'Id just like to say first off that my electrical knowledge is very limited, and I'm sort of feeling my way around in the dark. If you have a better way of doing this, I'd love to hear about it. Also we are taking ideas for what to power.
*(UPDATE) The swing set performed well at the Bay area Makers Faire this past weekend 5/21/11. Having replaced the 44 tooth driven gear with a 112 tooth gear we were able to produce around 9 volts consistently. At 6 volts we had 0.3 Amps and 1.2 Watts. We were able to run 12 volt LEDs well, as well as 9 volt EL wire, and a 9 volt electric keyboard at the same time. We believe that with an additional gear reduction we will consistently produce 12 volts. Look for it deep in the outer Playa this year. Here is a video of it at the Makers Faire:
Also, this is my first Instructable so please bear with me. Hope you enjoy it.'
This project was done in Collaboration with and would not have been possible with-out my good friend Ryan Alpers.
Also I would like to thank Reid Johnston, Matt Gil, and Baker, and the good people at Bearing Agencies in SF for technical insight.
And Thank you to Cork Marcheschi for the use of his studio and equipment.
*(UPDATE) I wanted to make clear that the magnet rotor plates are very heavy and act as a flywheel, smoothing but not "bumping" the power. Also the chain does not move back and forth, but in a single direction. The swingers only affect the drive shaft when they swing forward, on their return trip the roller clutches freewheel back, also allowing the swingers to regain momentum. Thank you for all the interest!
After building Hugh Piggott's http://www.scoraigwind.com/
Axial Flux permanent magnet motor and adapting it to a stationary bicycle, i wondered what else i could use to make small amounts of electricity. After polling friends and family for old play ground equipment, a friends parents donated an old swing set. It was built ages ago but super sturdy and after a little TLC it was ready for a new life.
The design was pretty straight forward, i used Mcmaster Carr and some local (San Francisco) companies for the machinery. It basically went together over a couple of weekends. I used Hugh Piggott's generator since i had already made it and like the design for low speed low torque applications, but i guess anything else like an alternator or treadmill motor would work as well.
Materials used included 4 pillow blocks, 4 roller clutches, 9ft of keyed drive shaft, standard steel tubing, around 20ft of angle iron, a lot of lag bolts washers and nuts, a rear bicycle hub with a disk brake attachment point, a couple single speed rear bike gears, some motorcycle chain, a bunch of shaft collars, 4 pipe collars, and a gear that fit the drive shaft.
tools used included a standard 110 mig welder, porta-band, files and rasps, rubber mallet, angle grinder, misc hand tools like screw drivers etc, drill press, hand drill, marine anti-rust spray, plumbers wrench, vise grips, and a motorcycle chain breaker and assembler.