How to build a wind turbine A workshop course with Hugh Piggott
at Crann Og, Gort, Co Galway, 7th – 12th September 2009
After a very successful workshop at Crann Og in 2008 Hugh Piggott, was here for another wind turbine building course.
Hugh Piggott, designer, author and world renowned expert on wind power, is leading a six day course in which the participants learn as much as they are personally capable of learning about small wind turbine design and construction. Hugh’s workshop courses take place around the globe. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn hands-on skills and really take part in building a wind-turbine with the guidance and experience of a great teacher. Visit Hugh’s web site at http://www.scoraigwind.com/
Each day, a modest amount of theoretical introduction will lead to workshop sessions with opportunities to gain hands-on experience of carving wooden blades, winding coils and fitting magnets into purpose built alternators for windpower, wiring, fabrication, erection and all aspects which can be covered as time allows. Participants who bring their own ideas and materials to the course will be welcomed and given assistance where possible.
Where participants have brought the materials, they will be able to take the complete (or partially complete) components (blades’ alternators etc.) home with them.
The Build Your Own Wind Turbine” workshop course is designed to inspire, empower and inform participants who wish to build small wind turbines; to cater for people from all backgrounds, age-groups, nationalities and educational levels; to provide some basic theoretical understanding, and to develop the necessary workshop skills and confidence to enable participants to undertake small wind turbine construction projects safely. Previous workshop experience and/or knowledge of tools is an advantage but is by no means necessary, relevant workshop skills will be taught at whatever level is required and everyone works at their own pace. Participants are encouraged to take part in all the various workshop activities, whatever their level of experience, this leads to a better understanding of all the processes.
There has been a successful start to the Ballinamore Build Your Own Wind Turbine Workshops.We started on Thursday 13 Nov with two participants and with Jimmy, Niall and Miriam on hand for guidance. One of the participants, Sinead, is building her own 2.4m 12volt turbine and Jonathan was learning “how to” for that windy day in the future.
On Thursday the wood for Sinead’s blades was cut up and sorted through to see which pieces would be used and how to best place them. Out of budget necessity it’s plain white pine which was laminated using wood glue. We laminated two and left the third one ’til Friday because we didn’t have quite enough clamps to secure all three blades.
All the coils were wound on Thursday and are very consistent in size and weight. Three of us wound them taking turns in winding, counting and we weighed each one as it was finished.As well as lending a hand whenever needed Niall was working on an experiment of his own. We had brought down to the workshop a couple of old (dimplex) oil radiators which had been thrown out of a neighbouring house which is being done up. They had been left under a hedge for some time when we rescued them to see if they could be used. Jimmy dried them out with the notion of using one as a local heat source which we could take turns standing beside when we got too cold in the workshop. Niall took a wire brush to the other one and gave it a good clean up, the plan is to put an immersion into it and use it as a heat dump. I am sure that Niall will write about this project himself. It was a good days work.
On Friday we started to make the moulds for the stator, marking out a sheet of 12mm ply and cutting out three x 600mm squares. We drew out the circles, added the tangents and the three mounting circles.We laminating the third blade and marked the other two for cutting out the wedge. We cut one with the electric saw and decided to do the second blade using hand tools as a good beginners session for becoming comfortable with a drawknife. After a sharpening session on the draw knives and a wee chat about using hand tools both of the participants got some good warming up using the draw knives before we finished for the day.On Saturday Sinead made good progress with the drawknife and cut out most of the wedge on the first blade. She decided to continue with the drawknife on the third blade instead of cutting off the wedge with the electric saw and by the afternoon she was feeling much more comfortable and confident with the tool. Both blades were then cleaned up by Sinead using the electric planer and finished with the hand planes, all three blades being ready for marking out for the next stage by the end of the day.
On Saturday Sinead made good progress with the drawknife and cut out most of the wedge on the first blade. She decided to continue with the drawknife on the third blade instead of cutting off the wedge with the electric saw and by the afternoon she was feeling much more comfortable and confident with the tool. Both blades were then cleaned up by Sinead using the electric planer and finished with the hand planes, all three blades being ready for marking out for the next stage by the end of the day.
The island had to be adjusted, it was a little too big for the coils to fit well. The coils were soldered and placed in the mould, avoiding the mounting points. Everyone was involved in the preparation for the next stage.
The moulds were covered in vaseline in readiness for the casting. A number of plastic bottles were cut and cleaned and left at the ready, the scales brought to the bench and two teaspoons were sacrificed for stirring the resin, hardener and talcum powder. The glass cloth was cut and extra pieces cut for the mounting points. By the end of the day the mould was cast and everyone was satisfied with another day full of activity.
Another project for the workshop was converting one of the old dimplex oil heaters to a 24v dump load ,after we stripped of the mains electrics it conviently revealed a second inch/half plug at the top , a pipe adapter was used to fit the heating element ..tests look promising and it,s probabely more easy on the eye (after a bit of paint work) and a little simpler than setting up air heater elements…. disssapting the full element power should be no problem ..you do need to turn it upside down if you leave the old 220v element in there
We were back in Gort on Tuesday 4th of November to balance the blades and install the dumpload.
The balance was out a bit you could tell by the shaking of the guy wires and the tail. The day was nice and calm and we lowered the turbine down so that the blades just cleared the ground and we got it done in no time so she is now balanced nicely.
We spotted two problems. On the front triangle of plywood the paint has bubbled around the edges where the screws are and it dos not look like marine ply as the wood is also starting to separate the paint is top quality marine stuff and put on by a pro (Flor) so that is not the problem he sanded it a bit and put on some varnish to try and seal it. And there is a little crack on the back of one blade probably caused by a plane or spoke shave going against the grain not serious though we put some glue on it.
We decided to leave the replacement of the triangle until September and also the blade to see how it all wears but if it looks bad we will do it before that.
The resistors for the dumpload finally arrived six 3.1 ohm 300w wired in parallel and I bent some metal and mounted a slate on the wall behind it so it should be ok it pulled 43a and got nice and hot so the dogs will be happy on stormy winter nights.
The best power we seen was 42a in a strong wind and dipping down to 18a. All the lights and some sockets are running of it nice and easy and now that all the bulbs are cfls so next visit we will wire all the house except the freezer and dryer looks like they are heading for an off grid house.
Hi folks, we were back Crann Og today, Saturday October 18, full crew consisted of Flor and Marion, Dinger, Sean, Niall, Jimmy and Miriam. After a lazy breakfast we set about putting things back together, having first admired the great paint job that Flor did. First was the new bearing and then fitting the stator and rotors, using the jacking screws to lower the rotor and ensuring that all the gaps are even.
Next we brought the blades back outside to put them together, using the identification marks to ensure that the blades were in the right order with each other. Dinger and Flor went around with the tape measure until we had the required distance between the tips and then it was out with battery screwdrivers, three of them, to fix the blades in place.
Back into the workshop to fix the tail to the tail frame and then after a coffee break it was time to bring everything into the field, using the tractor again to carry the alternator. It seemed easier this time round to fix the body of the turbine to the mast, using a little gentle persuasion (a 2×3) and then fix the blades, Niall measured the blade tips from the horizontal to ensure the best position.
Dinger and Jimmy raised the mast and the colours looked great even in the cloudy conditions, all went smoothly and she was spinning as soon as the brake was thrown, sounding lovely, a gentle roar when the wind picked up.
Tomorrow we are expecting winds up to 110kmph! That should test her out – the tirfor is still attached so there might be a pyjama party in the field if the winds come earlier and heavier than expected!
We’ll let ye know…
Surviving well and producing plenty of power we are going back in a week or so and will give a full report then.