle and then you know how long you want each nozzle to operate (Did you really mean 3-inch diameter on your tank?). (A 3 foot diameter tank as described has about 100 gallons of water for a working capacity.) At 2.5 feet of water in a 3 foot (?) diameter tank, that's 1,100 lb of water to move.

Note that if you just "charge" (rather than have a constant air compressed air supply) an acceptable tank with compressed air, the pressure will drop by a factor of 2 (at least) as you spray out most of the water. (Although I can't imagine having to spray that full 100 gallons.)

(ricc0luke's suggestion of a pressure tank is probably the best – look in a plumbing supply catalogue – these types of tanks are typically used in houses with individual wells and tall buildings. They are made to be pressurized. [For some reason, I think these tanks have an internal rubber bladder that allows them to be pressurized by the well pump – you may be able to pressurize your tank with the venues water pressure.] And consider the pressure of your source of compressed air and the design pressure of your system [that is, assume that the entire system might be pressurized to the source's maximum pressure] – the weak link will be the tank/pipe joint or a valve.)

Again, PVC is not recommended for use with compressed air.

A few more things to consider:

1. You mentioned an electric-powered valve. But be sure to provide a manual shutoff valve, (and in this particular case) a fast closing ball valve to cover electrical failure, but..…

2. Watch out for any water hammer effects with these fast closing valves, although my gut-feeling is that the water velocity in the pipe will be too slow to make a difference.

3. Consider the possibility that the ventilation and drafts at the venue will carry some of the spray onto the court or into the crowd.

4. I suspect that alignment, level-ness, and plumb-ness of the nozzles are crucial to keeping the stream on target, as it were. How you manage to test and proof it off-site will have to be easily and exactly reproducible at the venue. And consider how you will test it at the venue before the show, and provisions for spills from that.

5. Calculate the volume of water you will spray and capture, then figure how much that weighs and how you will get that trough and water off the court. And with consideration of the hardwood floor.

6. Have a contingency for the little spills and for the Big Spill.

7. Another worst-case scenario – where are the lights? Where is the scoreboard? What prevents you from shooting higher than planned?

I don't know about the US but here you can get high pressure rated PVC pipe that is rated for compressed air. There is now a new variety that has a UV resistant coating as well.

The key is not exceeding the pressure that it is rated for.
I don't know any PVC other than maybe PVC electrical conduit that doens't have a pressure rating on it. The trick is finding PVC with a high enough rating. Waterhammer shouldn't be a problem if you are using compressed air...

Now... have you figured out how you are moving a 4 ft wide and how ever long tank on and off the court? You had better be very very careful in the number of castors and the type of caster you use... on a basketball court peunamtic would be the best, but they would never hold the weight... Not peunamtic castors anyway... but you could used wheels like that from a wheelbarrow and then fix 2 on the back end and 2 on the front that turn... like how your wagon as a kid was... That would be alot better to control that much weight with than swivaling castors...

Also, what doors are you using... Have you though about the number of people around during games and if they will be in the areas you need to move though?

And a 3" PVC pipe with 2"6' of water in it? Thats not much... Only 212 cubic inches... Thats less than 2 gallons... Not much to make 2 fountains out of... Keep in mind that not all of the water will leave the tank and pipes... some will stay in them... Yet just that small about of water weighs near 20 pounds, and that doesn't include all the equipment it would take for two small fountains...

How do you plan on concealing the tanks?

How much money do you plan on spending?

This just isn't feasible unless you have one very large budget...

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