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I’m a lot like my old man in that, when left to my own devices, I tend to go off into the shop and emerge with a completed project and not tell anyone until it’s done. So when my maternal unit sent this pic of dad hard at work building his own wind power generator I wasn’t really surprised — I did help set the pole for it.

Of course, Dad said he wanted to put up a wind sock, not a wind generator, but I should have known better when the pipe was way too thick and the hole was three feet deep and a foot in diameter. Then again, I’ve never been a terribly astute child.

Over the holidays I’m going to get the scoop on this project and see what he did to build the thing and what the specs actually are.


5 Responses to It’s Just Cool: Crafty Old Man

  1. DeadGuy says:

    Car alternator – pick a size.
    Car fan – replace metal fins with ones from a ceiling fan kit.
    Connect fan directly or via a belt drive – simple maintenance concern.
    Run juice to converter or battery
    Cover with a plastic garbage can cut to fit – no air holes.
    Use lots of caulk to seal it up tight.
    Swivel mount on a pole.

    You can find directions all over the internet, but it really is this simple. The really hard part is doing the swivel mount and mounting the fan to the alternator. You can us all junk parts or buy new stuff. You can also be fairly creative with the mountings, but make sure the power unit is very, very stable, so it can’t vibrate much in high wind. Also, you only need to mount it on a pole high enough to clear or capture the wind.

  2. jeff says:

    I’ve been thinking about making one of these for sometime using the design from Make: magazine.


  3. Jim K. says:

    Cool! And to think when my dad went down to the “shop” (i.e. corner of the garage) he usually didn’t emerge with a completed project, just an injury requiring medical attention. I’m joking (sort of) he still taught me a ton, just mostly about persistence, patience, and well… first aid.

  4. paganwonder says:

    Ha Ha! First-Aid. Sometimes I get so engrossed in a project I don’t notice the nicks and scrapes until Dinner-time wash-up. Life is good.

  5. Choscura says:

    I’ve seen a design or two lately that uses rare-earth magnets and copper coils on opposing discs. All the designs I’ve seen so far use one magnet disc directly attached to whatever energy source (steam engines, windmills, etc).

    which brings me to the two ideas that I think could make a big difference: first, if a pulley system were to be rigged up that would allow one spin of the props to generate more than one spin of the magnets (or a larger distance of magnet travel, eg, a larger but seperate disc), it seems like very large amounts of power could be made with smaller windmills. the other thing I’d like to see someone try is to put an automatic scooter’s transmission system on the base of one of these and make the props power a drive shaft (keep all the weight at the bottom) so that you could, theoretically, have a very large windmill that’s generating from a very big magnet/coil wheel and is generating a lot of power, and can adjust- automatically, if possible- to the best spin speed for the coil/mag assembly.

    if anybody can make sense of this, give it a go.

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