Make your own miniature dam wall with this comprehensive tutorial

Do you want to build your own dam? Follow this guide to find out how.

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Dams are great structures, but they are a significant investment in money, time, labor and materials. For most people, this means that you could never dream of owning your own.

However, as it turns out, you can actually made a tiny one in just a few days. Follow this guide to find out how.

Source: General Construction / YouTube

As you can imagine, you will need some tools and materials before you start.

Necessary materials and equipment

With all your equipment in hand, now is the time to actually get stuck.

Step 1: Prepare the ground and create the frame of the dam

Once you find a nice place in your garden for this great project, the first step is to break up the land. Dig a trench if a suitable natural element is not available, and then dig a trench to the size of the thickness of the dam you want to build.

After doing this, take several lengths of c-shaped steel pipe or similar and stack them in the ground. This will determine the main gateway in the center of the dam.

Make your own frame for a mini dam
Source: General Construction / YouTube

Then take some steel wire and build the main frame for the shape of the dam in the trench and the walls of the trench. This should form a type of cage that will be used to build the main walls of the dam.

This is essentially the same process, but in miniature, it happens when real steel frame dams are built, interesting enough.

When the frame is complete, cut some formwork from scrap materials (wood, metal or whatever you have on hand) and remove the frame as shown below. The formwork will be removed, so keep it in place with a few temporary piles.

DIY mini dam formwork
Source: General Construction / YouTube

Step 2: Pour the concrete

With the finished shape of the frame, you can mix your concrete if necessary. When you are ready, pour the concrete mixture into the frame / shape of the dam. While pouring the concrete into the mold, be sure to periodically stir it into the mold so that it fills it completely.

When filling the form, make sure you level the top of the concrete, if necessary.

Make your own mini concrete dam
Source: General Construction / YouTube

Allow the concrete to harden completely and then remove any and all formwork elements from the dam structure to expose the base concrete.

Then add a piece of wood or similar material to form a temporary bridge between the two main walls of the dam. Hold the piece in place, using bricks or other materials, so that it is level with the tops of the dam.

Once you are done, place a length of steel wire frame along the entire length of the top of the dam. You can use a pre-made frame or make your own, as you did for the main shape of the dam.

Add a few small lengths of sheet metal across the dam’s sluice bridge and just opposite the sluice to act as more formwork to prevent the concrete from spilling over the edge.

Diy mini dam top
Source: General Construction / YouTube

If you wish, you can also make a scaly fence that runs on both sides of the “roadway” of the dam. Place them in place on both sides of the top of the dam, if necessary.

Once everything is ready, mix some more concrete and pour it on the “roadway” of the dam. As before, move the concrete and level it to remove air gaps in the concrete before it dries completely.

Step 3: Complete the miniature dam

Once all the concrete is completely hardened, remove all other sacrificial formwork from the structure. You can also remove the supporting structure under the dam bridge.

After doing this, drill a pair of holes at the top of both sides of the gateway rails. Then bend a little steel wire to make a crank-like assembly that will be used to winch the sluice.

Then cut a sheet of wood or steel to the size needed to fit between the sluice rails and completely cover the hole in the dam walls. Drill a hole in the middle of the top side of the gate and tie a long string through it.

gateway for a mini dam
Source: General Construction / YouTube

After doing this, place the sluice between the rails, pass the winch handle through the holes in the upper part of the rails and tie / glue / drive the free end of the sluice cord to the body of the winch.

When finished, test the operation of the sluice by winding the winch. The gate should rise gradually as you turn the handle.

Do your own test on a mini dam winch
Source: General Construction / YouTube

At this point, your DIY mini dam is complete. You can now flood the side of the dam reservoir in preparation for testing. If all goes according to plan, the dam should hold most, if not all, of the water without any problems.

Then your mini dam is ready! Congratulations gateway.

If you liked this interesting project, maybe you will be interested in another miniature construction based on a dam? How about, for example, actually doing a mini dam generates some power?

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