Instructables

Model generator test rig. experiments on home made power.


Project: To build a simple model generator to help me get my head round the idea of electricity generation.

Note: THIS WAS NEVER BUILT TO PRODUCE USABLE POWER.  BUT DEMONSTRATE HOW POWER IS PRODUCED.

Not so much of a how to but more a demonstration of materials that may give others ideas for their own projects.

This little model is made from

Tesco's best plastic chopping boards, it is very easy to cut drill and you can use self tapping screws The plastic has good self lubricating properties and allows axles to run smoothly with out the need for lubrication or bearings.  Its one downside is that it has to be screwed together as noting seams to stick this stuff.

6mm and 8mm Aluminum rod from B&Q about £4 a per 1mtr length

coils from scavenged microwave oven fans. These where used because I happened to have them at the time and this saved me from winding my own coils.

Tools used

Table saw

Pillar drill

Hole saws

self tapping screw nuts bolts etc.

Fun little project that is simple enough to build the plastic is easy to work and allows this to progress rapidly.

Note. the plastic shavings get everywhere so be warned best to hover up as you go along.

Thanks for looking.

 
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rairwin2 years ago
i was just kicking it around in my head. and it dawned on me that this system built in the hubs of say a car. would be a nice way to charge a elecrtic car or bike.
Dr Qui (author)  rairwin2 years ago
Are you certain that you didn't receive a kick to the head? ;)

This was just and experiment, I learned a bit, not much but enough, i would almost need a refresher course.

You are thinking of regenerative braking, where an extremely well designed and engineered motor can recapture a small percentage of the energy already used to power the vehicle up to speed but only in the few occasion where you have you brakes applied.

For it to be practical you would need road with a steep enough gradient and several miles long that you vehicle would have enough momentum to keep it coasting while to keep the brake applied,  when you would reach the bottom of the hill the energy you gathered even if it was enough to fill the batteries to their max capacity those complicated laws of physics are most likely gonna work out that your vehicle will not have the energy to re climb the hill under its own power without the aid of additional energy input.

Complicated aint it.
gotwind2 years ago
Great start.
Maybe this will be of help to you, a little project I made some time ago. http://www.gotwind.org/diy/12-inch-mini-turbine.htm
Dr Qui (author)  gotwind2 years ago
I found your page back when I did this project. I would have used some of your stuff as the basis for what I did. I did try winding my own coils but they did not prove useful with the magnets I had at the time. the mini generator actually started out as a solenoid engine, it worked but just barely and it evolved into what I eventually posted.

I doubt that I will build an alternator now direct drive motors are available, the LG direct drive motors are starting to show up in recycling plants now and they are ready to go. I had one only the guy I got it from took it back and destroyed it

My VAWT did not stand up to extreme winter weather conditions and will need to be rebuilt. I'm not rushing things as my health is not the best at the moment and is keeping me from working at the larger projects.

i was thinking of trying a Mini Lenz turbine (Well smaller than last time and built to a better standard) as a summer project I want to get to grips with the power making and storage side of things and would like to have a fully charged battery by the end of the season. I got the tools and materials, I just need the good weather to kick in and allow me to get things of the ground.
Dr.Bill3 years ago
Those magnets need to be real close to the ends of the coils.
(removed by author or community request)
Dr Qui (author)  pddonovan20113 years ago
I take it you didn't pay any attention to what I wrote in step 1, this is model a mere toy and was built out of what I had at hand to test out a new pillar drill and band saw.

You have simply wasted your time telling me stuff that I already know.

Why would build my own stator etc when LG direct drive washing machine motors are starting to appear in recycling centers, I hand cranked one to just over 96 volts unloaded and under load was powerful enough to blow a 20W 12v bulb in seconds.
nigel cox3 years ago
Good evening everyone, this is an excellent instructable, despite being made out of cost effective materials and recycled parts this has a very professional look to it, I would imagine the main cost was the magnets, have you thought of using the coils from the wall socket chargers, this will give you the choice of fine and heavier windings to give you different voltages potentials on your generator rig, old dyson or any vacuum cleaner motor will have a good set of bearings and a steel shaft, all you have to do is remove the commutator windings , the outer motor windings will give you decent lengths of copper wire and the brushes can come in very handy for other projects, flat acrylic sheet can be found in scrapped flat screen computer monitors and smaller flat screen televisions and can be glued tapped or drilled, keep up the good work , hope these tips help, regards Doc Cox
Dr Qui (author) 4 years ago
Hey all, Thanks for all the comments, the rig was never meant to be a power producer but a learning tool it was built just to work not be functional.

This is an old project i have not continued work on as it has served its purpose as a learning tool.

This little rig was built for a following reasons.
1 to get an engineers eye view of electrical generation.
2. to relearn old engineering skills that I had lost over the 20 years since i worked as one.
3. to learn to work with new materials as my engineering life was 100% steel work.
4. to learn new electronics knowledge and  skills.

I do know it has potential to be a nice micro generator if I make a custom coils for it. I will come back to when the summer projects get put away.

Lets just say that the interest from this post has put it back into the running for a this winters project.

All the best,

Andy.
PKM4 years ago
Looking at the pictures for this I couldn't shake the feeling something wasn't quite right... I think the coils are meant to be arranged "axially" to the magnets (ie. so the hole in the middle of the coil points at the magnet, rather than parallel to the rotor). Check out step 2 of this Instructable for an example of a wind turbine generator built that way.

That could be why your gen isn't performing!  Other than that, I think generators with high numbers of turns producing high voltages at low current tend to need faster movement, so large diameter or very high RPM. If I remember correctly low-RPM generators tend to have low numbers of turns and put out high current at lower voltages, but also tend to have very tight spacing between the magnets and the coils.  For an experimental design like this you might be better off with some sort of simple gearing to increase the speed, especially if you are cranking it by hand so can't go much above 100RPM.

On an unrelated note, I notice you appear to be in the UK (pounds and Tesco give it away) and building VAWTs.  Are you connected with renewable energy in any capacity, or is it just a hobby?
Dr Qui (author)  PKM4 years ago
Hey there, I'm from Northern Ireland. I'm working on this stuff just to keep myself sane, I suffer from Fibromyalgia and had to eventually give up full time work, this keeps me active on the good days, the brain is still active even if the body is slowing down. This was never designed to produce power, was throw together as a project to break in the pillar drill I had just bought. I know the coils are completely wrong, I may come back to it later in the year when I'm not as active outside. I posted it so it may inspire others to mess around with the idea of micro generators. Andy.
ewout4 years ago
Thats is really nice, the one I use looks nothing like that. Next step would be free energy but when you work with the materials for real, it looks like a idea that is far, far, far away... -thicker coils produce more amps but low volts, thinner coils produce more volts but less amps... (its not fair isnt it???)
Dr Qui (author)  ewout4 years ago
Thanks, Experimenting is the best way to learn. Andy.
lemonie4 years ago
It looks a bit like a motorbike system (a bit), - how much power have you got our of it?

L
Dr Qui (author)  lemonie4 years ago
about 20-24vlts if you you bust you self cranking it. I have a video if i can find somewhere to post it to. The coils are of 240v 50herts monopole motors the wire is fine as silk, way to many turn and very fine wire so gives respectable volts but just no poke at all in the amps department. As the late great Fred Dibnah used it say its just for de-monster-ation purposes, I have 6 3/4" by 3/82 rounds that I tried, the rotor was a fail as the wholes where to loose and nothing sticks to it even tech7 failed to make it more a loose push fit. I tried the 6 large magnets and the voltage went down to about 2 volts and failed to light the led. I know that a set of matching coils would do the trick and should produce a neat little micro generator as that plastic is totally weatherproof. I had looked into getting offcuts of a thicker cutting board 3/4" from a manufacturer but the guy i needed to see was on holidays. Must look into that again . Andy
pedalmonkey4 years ago
Hey, so what if you don't get a full T-watt out of this little thing. It was nicely executed and it can be the base for several devices if you choose to keep fooling with it. Btw, I thought that bridge rectifiers were made using diodes, not resistors. There's also another 'ible about making a generator that shows some good information about winding your own coils and fixing them to a plate. I think your cutting board idea would be perfect for that. It would be an excellent excuse to buy a small plunge router... Keep writing.
Dr Qui (author)  pedalmonkey4 years ago
Cheers, Thanks for the correction. Shows how little I know about electronics :-). genuinely great full for the correction. This rig started out as a jig for winding and testing coils, and I have an attachment that turns it into a solenoid motor but that just ate battery power and I never figured the timing out. Ill maybe go back to that idea some day to try and improve it as it was a fun little thing. I'm in the process of pimping up a lot of my power tools mainly wood lathe addons but one is for a Rota zip mod to be use with a 2 axis vice, I will be sure to post these as they happen.
rimar20004 years ago
Very good idea. One makes a device and tries it, but almost always hasn't idea of its real performance...
Dr Qui (author)  rimar20004 years ago
Thanks, Indeed, its very easy to do the maths and end up with what on paper looks like the savior of the modern world but when you build it in the real world it does not perform so good. I rather glad that I don't know the maths or never read the science books to start with so I'm not bound by what some educated people believe to be the limits of materials or ideas. This was just a fun project to educate myself and I hope it shows others how easy it is to build something small.