posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 12:21 PM
Years ago, when living on a small island in the Caribbean, we had a very simple, yet efficient, home made wind generator. It was based on the childs
toy pinwheel design.
It was made from two pieces of metal tubing or light weight pipe welded together to form an X. Ours was about one meter (or three feet) wide. Between
the arms of the X we attached bits of sail cloth to match the design of a Pin Wheel. The X was then directly attached to an old VW Alternator. No
belts, just directly attached to the shaft. The wind blew, the pinwheel spun, and the alternator cranked out juice which we stored in batteries. It
ran all the lights we needed.
Total cost to build was FREE, as the materials were found as scrap. You can get an alternator from a junk yard these days very cheap, and alternators
are specifically designed to charge car batteries so the output is perfect. For pipe, use Electrical Metal Conduit about as thick as a finger or
thumb. EMT is good as it is strong but has thin walls so it is light weight and easy to work with. For the Sail Cloth, those blue tarps found all over
the world are perfect. Perhaps you can find an old torn one for free online or at a lumber yard.
It is very easy to build in a short time. With planning and the materials at hand, you could get one up an running in a leisure Sunday afternoon.
While I prefer the "egg beater" verticle design you are working on, the pinwheel is probably the easiest one to make.
As for your project, Cardboard might not be the best choice for making a form. If you can get your hands on some of that rigid foam insulation used in
housing. The Pink or Blue panels. You can cut the blade sections out of that. Glue them together in a stack, and then hand shape them to smooth out
the steps. Finish it with an epoxy coating and you have the perfect mold for a fiberglass pull off. Foam is a very common material for making molds
out of and is very easy to work with. You can cut it with a kitchen knife, or make yourself a 'hot knife' from a bit of steel wire and a variable
transformer. Shaping can be done with a sureform or coarse sandpaper. From start to finish with the mold, you could do it in one day or two perhaps.
You could also even choose to leave the foam intact inside the blade as it would add strength with very little weight. This would have the advantage
as then your fiberglass layer could be thinner for an additional reduction in weight. It is also less time consuming and demanding than trying to
perfect a wire mesh form. For testing purposes, you could skip the fiber glass layer and set up the blade to check for wind spin without the motor
Just a thought. Good luck on your project and keep us posted.