WindTapper's Journal - Grassroots Green Energy Projects

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts

"Manhattan" the TV Series on WGN
"Will" on TNT is "Spot On"
Trump - Jackson Debate
Piliated Pear Tree


Algae CO2 Reduction
Art and Advertising
CO2 Reduction (see also Algae)
Dear Diary
Designing Prototypes
Electrical Matters
Howard Johnson's Magnetism
Investment in Windpower Devices/Parts
Library Research
Manufacturing Protocols
Serendipitous Art Reviews
Static Electrcity
Strength of Materials
Triboelectric generation
Website Design


August 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010

WindTapper's Blog

August 2012

Thoughts on Noise Pollution

When I simulated the rotor spinning against the inside of my 10 inch crock yesterday, I got a noisy vibration in both elements -- the crock and the rotor -- like a noisy automobile brake. Noise pollution is a major drawback to windmills, a pollution I had not yet produced during my whirligig testing. I do not like producing noise perhaps as much as I would not like to produce asbestos dust pollution by installing an actual standard type of braking system on my electric generator.

Of course I could use rubber between the rotor and the housing sides, but eventually rubber would break down; be worn away. Maybe fiberglass impregnated with Boric Acid and sugar, to fight off ants?

So anyway, I am considering rethinking the generator design, that is, rethinking the amount of electricity I produce per second. If I lower the rate of production -- per second -- then I might not need a braking system during storms, or switching circuits. Reducing number of turns of wire and or number of magnets on each rotor also reduces monetary layouts for the generator.

Low wind speed would still produce electricity and high wind speed would not burn out the system, and hopefully not create raspy-braking noises either. This policy would take my generators out of the running for producing house current, yet leave them capable of powering yard lights and perhaps emergency circuitry to, say, a refrigerator-freezer and some LED lights at night, or maybe recharging an electric car at night?

A recent email advertisement from Grainger showed a list of Electricity Switchers for Generators -- a very interesting list, btw. These switchers are over $1000, and sometimes over $2000 apiece. I think I had better concentrate on the lower end voltages....

Generator Housing Ideas

I worked most of today on my ideas for designing a generator housing although I have nothing to show for it besides this entry. I spent plenty of time last evening trying to work through the steps to installing said housing along with the central rotor and armature coils. I found that using three legs is not going to cut it.

To install said housing, I have literally too few legs to stand on while leaving at least one third open so that I can install the coil disks. So, I am working on having more legs -- either temporary or permanent extra legs. The legs, if permanent, need to be beveled so that air will naturally dry them, to prevent ants from setting up camp on them with their little ones.

The whole housing has shrunk because of the ant problem from being a solid cylinder sitting on the ground to having legs and air spaces to dry out the baby critters that ants keep looking for places to set.

From what I have seen of ant farms on TV, it is not light that the ants absolutely must protect their eggs from, but from drying out.

I also must have multiple pieces so that I and anyone trying to build this device can have access to the inside for installing the disks, central pole, and magnet rotors.

I feel that soon I must begin to build a model because the curves connecting the disk housing pieces to the legs are too difficult to either draw or imagine without a 3-D model to play with. I have some play dough for the positive, but I also need to imagine how to build the negative or actual mold. My mind's eye is still grappling with the thickness of the legs, particularly making them sturdy while still providing enough air spaces among them.

By the way, I watched Eagle Eye tonight on Fox. It was very worth watching even though it had several features in common with several other movies. Those features were shuffled differently, however, and it was a real exciting movie.

Aluminum Screen

OK. My next idea is to impregnate the inside surface of the cement generator housing with aluminum screening. This is to help slow the rotors down in storms with a metal that is less likely to create sparks. Also this could prevent the scoring of the surface of the cement, avoiding the creation of a weakness in the cement.

Perhaps I could think of a way to add more screening if I needed to reduce the diameter to cause more braking. I wonder whether plaster would stick to cement? The other reason for adding aluminum screening after the generator has been through several storms, is because the screening could get worn down over time.

Some sort of flexible aluminum grid -- flexible so that it would bend around the curve, but I think that the grid should be heavier than yer average screen door uses.

Again, on the other hand: Later Note: roof flashing comes mainly in aluminum, so I think that the best plan is to add another shelf or lip to the inside of the generator housing to hold a sheet of flashing up to where the magnet rotors could hit it. If it needs to be smaller diameter, then I could add padding behind the flashing -- say, fiberglass -- to enhance the braking feature.

Even though I will be stabilizing the turning radius at the bottom of the center pole, the top will still have some play, besides all the force of the wind blowing the center pole sideways all along its length.

And Oh By The Way, my readership has just plummeted to almost zero. I wonder what happened? Can school starting be the culprit, or has some search engine dropped me? Is Vistaprint now reporting the real number of hits rather than -- I suspect -- padding the number so as to keep me as a customer?

On The Other Hand

Tamping down excess voltage produced during storms, either by bleeding off the excess and thus losing it, or by switching to parallel from series feeds, might not be necessary after all. Depending on the diameter of the inside of the generator housing versus the amount of sway in the central pole, I should get a natural braking from the edges of the rotors rubbing against the inside of the generator housing.

Stopping this rubbing from creating sparks might suggest that I use a rubber liner on the inside of the housing, but rubber will wear down. I wonder what the alternative to asbestos is? All brakes have this overheating foible, which they solve through the use of asbestos.

I will have to think on this a while. [Later note: aluminum, that is, soft metal sides seems to present an alternative to asbestos -- at least in my addled imagination, lol.]

I also need to bend the handle of the dog chain anchor screw so that there will be less side-to-side motion at the base of the pole than my design currently has. Currently I have at least a six inch diameter's worth of play. (Still, the coil needs only be four inches in diameter to capture most of the flux since the play is cut in half with magnets on both sides of the rotor -- all around the rotor.) The handle is a triangle with one side level on top. I need to bend this down so that only one of the corners is on top. This will cause the handle's functioning to change. I hope I can adapt to the sideways handle if I need to remove and reposition the screw.

So anyway, what I am saying is that currently, when the wind blows hard, the whirligig is pushed laterally and that would make the rotors rub against the inside of the generator housing that I am currently designing to be made from cement. The rotors are Teflon coated but the Teflon would eventually wear off and sparks might be created in a highly buffeting (gusting) wind.

Cement, on the other hand, will tolerate whatever heat is produced by the rubbing of the rotors inside of the housing, but I am not so sure about sparks landing on the resin impregnated coil disk with whatever debris might have gathered on top of the disks. Then there are locations such as under a pine tree where pine needles lie that might produce a fire hazard from sparks flying. Dried leaves are a fire hazard, too. I guess pine needles ARE leaves.

Still Cogitating

I don't know why, but I think another idea is preferable to the switching from series to parallel current output that I wrote about in the previous entry to this blog. Consider the idea that normal operation is at low RPM's, at say, windspeeds of 2 or 3 mph. So, normal operation would naturally include a voltage booster to get up to at least 14 volts.

Then the way to control high voltage is to switch the booster off at some point, say at 18, 20, or 22 volts. This entails another diversion of current, around the booster apparatus.

Circuitry needs housing, so these ideas tell me I need to plan for housing circuitry. I should build in an upside down cup that has a hole to thread wires from the generator coils. These cups and holes can be added to the outside of the generator housing that I am working on casting from cement.

Also, since I have a hillside on which to place two generators (on a swingset frame), I could cast one leg of each generator housing shorter to accommodate the incline.

I could also incorporate low voltage LED lights to let me know which parts of the circuits are operating at all times.

Day Dreams

So there I was after watching this week's Stargate Universe on This, cogitating on my electricity generator design, when a picture came to mind of three magnet rotors with two coil disks among them, plus two disks -- one each on top and bottom of the stack.

What I was daydreaming about was a wish list of how to control output so that storms won't burn out the system due to high winds. My daydream included a electronic switch allowing low voltage current to flow in series, while high voltage would switch to parallel output of current.

Perhaps having only the two disks among the three magnet rotors would be the most cost effective, forgoing the squeezing out of every last little bit of electricity by setting up the top and bottom disks that would have much less magnetic flux passing through them than the disks among the three rotors.

Another means of reducing output while preserving the high output of storm velocities would be to have an extra battery available to bleed off half the output, but that seems to me to be an expensive option.

I must study batteries more. I have seen a lot of possible set-ups, but perhaps I have not yet absorbed and fully understood the different capabilities of parallel versus series configurations of batteries.

Baby Steps

As infants play with blocks on their floors, I also toy with shapes every which way, trying to learn which pieces and where those pieces are placed will approximate the shapes I need to formulate a mold for the generator housing I am trying to construct.

Just to document at least part of this project I took a couple pictures:

This one shows a bit of the marking into thirds process. I used an old hanging basket flower pot that is too fragile to use any more as a pot.

The two Main Stay flower pot holders are a burnt orange color, and the inside of an angel food cake pan sticks up inside the 10 inch ring. The 10 inch crock has straight sides, which is why I purchased it. I am trying to fashion a housing with a curved top.

Now, what we are looking at here is a start for making the inside surface of the housing. It needs to have three indentations to hold three disks that will have coils impregnated by resin. At the center, inside, will be a plastic pole rotated by wind power that has two of the angel food cake pan insides with magnets on them.

I noticed, as I was toying with the pots, that I could stack the pots with their rims apart if I were to put some impediment to keep them apart. Here I have two, but I should have three where their rims provide bases for making the three indentations to hold the coil disks.

The impediment in this case is the larger of the two Main Stays pot holders. I am currently measuring to see whether I could get a third rim between these two and still have enough room -- but not too much -- for the rotating angel food cake pan innards with magnets.

Alternative Supplier

I was not able to get the supplier on the phone today, of whom I wrote in my last entry to this blog, so I went to Dollar General, and I found some really nice plastic pots having wonderfully tapered sides. A lot of other, smaller plastic containers were also available for mixing small batches of cement, so I do not really need the folks I wrote about yesterday.

In addition to having a sort of dyslexia about inner and outer surfaces when thinking of building a mold, I have also run into another kind of dyslexia, specifically regarding the top and bottom of the item I am trying to cast. However, I will work it out eventually.

Some pots at Dollar General have an almost rubbery and certainly tougher quality to their plastic pots. They also had some very large, tapered pots for 10 bucks apiece, which might suffice for the outside surface of my generator housing, but again, only if I use them upside down. This would require that I remove the bottom in order to have access to the cavity when filling it with cement.

And, I almost need to cast all three pieces simultaneously so that the center won't be pushed over to the opposite side. I can't mix that much cement all at one time without having a cement mixer, although, I believe small cement mixers are rentable.

Another plastic thing I have considered from Dollar General are these little infant chairs. I bought one because it is so cheap. It has four legs and presents a low platform for working on. I would have to cut a hole in its center to use it as a platform with legs for a half-sized generator, but it might be worth a try as an interim step to developing the full-sized generator housing.


While my shower tile grouting project proceeds ever so slowly, I take occasional breaks to work on imagining how I could cast the legs for a generator housing. I had trouble with getting everything straight in my brain regarding the insides and outsides of forms I had been trying out.

I think I made a breakthrough on that and thus started seeing better possibilities for forms I might use. Coincidentally, after a conversation with a fellow who used to cast plastic and/or rubber items in a factory, and my telling him how I used to work at such a factory at Middlefield Ohio, the latest item which I actually started marking up turns out to have been manufactured in Middlefield.

A ten inch plastic hanging flower pot has a nice angle I might use for the top of the generator housing. I found a website after Googling "Dillen Products" for which has a locator function. Apparently there is an outlet not too awfully far away from here where I might purchase 16 and 14 inch pots, or two others I saw on their site after using "hanging pots" as a search term on their site.

So anyway, I finally divided my round form into thirds, using a nine hole Mainstay flower pot ring as a guide -- with modifications -- at least dividing it up graphically so that I can better imagine the damage I will be doing to it, lol.

The ten inch pot makes the inside of the housing. Now I have to search for an outside. I daresay I need the outside to be at least four inches greater diameter so that I will have at least two inch thick cement all 'round.

Mold Making

On our slim budget we do not make molds out of metal. I am trying to devise a form for casting metal "legs" to hold three resin-impregnated coil disks for an electric generator powered by the wind. One plastic material demonstrated to use with cement casting is at Lowe's. You can see several patterns at . A fellow I met yesterday while looking at the material said he used to work in a manufacturing plant and made molds for casting pastics -- or rubber. Anyway, I think he said they used polystyrene to make the molds.

Nearby the Walk Maker mold -- not too far away at least -- at Lowes, was a Centrex All Purpose Tough Tub, pictured below, that seems to have the proper material, at least, for casting cement. It is quite sturdy, smooth, and non-absorbent. (These were in the very first/last aisle -- near all the lumber and building materials.)

The price is right, too. Plus it has curved ends. I mean, the sides of the ends are curved.

I am seriously considering beginning by cutting this tub/material into quarters. The idea is to use the curved end quarters ultimately to form the tops of three or four legs. I need the curve to make rain run off the top of this infrastructure that I am trying to create.

My biggest problem is that the corners are designed for a rectangle rather than the three-piece rig I had envisioned.

I still might go for a three-legged rig, if that looks at all possible, however. I will be putting the outside of the angel food cake pan down into one corner, marked for a three piece rig, and see if it would be possible to still go in that direction. Then I will try to extend the leg form up in one corner. The idea is to make a piece that is identical to the other pieces/legs, so that I have only one mold to create instead of two or more.

In any case, if I cut the tub into quarters I can then overlap the sides and bottom to give a four-sided container that I could strap together with Gorilla tape to hold the cement, with the cake pan holding back the cement at the center for the center hole. I will have to strap flexible material around the cake pan to make the grooves for installing the armature disks....

I wonder what would fit that bill? Oh yes. I have Wacky Noodles. I could cut one of those down to have a square profile, yet be long and flexible. I would have to cover it with non-absorbent material such as packing tape so the cement wouldn't stick to it, too. It might be too big around, however. Well. Cutting it into halves would be easy enough....

This project will have to wait a while since I discovered I must re-grout one of our showers. However, I continue to have my mind working on the wind powered generator, even while working elsewhere.

Further Revisions to Generator "Legs"

After much thought on how to place holes in the cement where pins could hold up disks or provide channels for spikes for attaching the three legs to the ground, I am going in a different direction now. Mini-shelves and or grooves or slots in the cement legs could provide support for the three resin-impregnated coil disks, plus guides for ties to stakes in the ground.

I continually recall how much readjustment is required when installing the central connectors for the whirligigs, so I must make the legs adjustable. Hinges at their bottoms would allow for the central pole and its attendant apparatus to be serviced while also keeping the leg positions fixed with respect to their relationship to the central pole when the generator is actually producing electricity.

Anyway, adding cement to the design adds weight to the infrastructure which is a good thing -- making it sturdier and less inclined to blow away in the wind, lol. Also, making holes introduces weakness, both inherently structural weakness, and a place for water to get inside the structure where ice could form.

I had toyed with the idea of introducing plastic straws into the cement to make holes, but this never made the idea of stirring the cement prior to curing the cement readily doable. With mini shelves I just have to get the stirred wet cement to fill the cavities in the mold which create added width or a groove in the legs at certain points.

I have not yet pinned down the actual dimensions. I am still working of figuring out what material from which to make the positive model for making the casting mold for the cement legs.

Oh yes. The political season is upon us. Watching Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopolus I was struck by how many times I thought of Republican rhetoricians as liars. A deputy for the Obama campaign finally showed me how to respond more clearly, rather than always wanting to shout "Liar, liar. Pants on fire!" One phrase she used, referring to Republican speakers: "You need to be honest with the American people about ...."

I find Republican rhetoric disgusting when it implies the opposite of the truth as well as when it mimics what Dems are saying.

Current Quandaries

Design World (online newsletter) sent a lovely link to Protomold's Proto Lab "Design Tips" eight volume set of PDF files that open up a world for me I never knew. Proto Lab will make you a mold and/or plastic parts with a minimum order under $1500. I thought the prices were much higher for entry into that technology, and the Design Tips are an education in themselves.

Quandary One:  However, the links invite viewers to download the eight volumes but I cannot save volumes 2 or 3. I spent much time trying to save the others and finally got them, but 2 and 3 still elude me, much to my dismay.

Quandary Two: The last day or so I am stuck on the problem of designing a way to attach the feet of my generator "legs" to the ground. At some point I will have to experiment with casting cement with holes in it that are placed so I can insert metal attachments for connecting parts to each other and to the ground.

Quandary Three: Today I made my first foray into fiberglass resin technology. I had read online about using fiberglass to patch small boats, so my current project is weatherproofing our deck's rather wide wooden banisters which are currently cracked or split on their surfaces. There is also a floor board with a small rotten spot I am considering trying to patch this way.

I am not sure if I used too much hardener with my first experiment because the mixture hardened too fast for me to spread it all the way across. Although, I fear that I must apply smaller patches than what I was attempting, first time out. The fiberglass resin hardened so quickly that I never got the fiberglass fabric layer applied, but since I didn't get all the way across the area with the first layer of resin, I still have an opportunity to continue this project tomorrow. I stopped today to go to a movie, btw.

The Weather Channel had us having several days of dry weather, which is why I decided to tackle this outside project starting today, not knowing how much time I needed to let the fiberglass dry, previously.

I am still investigating as many different resins as I can find, which is another topic covered by more Proto Labs literature. I copied another document from them on that topic. I am still looking for a resin that you can pour from a can as I have seen in YouTube videos for making windmill electricity generator coil holders. The automotive Bondo type I used today is too thick and must be mixed with hardener with a putty knife prior to application.

Dear Diary

Believe it or not, every day I do a little more work on my design for a structure to hold the coils and rotor of my wind powered electricity generator. First I make a drawing, then I think about how a part cast from cement of that shape would interact with the world and with itself. Then I come up with some proposed improvement, make a new drawing, thus looping through this development process.

It sure beats the hell out of building each idea before revising it -- particularly for cost savings, lol.

I am sorry now for your sake that I have an eraser because some of the steps in the development process are now lost, therefore. Also, I debate with myself over whether or not to post my designs on this website, and I keep coming back to the fact that I do not have enough money to apply for a Patent. $25,000 is the last quote for a minimum cost to apply for a Patent.

My goal is not to become rich, but rather, to survive -- both for my husband and myself, as well as for the human race. By posting my designs -- I have learned from somewhere -- I forfeit rights to Patent claims on these designs. I sure hope this does NOT give anybody else the right to claim Patent protection on my designs. That would make no sense.

So anyway, the other topic I wish to report here is that I am currently also mulling over the idea of testing algae CO2 absorption apparatus to help me heat our greenhouse. I will be adding another Subject at the bottom left of this Blog Webpage: "Algae CO2 Reduction."

AND ANOTHER THING! Mitt Romney was reported to say that you can't put a windmill on a car -- or some such -- meaning that you can't power a car with a windmill. POPPYCOCK! Electric cars now exist and windmills make electricity. Where is Romney's brain? Has he never heard of batteries?

Greenhouse Alteration

Because the plastic-fabric shell of the greenhouse that I purchased at Lowe's is actually too small for zipping up the two end doors, I have considered many ways of fixing the problem. I finally decided to shorten the six crossbars on the roof by two inches each. Since they are on an angle, the overall width of the greenhouse will not be lessened by 4 inches, but rather, by less than 4 inches.

I think that two inches less width would have been a sufficient resizing so that I could then close the two end doors, but I do not exactly remember the formulas for triangle sides versus heights. The six two inch metal pieces I will receive as a result of this modification could help to strengthen the center pole pieces on my wind turbine electric generators. Those center poles are slated to be made from PVC reinforced by collars where stress will threaten their integrity. I hope the six metal pieces will help.

I had considered doing a sewing alteration on the fabric, but I believe this plan is easier and more sure to succeed. There are plenty of pictures of the greenhouse frame in earlier entries.

I am also considering hanging baskets from the frame, filled with Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, although I fear our five Black Walnut trees will interfere with this plan. However, I am looking forward to having an airy place to work on my resin casting, plus a sunny, outside room this winter, so I hope to put the shell back up once I have cut the six cross members shorter.

Later Notes (8/14/12): I cut three of the six cross members so far. This cutting is easier than I had feared. I cut off only one inch, though, instead of two, because I measured the length of the base of the right triangle produced by a two inch hypotenuse, using the pitch of the roof, and the base wasn't much less than 2 inches. So anyway, I figure to get approximately 1 and 1/2 inches extra across the ends of the greenhouse fabric this way.

I did not want to have too much excess fabric for fear the extra would create too much wind drag in a storm. The lengths of the cross members before cutting was a consistent 89.3 cm, btw, which is approximately 2 feet 11+ inches.

I still have to find some files to get rid of burrs before I can put the members back into the roof.

BTW, the one inch cut pieces are a tiny bit too small for the Chicago Metallic angel food cake pan innards to rest upon exactly properly. Perhaps I could enlarge the one inch pieces by coating them with rubber paint, or maybe putting a washer on top of them....

Generator Drawing w/o CAD

Although I had written that I was done with trying to come up with an original design for my magnet rotor and coil configuration, I continued to get ideas. Preliminary testing on my latest idea, which involved an array of magnets to be turned by a turning central set of magnets, turned out to be rather bogus for a couple reasons. And so, I have gone back onto the "straight and narrow" path to building my own generator.

I drew a picture yesterday that is rather schematic, meaning that the proportions are not true to life, but I hope the idea is valid overall.

The set-up is expanded vertically just so that I could show the individual parts. The blue-green central post and disks have the magnets arranged on the disks. The pink disks would have coils embedded in resin. The dark purple outer shell is actually designated to have three feet with upright pillars and a top to keep out the rain and snow. I am not yet sure what materials to use for this infrastructure. I suppose aluminum would work, but cement was my original plan.

Above the generator, attached to the central pole, are the turbine blades made from quartered gallon plastic water jugs. The pink disks are stationary while the blue-green, magnet laden disks should rotate due to the wind power provided through the blue-green shaft at the center, anchored and hung from fishing swivels.

The three blue-green disks are the innards of three angel food cake pans, mounted on a variable diameter central pole. The top disk is for sending precipitation away from the central pole.

Oh yes. I plan for three foot-pillars around the outside so that light will keep ants from feeling too comfortable inside the generator structure while looking for a place to build nests for their babies.

I am now trying to figure out how to cast the pink and dark purple parts, but I am again considering a novel approach to coils. Specifically, I might experiment with paint and aluminum wire embedded in fiberglass resin for the removable pink disks. That is the nice thing about this design in that I can experiment with the coil disks and with the magnets and their placement(s).

Later Notes (8/14/12): Currently I am considering whether to make the top of the dark purple sides solid so as to deflect precipitation away from the generator, although, the sides will stay open. Keeping ants from making nests is a worthy cause, btw.

Perhaps having holey tops and bottoms would be OK if I angle the top of the top pink layer for water to run off.... Angling all three pink disks that way would seem best, although that could cut down the amount of electricity since the blue-green disks are flat. Sorry my drawing leads one to believe the blue-green disks are angled. Perhaps they should be angled, though, to aid water run-off.

I simply do not have access to a better disk-to-pole connection than the angel food cake pan innards provide.

Hmm. With three legs I would have a natural platform to hold each of the three phases of electricity separately -- if there were some advantage to that.
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint