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Dolphin Fountain

After making sculptures out of tube for several years, it occurred to me that I could pump water, etc. through the them. These images show the progression from a sculpture in Copper wire, to successively more complex prototypes in Copper and stainless steel tube, and finally some renderings of what half-size and full-size fountains might look like.


This is my first prototype, It is about 30 cm long, and made from 3 mm diameter copper wire


This was my first functional prototype, made from 3/8" (outside diameter) Copper tube. It was designed to be hooked-up to a garden hose.


This was my first piece made from stainless steel. I TIG welded all of the joints, and turned the nozzles in brass. I tried 8 pumps before I found one with the right balance of head/pressure, and flow!


Here is the same pump from the previous image (TIG welded in 1/4" stainless steel tube) done-up with a stand that I welded from 1" square steel tube.


Here is a schematic diagram of a full-scale version of the fountain.


Here is a somewhat stylized diagram of the surface-layer of a dolphin's muscles. I used this as the basis for my composition. Reference material on dolphin musculature was not to be found on the web, so a hydrographer customer put me in touch with one of the world's preeminent dolphin anatomists, who shared literature, and consulted with me.


This was my second stainless-steel prototype. This time I used 3.8" tube, and I included a secondary set of water jets which squirted up from the pool.


I used to cart this fountain around to every craft show I did.


This is a computer rendering of what a full-sized fountain might look like.


Here's a photo of the plumbing of my second stainless steel fountain


Here's a rendering of the computer model of my second prototype.


Here's a rendering of my second prototype in which you can clearly see the plumbing for the secondary set of nozzles, which create an ambient spray around the dolphin.


Half-scale fountain rendering


Half-scale dolphin fountain rendering


Half-scale fountain rendering


Half-scale dolphin fountain rendering


Here is a closeup of the plumbing for a half-scale fountain. I learned that you can arrange pumps in series to achieve greater pressure (head), or you can arrange them in parallel to achieve greater flow.


I got a start on welding the 1/2-scale dolphin fountain from 5/8 inch stainless tube. The 3d stuff is many times as difficult as this (which all lies in one plane), and so I haven't yet gotten to it.


This is a design for a nozzle in which the tubes which support the dolphin and supply it with water would be concealed by the outflowing water jet. I boult a functional prototype, but it was real difficult to keep the outflowing water from pulling back on to the supply tube.


Here is a section view of the nozzle in which the tubes which support the dolphin and supply it with water would be concealed by the outflowing water jet.


Here is a photo of my prototype nozzle, machined by Todd Cahill. The spray from the nozzle formed a perfect cone as expected, but unfortunately, surface tension caused it to pull right back together. All attempts to mitigate this effect by adding features to break-up the stream were unsuccessful.

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