Making a homemade steam pressure washer is a labor-intensive task. But once completed, it can be used for everything from cleaning second-story windows to clearing snow from a walkway or driveway. The addition of the steam component creates a high temperature environment that helps disinfect surfaces. This makes the washer perfect for use on picnic tables and chairs. Everything you need to build a pressure washer can be found at a local hardware store.
Things You'll Need
- 2-cycle gas engine
- Water pump
- Torx wrench
- 1/4-inch steel tubing
- Jigsaw with metal cutting blade
- Propane soldering set
- Water-based paste flux and brush
- Lead-free plumbing solder
- Drill with metal grade bits and 1/4-inch driver
- 8 lag bolts, 1/4-inch
- 4 ratcheting straps
- 5-gallon metal storage tank
- Rotary tool with cutoff blade
- Immersion heater
- Waterproof epoxy
- Battery dock
- 4 amp-hour SLA battery
- Waterproof electrical cable
- 2 pieces 1/8-by-12-inch brass tubing
- Brass sweeper nozzle
- Needle-nose pliers
- Garden hose
- Water pump hose adapter
Connect your two-cycle motor output shaft to the water pump. There are two torx screws on the water pump that can be secured into the pre-drilled housing of the engine's output shaft.
Construct a rectangular base the length of your 5-gallon tank out of 1/4-inch steel tubing. Use a jigsaw equipped with a metal cutting blade to cut the tubing. The width of the rectangle should be 2 to 4 inches smaller than the diameter of your 5-gallon reservoir tank.
Solder the rectangle with a propane soldering set. The kit should include both a water-based paste flux and brush, and lead-free plumbing solder.
Drill four 1/4-inch holes equidistantly along the length of the frame on both sides. The holes should be drilled directly through the top of the tubing and go all the way through the bottom.
Set one end of each ratcheting strap directly over each 1/4-inch hole on one side of the frame. Secure them in place by threading a lag bolt through each of the holes and tightening them down. Leave the other end of the strap unsecured, as it will be used to hold the reservoir tank in place.
Set the 5-gallon storage tank on a stable surface. Cut an 8-by-8-inch square hole in the side of the tank, with a rotary tool. Do not discard the piece you cut out. It will be soldered back into place after the heater is installed. This will be the top area of the tank once it is completed.
Place the immersion heater into the tank. There is no need to secure the heater, but if you'd like to, you can use a waterproof epoxy on the bottom of the heater. Do not get any epoxy on the heating element. It could cause an internal fire, especially if the tank runs out of water.
Epoxy the battery dock to the tank, just behind the cutout. Secure the 4 amp-hour SLA battery in place, and run waterproof electrical wiring from the positive and negative poles of the battery to the corresponding connections on the immersion heater. The connection on the heater will be in a waterproof housing.
Set the tank horizontally on the steel frame from Section 1, with the opening faceup.
Epoxy the two-cycle engine and water pump to the top of the tank, just in front of the 8-by-8-inch hole.
Drill a 1/8-inch hole on the front of the water reservoir, just above where it contacts the metal frame. Run a section of 1/8-inch brass tubing -- from the hole in the tank to the inlet on the water pump. Solder the tubing to the tank.
Drill two 1/8-inch holes near the back of the tank, behind the battery dock. These venting holes are necessary to prevent a vacuum from being formed in the tank.
Pull the ratcheting straps over the body of the water tank. Place the ends over the four holes in the steel frame.
Secure the straps in place with lag bolts, just as was done with the first side. Ratchet each strap until tight.
Remove the rubber washer from inside the brass sweeper nozzle.
Insert one end of a piece of 1/8-inch brass tubing into the unthreaded end of the sweeper nozzle.
Flare the end of the tube that is on the interior of the nozzle, to create a larger surface to solder. Solder the two pieces together. Replace the rubber washer.
Flatten and pinch the other end of the nozzle, with needle-nose pliers.
Bend the tubing to a 45-degree angle, about 8 inches from the sweeper nozzle.
Connect the sprayer nozzle to one end of the garden hose. Attach the water pump adapter to the end of the garden hose, and then attach it to the pump.
Tips & Warnings
- Brass tubing can be bent by hand. If you are having a hard time bending it, use the propane tank to heat the area you need to bend. Heating the tube will allow it to bend much more easily.
- Venting the water storage tank is extremely important. Not drilling the vent holes can cause a vacuum to form inside the tank -- leading to an implosion.