With back to school season upon us, and the pandemic still a mortal threat, many educators and students face the prospect of returning to physical school buildings right now. Foremost on everyone’s minds are which safety precautions to take to ensure that everyone remains as safe as possible in such an environment. Many educators, unfortunately, are feeling like their schools are not providing the necessary PPE and resources to make return-to-school-buildings as safe as possible, and are purchasing or creating their own.
I recently saw “hands free” or “foot pump” sanitizer stations going viral on social media. When I saw the DIY “foot operated” sanitizer station I thought it was a really cool idea. Even in non-COVID times I’ve always thought it was “icky” that, in my library, hundreds of hands would touch the sanitizer pump each day. Since our school is still on summer break, and since as of just a few days ago we were still scheduled to return in person (that has since changed and we will now start virtual) I decided to challenge myself to see if I could make one for my library.
I figure even if we remain virtual for some time to come this device will come in handy eventually for my library. Not only will it help with hygiene and health precautions, it is also a way for me to show my students about how you can put inquiry, problem solving, and persistence to work to make the things you need!
Below you will find my DIY instructions for how you can make one of these yourself.
**Please note!!!** This Youtube VIDEO is how I learned to make this device. I changed just a few tiny things from how this guy made his, so feel free to use this video to see how the device is made!**
I would rate this a beginner to moderate skill level. I think the average person could create this rather easily though it does require access to some tools that not everyone may have easy access to. If you don’t, or if you are not super comfortable with using tools, I recommend you purchase everything and bring it to your shop teacher (tech-ed) or someone you know who is comfortable, so they can do the small amount of cutting and drilling for you. Places like home depot and lowes will typically do some cutting for you too, so you can always have them cut the PVC pipe for you!
Cost: approximately $45.00 in supplies
Time: 1 -2 hrs, depending on whether you need to do the cutting yourself, whether you paint it, etc
Supplies List Again
- 1 1in diameter PVC pipe (10ft long)
- 1 0.5in diam. PVC pipe (10ft long)
- 1 PVC coupler, 4in x 4in (depending on size of sanitizer bottle you might use 3inx3in)
- 8 PVC 3-way “T” connectors, size 1in x 1in
- 6 PVC 90degree elbow connectors, size 1in x 1in
- 4 PVC 90degree elbow connectors, size 0.5in x 0.5in
- 1 bottle of adhesive, I used gorilla glue gel
- 6 small screws and 4 small machine screws (optional)
- 2 rubber bands (optional)
- 1 4in PVC cap (pictured further down)
- 3 “L” brackets (pictured further down)
- The 1in diameter PVC pipe needs to be cut into:
- 2 pieces that are each 28 inches long
- 1 piece that is 16 inches long
- 6 pieces that are each 2 inches long
- I actually used only 4 that were 2 inches long
- 6 pieces that are each 4 inches long
- I actually ended up needing 8 pieces that were 4 inches long
- The 0.5in diameter PVC pipe needs to be cut into:
- 2 pieces that are 9 inches long
- 2 pieces that are 36 inches long
You can obviously make changes to the process depending on the tools you have access to, but here is what I used:
- Power Drill
- Phillips head drill bit
- twist drill bit
- spade bit (I used this because its what I had but you can use anything you have that can make 1 inch hole cuts!)
- miter saw (I have one so i used it to make my cuts but you could use whatever you have that can cut through PVC. It doesn’t have to be fancy.)
- mallet (you can just use your hands to tap the pipes into the connectors. I liked to give it a gentle tap with the mallet but it is not necessary.)
This video shows the device being built!
This video is my intro video (below). I only filmed the intro part as a video, the rest of the steps are outlined below in text and pictures!
#1 Build the base
First you will only be using the 1 inch diameter PVC, so you can set aside the 0.5 inch PVC and connectors for now.
- Take the 1in diameter PVC that is 16 inches long
- Connect 1in x 1in elbow connectors to each end
- connect 4in long pieces to the elbows
- connect 1in x 1in “T” connector
- connect 4in long pieces to the other side of the “T” connector
- connect elbow pieces to the 4in long’s other end
- connect 2in long pieces to the other side of the elbow
- connect “T” connector to the other side of the 2 in piece
#2 Build up from base
- Connect 4in pieces to the top of the “T” connectors at the center of the base
- Connect elbow pieces to the ends of the 4in pieces
- Connect 4in pieces to the ends of the elbows (**in the original video the guy used 2in pieces but I couldn’t make it work so I used 4in long pieces)
- Connect “T” connectors to the ends of the 2in pieces
- Attach the 28in long pieces to the top of the “T” connectors
- Attach “T” connectors to the top of the 28in long pieces
- Attach 4in pieces to the side of the “T” connectors
- At this point it will look more or less like this
#3 Create the sanitizer holder
This is the hardest part, and i encourage you to think creatively here. If you can think of a better way or easier way to do this, feel free to make any changes you need to. It was a a bit of a challenge cutting the two 1 inch holes in the canister.
Supplies for the sanitizer holder
- 1 4inch x 4inch PVC coupler
- 1 4inch PVC cap
- 3 “L” brackets
- 6 machine screws
- 2 1in caps (optional)
Instructions for sanitizer holder
- Mark the place where you need to drill the 1inch holes
- Drill the holes
- Screw the “L” brackets on to attach the cap as the bottom
- I didn’t like how much the canister slid around on these guys so I added caps to the end.
- I bought two 1in caps and then trimmed them to be much shorter. Then added them to the ends.
#4 Build the “pump” part
Now it is time to use the 0.5in PVC pieces! The good news is that this part is super easy!
- Connect 0.5in diameter elbow pieces to the top of each 36in long 0.5 PVC pipe
- Connect one 9in long 0.5 PVC pipe to the elbow connectors
- Slide the 36in long pieces inside the 28in long 1in pieces from earlier!
- Place your sanitizer bottle in the holder and make sure the 9in PVC piece lies across the sanitizer pump top. Make sure the bottom of the 36in long pieces are dangling a few inches off the floor at this point!!**
- Okay remove the sanitizer bottle from the holder and attach the last two 0.5 elbow connectors to the bottom of the 36in long pieces and attach the final 9in piece between them.
#5 OPTIONAL* Add tension to the pump
Ok so this step is optional because you may notice that the pump works just fine now! But I didn’t like how the weight of the PVC was causing a slight leak from the sanitizer bottle, so I decided to add tension using rubber bands. Here’s how I did that.
- Drill small holes at the bottom on the elbow joints and the “T” connectors. Then screw some machine screws in
- Attach rubber bands to the machine screws
- Voila! It acts as a sort of spring!
I also added a cradle to the sanitizer holder because my bottle was moving around too much. I just took an old piece of foam and cut it to mold around the bottle so it would keep it in the position it needs to be in.
The last step was to paint it!