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Waiting for the end of the world...

October 14, 2008 11:02 AM 10/14/08

The Mayans better be right dammit! ;-)

Still thinking on power generation at home but it’s slow going just because of money and time. I really need to collect on all those European lotteries I get in the e-mail every month. (I’m obviously joking there. Please don’t feed the spammers.)

Hoping it won’t rain tomorrow as I want to get up on the roof to re-mount my weather station at the roof peak where it’ll give me at least a little better reading. I should probably put it up on a pole instead of the way I have it now. That will give me _proper_ wind data for the garage rather than the partial data I’m getting with half the garage in the way.

Saw a Savonius VAWT design on instructables.com using buckets for the vanes and I couldn’t help but wonder why you couldn’t use the corrugated plastic drainage pipe and cut it in half. It comes in multiple sizes, it’s easy to work with, and is not too expensive. Sounds like a winner to me.

The problem with where I want to put this is obviously height, safety, and esthetics. I’m an absolute hater of The Rabid Lawn Nazi but it does make sense not to annoy your neighbors. Thus I have to make it look either cool or completely innocuous. Safety and height obviously matter so the city doesn’t get a bug up their butts about it. (Though they said that any non-living-space structure has no height restrictions I’m betting that they’d have a fit if I put up a standard wind turbine in my back yard.

Pondering the VAWT it will be easy to construct really. (At least for mounting in the unused “stove pipe” style roof vent on my garage.) The thrust bearing is about the only specialized thing and they are available over E-Bay or through other places.

Cut a 36“ piece of 2” PVC pipe.

Cut a 24“ piece of 12” corrugated plastic drainage pipe.

Cut the piece of drainage pipe in half.

Mount the two halves of the drainage pipe to the PVC so that they make an “S” shape looking down from the top.

Take two 2“ PVC pipe caps and drill a 3/4” hole in the center of each of them.

Use PVC cement to glue them to either end of the main PVC pipe.

Cut a 40“ piece of 3/4” threaded steel rod.

Place a washer then two nuts on one end of the steel rod. Put some thread locker on them so they stay put.

Put the steel rod through the main PVC pipe and put a large washer then two nuts on the other end and tighten them down but not too hard. Put some thread locker on them as well.

Cut a 2 1/2“ diameter piece of PVC pipe about 4” long.

Take a 2 1/2“ PVC cap and drill a 3/4” hole in it then glue it to one end of the 2 1/2“ PVC pipe.

Now glue or fasten a 2 1/2” drain flange to the other end.

This should make a cup-like setup that will sit inside the “stove pipe” vent. If not then cut a piece of galvanized steel large enough to cover the vent pipe and cut a hole in it just large enough to fit the 2 1/2“ PVC pipe but not big enough for the flange to pass through.

Drill two 1/4” holes in the end of the 2 1/2“ PVC cap to the left and right of the main 3/4” hole but not too close.

Place two 12“ pieces of 1/4” threaded rod through those holes. If extra long carriage bolts are available in that size use those.

Now put a rubber ring seal into the 3/4” hole at the bottom of the 2 1/2“ PVC pipe.

Now pack the thrust bearing full of grease and put it in the bottom of the 2 1/2” PVC pipe.

Place the main pipe with the 3/4“ rod into the 2 1/2” pipe assembly.

Place the whole assembly into the vent.

On the inside of the roof mount a steel plate with a 1“ hole drilled through the center and two 1/4” holes to the right and left of the center hole.

Bolt the two long 1/4“ rods/bolts to the steel plate after passing the 3/4” rod through it. Tighten them down so that there is no movement of the thrust bearing assembly but make sure that the center 3/4“ rod rotates freely.

Now attach a v-belt pulley to the 3/4” rod and run a belt to a generator. The size of pulleys you will have to experiment with to get right.

Finally go back up on the roof and pack the space between the main pipe and the thrust bearing “cup” assembly with lots of lightweight but waterproof grease.

One last note - all the measurements are rough measurements as I sit in a restaurant eating lunch. Measure things carefully and make your own decisions on what works. Trial and error shouldn’t be too bad on this one.

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