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_ Day 9
I positioned the blades & secured them on the motor cover with a nut, next was getting the blades at the correct angle to each other. Together with a bevel gauge & some trial & error I tapped the blades around until all 3 angles were the same, I’m thinking I could have used a bit more science here but this method worked ok (I couldn’t find a protractor).
I then drilled four 6mm holes to fix the blades to each other to stop them moving relative to each other. I wanted to drill only 3 holes so the balance wasn’t affected but it wasn’t possible, I could have actually got away with just 2 holes but in the end I went with 4, overkill but it looked better.
I used M6 x 20 bolts & bolted the blades together, now I can remove the blades at any time in the future & be sure they will go back at the correct angle each time.
It’s important to add here that I’ve used fixings that I had in the workshop, if I’m happy with the finished design I will replace them with stainless steel & nyloc nuts. Even though this is just a prototype I still used spring or shake proof washers & nyloc nuts if I had them, the main thing was rusting over time.
I spent the rest of the day taking what I’ve already assembled & greasing the bearings & tightening fixings, I also added a few self tapping screws through the downpipe into the plastic bearing housing, probably not necessary as the fit was really tight but it was the right thing to do.
I was going to mount the horizontal 2x8 timber onto the adjustable scaffold leg today but I had assumed that the scaffold leg was hollow which would allow for the cable to come up the middle.
Well the dam thing wasn’t hollow, I don’t know how I could have missed this but I did. Now I’m not too sure how to mount the timber & still have it turn & have a cable going down into the pipe.
I had a look at one of the scaffold coupling & I maybe able to cobble something up with that but it’s not what I had wanted.
After lunch I had lots of ideas going through my head, I’m going to pop into a place that sells what I use to call Key Clamp but this place calls it MasterKlamp, anyway they make fittings for scaffold tubing.
Great news, they had exactly what I needed & I’m back in business, I may still be able to get this thing up & mounted today, more on the coupling later.
Back to work now, I mounted the 3 downpipe brackets to the timber along with the downpipe containing the bearing, shaft & motor. I used wood screws straight into the timber.
Now for the wind vane thing that keeps it pointing into the wind, I decided to make this out of one of the sides of the washing machine, I marked the design out on the side wall, I used a side that had a stamped impression that gave it slightly more strength compared to a side that was just flat.
I made the vane fairly large, only because it was easier to reduce the size later than add bits on. When it is installed if it turns too often then I can reduce the size. Due to not opting for a proper bearing then I could see that it could take a bit more wind pressure to turn the unit so this is another plus for going with the large vane.
Anyway, I cut the shape out with the jigsaw, I made a lot of noise doing this, I tried different ways of reducing the noise but in the end I just went for it. There was no way I was going back to the manual hacksaw.
I left a bit extra at the front & back of the vane which I bent over so it gave it a bit more strength & made the sides a bit smoother. The top & bottom I just filed to remove the sharp edge.
I bolted the vane to a piece of cheap angled steel, the type that shelving is sometimes made from with lots of holes in it. It was easy to work with but it doesn’t have a lot of strength, it will not snap but I think the vane will wobble when it’s windy. If so then it’s easy enough to change.
I screwed the angled steel to the wood so the vane lined up with the motor, which meant that the angled steel was offset to one side slightly, I used wood screws here.
As for how far back to mount the vane, I wish I could say that I crunched some figures & calculated the distance, but what I actually did was put it as far back as I dared before the angled steel became too wobbly. If the thing turns too frequently then I can always bring it in a bit later.
It’s starting to look good now. I found the centre of gravity by rolling the timber (with the turbine fully assembled) on a spare piece of pipe, so it looked like a see saw, & then marked it. This is where I want to put the bracket to connect to the vertical scaffold pipe. Getting this right means that it should turn easier & put less strain on things generally.
I bolted the new coupling on, the bolts come out either side of the downpipe, just about perfect.
Next I mounted it on a short piece of pole & secured that to my trailer in the driveway & hastily connected the blade assembly before it got too dark.
Success, it’s eventually mounted & I think it looks great, it looks much bigger & robust than I had thought it would.