Author Topic: MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop  (Read 2352 times)

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MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop
« on: May 23, 2006, 07:17:56 PM »

Packing up the truck!

We made it back alive!  DanF, I and George left here on May 12 to teach a 'Homebrew Wind Turbine' Workshop for the MREA at Mick Sagrillo's shop (Sagrillo Wind and sun, previously Lake Michigan Wind and Sun).  I never broke out my camera while we were there, but along the way we stopped by TomW's for a night.  It was a pleasure to see him, meet his wife and get the tour of their really neat home in a remote place in Northern Iowa.  It was 900 miles from here to there so it was really nice to have a place to stop and an excellent supper!  Thank you very much to Tom and Amy, we really enjoyed the visit!

The workshop was over on May 21 and we got back this morning.  It was nice to see the dogs made good use of the shop while we were gone!

Following are way too many pictures of the workshop - I apologize for those folks on dial ups

Micks place is a bit over 1200 miles from here.  We were awe-struck when we got there by the hundreds of old wind turbine and hundreds of blades laying around.  It was like a museum.  Lots of old Jacobs machines.  We spent the first day unpacking/resting from the drive.  The next day we cleaned up the shop and learned where everything was.  (notice the old Air403 on the roof with its blades snapped off at the roots)

There's a picture of an old style Jacobs variable pitch hub with flyballs.  The newer ones are simpler, lighter weight and use the blades as weights for the variable pitch hub.

Mick has one of those odd 'octahedron' towers.  We could spot his place from a distance with the old Jacobs machine on there.  When we got there his wind turbine was having problems - the tail seemed to be falling off (the pin at the top that holds it on had sheered off).

To the South and West of Micks place are lots of these 650KW Vestas machines.  It was an inspiring location for this sort of workshop.

One of the students in our workshop had recently lost this machine.  Its a 2500 Watt Proven that crashed when the 120' tilt up tower broke during lowering.  Interesting wind turbine...  this one is rather bent up but probably repairable.

We gave a 4 hour talk on the first morning  and then got to building.  We brought laminated blanks for  10' and 15' diameter wind turbines.  We also planned to build a smaller 7' diameter machine using local lumber for blades.  Pictured above Sam and John get a plan together for carving the largest blades.

The shop was nice and large with one side for metal work, and one side for wood work.  We had plenty of tools available when we started.

George brings in Micks antique bandsaw.  It needed some work.  Some folks spent time on the first day putting a motor on it/getting things adjusted.  I had to make part of the blade guides the night before.

The saw worked pretty well for cutting the thickness on the 10' blades but then started having problems with the bottom tire coming off.  That lead to other problems and ... well...  hopefully Mick gets it sorted out someday!  It's a beautiful old saw - I love old stuff like that.

Helen and a few other folks got a nice coil winder for the smaller machines finished up on the 1st day.

They also got all the molds done on the first day.  We had a stator mold, and two magnet rotor molds.

John uses a bow saw to kerf the wood near the root of the larger blades.  I think every blade for every machine (9 blades total) were made by different people.

At the end of the 2nd day we cast a stator and two magnet rotors for the 10' machine.  George supervised...

George gave lots of folks welding lessons.  And grinding lessons!  Pictured above they're welding the 10' machine together.

On Thursday some folks climbed Micks tower and got the tail back on the Jacobs correctly.

Assembling the alternator for the 10' machine.

10' diameter and 15' diameter blades finished up on Thursday afternoon.

Jay uses a draw knife to carve the 7' diameter blades.  We made these from pretty tight grained old growth redwood that was milled about 50 years ago.  Normally I'd avoid redwood but this stuff was really nice.

At the end of the day on Friday Mick and his wife Lynn served up a huge feast for everyone.   Almost 20 folks all in all.

John camped out there with his dog Rex.  We were glad there was a dog with us for the week - he was extra good in the shop the whole time.

There's the 10' machine all painted up ready to go on Friday morning.

Folks assembling the 10' machine on the tower top.  Mick has a nice 80' tilt up tower behind the shop.

The stator for the larger machine came out well.  This one is a dead copy of my 17' machine, but I thought we'd run it with a wider airgap and try 15' blades on it.  I think it'll work well that way and be perhaps a bit more reliable.  This is the first stator we've made with 'vinyl ester'  (instead of polyester).  Its much more viscous - like water, but it hardened up nicely.  This stuff is supposed to shrink less and hold up to higher temps.  I think I like it and I think we'll continue to use it for stators in the future.

Mick gave a talk about towers and tower safety before we raised the 10' machine for testing.

The tractor alone couldn't pull the tower up - the ground was too soft.  We had to put a snow blower on the back of the tractor for weight and also pull that with Helens GMC in order to raise the tower.

Up she goes!

we had to get a bunch of car batteries and a load to test it.  We were having winds I expect between 20 - 30mph that day (nice and breezy!).  The machine started furling at just below 1KW and pretty much produced 800 -1200 watts constantly while we ran it (for about an hour).  It did better than I'd expected - especially considering that no two blades are quite the same.  It was also very quiet - you couldn't hear the turbine at all.

We didn't have time to paint the larger machine, but pictured above Dan assembled the alternator.  With a nice safe gap of about 1/8" on either side of the stator the cutin speed is at 90 rpm, which is decent for the 15' blades I think.

There's the larger 15' machine about finished up.

A few folks left before the 'group' picture but there's most of us.  The 7' machine is to the left and everyones standing in front of the blades for the 15' machine.

Hmmm... something about this just don't seem right.  I learned a lot more from Mick than he did from us I think!

There's George yesterday morning right before we left with our favorite waitress at our favorite restaurant in Algoma.  Lots of fun - very busy!  Our drive home was fast and no problems.  Now time to start thinking about summer projects!  (towers and stuff)

« Last Edit: May 23, 2006, 07:17:56 PM by (unknown) »
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Jon Miller

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Re: MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2006, 02:07:16 PM »
Hi there, yet again another great post!  Looks like you had a fun and productive time.  I really wish i was able to go and do the similar workshops over here in sunny UK.  Hopefully one day, till then your post will keep insipering me and others, thanks again!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2006, 02:07:16 PM by Jon Miller »


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Re: MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2006, 05:21:24 PM »
 Did Mick get all three machines, or did some of the students get them? Maybe you you just brought them back? I'm curious how the 15' machine worked out. Hopefuly the owner gives us some feed back. Looks like you guys had a great time, but I bet it feels great to be back home.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2006, 05:21:24 PM by jmk »


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Re: MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2006, 09:54:56 PM »
2 of the machines went to MREA for display pretty much I think.  The third one went to a student who bought it for the price of materials and promised to get it in the air/test it (that was the larger one).  I expect the 15' machine will do allright with the wide airgap and maybe a bit of resistance in the line - itll be fun to hear, Im looking forward to hearing how it works.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2006, 09:54:56 PM by DanB »
If I ever figure out what's in the box then maybe I can think outside of it.


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Re: MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2006, 01:06:12 AM »
A really good story and pictures again. Thank you a lot.

The third one went to a student who bought it for the price of materials.

How much was it?

I'm planning with an organization

to install some wind machines

at a place in Africa.

The first one we might buy as ready made,

if the price would be OK.

- Hannu

« Last Edit: May 24, 2006, 01:06:12 AM by hvirtane »

Gary D

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Re: MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2006, 05:12:10 AM »
Dan, that was one very busy week! Three turbines WOW! What voltages did you opt for on the various machines? You picked a great time to come down from the mountain- huge low pressure afffecting the whole northeast, we do get better weather(or do we)... ;-D  Gary D.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2006, 05:12:10 AM by Gary D »


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Re: MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2006, 03:23:54 PM »
 What no cheese? Where's the cheese? kenny
« Last Edit: May 24, 2006, 03:23:54 PM by kenl »
seemed like a good idea at the time


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Re: MREA Homebrew Wind Turbine Workshop
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2008, 06:37:26 PM »
I built two stators today. I used towlet boll donut wax to keep my resin from sticking.Its only one dollar at Home Depo and it works great even on my coil winder.  

« Last Edit: August 09, 2008, 06:37:26 PM by finetune »