How to build your own mini dam with four locks in your backyard

Like dams? Like concrete? Then this may be the best thing you’ve seen this year.

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If you liked our other video on how to do a miniature dam, then we are confident that this version with four gateways will also tickle your fantasies. Not only does it look like the real thing, but it’s actually pretty easy to build.

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

The first step is to create a trench to accommodate the dam and to create a reservoir for the dam. When finished, mark the position of the dam and dig the floor of the trench and the sides, respectively.

After doing this, dig a few smaller transverse trenches through the main footprint of the dam to mark the position of the sluice gates. Then take a few steel frames and line the bottom of the dam.

Using a few more pieces of steel wire, build the sides of the dam to create a cage frame for the main walls of the dam. Make sure that these parts are well recessed into the walls of the trench.

Make your own frame with four locks
Source: General Construction / YouTube

For the central body of the dam, add piles of steel wire to the ground and build a steel frame around them if necessary. Make sure you leave some space at the base of the dam in accordance with the sluice trenches for the sluice gates.

You will also need to create wire frames for the front supports of the dam.

Step 2: Pour the concrete

Once the frame of the dam is ready, we can prepare it for concreting. Since the frame is open, we will need to add some formwork to ensure that the concrete fills the shape of the dam.

Add pieces to the supports and main sections of the dam if necessary. For the vertical sections of the dam you will need to keep the formwork in place with the help of some temporary piles.

frame formwork with four locks
Source: General Construction / YouTube

You can use everything for this, but make sure the material is strong enough to hold the formwork tightly to the steel frame. With this you can now mix your concrete according to the instructions.

When you are ready, start pouring the concrete mixture in the form of a dam. Periodically tap and stir the concrete to remove any air gaps and fill the mold completely.

After filling the form, make sure to level and smooth the top surface of the concrete.

concrete with four locks
Source: General Construction / YouTube

Allow the concrete to harden.

Step 3: Build the main gateways

As the concrete dries, you can now focus on the construction of the main locks. Take your tubular steel scrap and cut it into a series of lengths slightly longer than the height of the dam. It will need to be large enough to allow the main gateway to move freely in it.

After doing this, cut a groove along the centerline of one edge of each strip to form a rail. Then weld the steel lengths together with grooves, as shown in the video.

When finished, create the gateway frame and weld if necessary. Then measure and cut a pair of locks from a steel sheet. They will have to move freely between the rails.

four sluice dam gates
Source: General Construction / YouTube

Now make the main winch for the lock doors as shown in the video. Weld in place at the top of the gateway frame. Then place the locks and tie them to the winch.

Once you are done, paint the entire installation if necessary.

Step 4: Complete the main dam

Once the concrete is completely hardened, remove all boxes and formwork to expose the base concrete. Clean the sluice holes in the main dam structure, if necessary.

After doing this, take the main gateway and accumulate it in the ground on the side of the reservoir of the dam.

four gates to install a gateway
Source: General Construction / YouTube

After doing this, add some more formwork to the back of the dam to place it in the sluice. When you are ready, pour more concrete and let it harden, thus fixing the sluice in place. You can also add more concrete to the “roadway” of the dam, if necessary.

While the concrete is still relatively flexible, you can also make a set of small railings to line both sides of the roadway. Once you are done, install on site.

Then concrete the underside of the front locks with concrete.

Step 5: Install the gateway drive and complete the project

Once the main dam structure is effectively completed, we can now move on to motorizing the sluice. Install a motor to one end of the gateway winch.

Create a socket to which to mount the engine and mount all parts if necessary. Connect the motor to the power supply and test it. Adjust as needed.

engine with four sluice dams
Source: General Construction / YouTube

Once you are happy, close the sluice gates and flood the side of the reservoir of the dam. Now your dam is finally complete.

Open the sluice gates and watch how the dam works in all its glory.

If you liked this little project, you can enjoy making another interesting one mini dam project? Happy building.

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