Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed

(Measurements are standard-inches, unless otherwise noted.)

Glitter Glue
Magic Markers
PVC Plastic Pipe: for a crank-handle; aprox. six-inches. (I repurposed a Dewalt toolbox handle.)
printable transparencies (1)
White 10mm LED's (9)
Paint (Gold and Green)
large paper clip (1)
old telephone wire (1)
twenty-inches of 12-gauge house-wire
a cheap 5x7-inch photo frame
Copper Sheeting, 12 by 40-inches
One Foam-Rubber squeeze-ball (for the hand-brake)
three-quarter-inch copper Pipe (6-feet)
three-quarter-inch copper elbows (two 45-degree and two 90-degree, )
three-quarter-inch copper T-joint (1)
three-quarter-inch copper cap (1)
Shipping-Tape or Duct-Tape
Electrical Tape
Two large round flat things (I used two 36-inch wood table tops I found for FREE on Craigslist).
A few small pieces of wood (to mount the small DC motor and build light boxes and "Green Twist" frame).
Some sort of strong base (I used the base of an old kitchenette table from my garage).
An old motor, or set of bearings, like from an old office chair. I got this motor from an old air-conditioner destined for the land-fill (Green Friendly).
a 3-double-A Battery-holder with switch (1)
Diode (1)
Resistor (quarter-watt, 100ohm) (1)
small magnets (quarter-inch, cylindrical) (3)
L-Bracket (1) to mount the hand-brake
Small washers for the hand-brake L-Bracket (6)
Some woodscrews (24)

Craft knife
Utility knife
Wire strippers
Rubber Mallet
Tin Snips
Stapler and staples
Hand-drill with drill-bits, circle-drill bits, and a center-drill-bit
Miter-box and saw
Metal file
Round needle-file
drafting ruler
tape measure
Multi-Meter (volt-ohm meter)
<p>what if you used one of those 45lb bench press weights as the fly wheel. would you get more power while using less space?</p>
turn table is greate idea for turn table for making ceramics
That's the very table leg I was looking for to <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ed_comp_hist/532590983/" rel="nofollow">mount my disk platter </a>on! I ended up with something similar but not as attractive as the&nbsp;Queen Anne style. Was yours antique or repro?
Awesome work, FTG! Very cool. Curious about how long it spins on its own and gives a useful output. How much spinning would you have to do, for example, to fully charge the batteries? Apologies if this was covered, by I just skimmed parts of it. Thanks!
Thanks, dood! Spins for about five-minutes; useful power. Not sure how long it would take to charge the batteries completely, though, because they haven't run down! I might have to put in some dead batteries and have a spin marathon! FTG
Nice. I was actually thinking of building something that looks alot like this, but with a trashcan cut in half and mounted in two pieces on top to make a VAWT to go on my roof. It's in my "one of these days" folder... Keep up the good work.
I like the VAWT-idea a lot. I just watched a couple videos on VAWT's. I'm surprised that there aren't more, or <em>any</em> that I saw, VAWT's which utilize constrained-parameter rip-stop fabrics (with an airfoil-backing); which would more-efficiently shape themselves to the wind, somewhat. FTG<br/>
I don't know if anyone has ever though of this idea, but what if you made a tesla turbine, connected a generator up to it, and connected that directly into/through your water main to your house? Could you use this to create a significant amount of power?
<strong>to much trouble for so little power.</strong><br />
I always liked flywheels, a neat why of saving/generating energy, i think i might build a version of this, it definitely needs some work, but your the innovator, hats off to you! Cheers
Thanks. I hope you make one. It was fun to build. And, the spin-art capability was quite the added bonus; that part was unexpectedly gratifying.
I wanna make one!!! That's really cool. I'm definitely voting for you!!!
Thanks, frankenboom. Not sure what happened. It almost seems more like a you-tube popularity contest than a panel of judges, huh. Somethin' fishy goin' on there. I enjoyed building it, anyway. Maybe somebody else can learn from it and build something like it. Dig your automatic paper recycler. FTG
this would be much easier to use if it was connected to an exercise bike... ;) also, what's up with the motor only occasionally coming in contact with the flywheel, i would think you would get better power production if you had it always in contact. Not to mention it would reduce the energy loss due to bearing/ air friction.
Thanks, calc! I've been wanting to build a generator that is run by the back wheel of my bike; I had not thought of combining my bike with the Green Twist Machine; love that idea... stay tuned for that. As far as the occasional contact with the flywheel, you're exactly right about the better power-production. But, these flywheels were free and, unfortunately, warped. So, I did the best I could with them. I might be spring-mounting the DC-motor, soon, to keep it in contact.
I would actually do it a bit differently, try and mount a belted drive from the drive shaft to the motor, or something similar. Your flywheel will slow down faster, but it should also net a significantly larger (and much faster) energy transfer.
It's sorta long... shorten it. no offense.
No offense taken; just not sure where to make the cuts. d: - ) FTG
Same as what ANDY! said; people don't tend to read everything, they mostly look at pictures. Some tips: -make the materials a different step, or just don't give a long intro. -don't talk so much about the contest. no offense here either, just some suggestions.
Materials and tools are a different step, now. And, I took out some mentions of the Contest. Thanks for the advice Zascecs! FTG
Thanks, zaseces; all good advice. I'm somewhat new to the ibles, so these tips are helpful. FTG
Excuse me, but could you please explain this quote from your intro? "C.) The world would be a better place if I won an Epilog Zing Laser Etcher from intructables.com!"
I have so many prototype ideas in my head for more instructables, and for medical, aerospace, industrial, and personal accessory design. And, a laser-etcher would cut a huge gap of time out of the idea-to-part process. To lift a quote, directly from the Epilog-Challenge-page: "With a laser cutter it's easy to get precise shapes out of your materials, and prototype quickly and efficiently. A laser cutter can get you from design to perfectly cut and etched reality in just a few minutes. With a tool such as this you can make or alter cool objects with a minimum of waste - it's the green way to prototype and design." ... If I had access to such a green technology, I believe it would make the world a better place, not only for me, but for fellow designers and citizens. FTG
OK, thanks for explaining that to me, it seemed as if you were being selfish. <br/>Excellent Instructable! <br/><br/>Now I know for sure that I won't win the laser cutter... I hope I get the macbook....<br/><br/>This is my entry: <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-DS-quotLightquot-Redone-and-Greatly-Impr/">http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-DS-quotLightquot-Redone-and-Greatly-Impr/</a><br/>
Your solar light is very cool!
You mean solar DS? I think yours is a lot better than mine. It is original, cool, and good for the environment. I have a feeling you're going to get that laser you want! :-)
Solar DS, yeah. You are very kind; your use of solar energy has great merit and should not be discounted. I am, truly, just happy to be a part of your cool instructable community, and can't wait to build some more fun projects. If there's a laser-cutter in the picture; even better; opens up a whole new world. Thanks, DS. FTG
Thanks! The title can be kinda confusing, saying solar DS "light". I did that just as a play on words because the DS I was using is the slightly newer version, the DS lite. It's called DS lite that because it is smaller, lighter, and has a brighter screen than the original DS.
I'm heading out of town for a few days; so, hold down the fort! I'll try to check in, if I have access to the net. But, until then, good luck to all of you in the big contest! And, don't forget to... FeedTheGrid
I was going to build something similar like this, but my idea was to combine a potter's kickwheel, which is already essentially a flywheel, to generate electricity whenever you use your wheel. Food for thought?
I like the idea of redirecting energy for other good uses; such as lighting the work are. As long as it slow your potter's wheel down too much, I think it's a great idea. FTG
I think you have my vote, for the cool name tie-in as much as for building a great invention. Flywheel energy storage is one of those ideas that I heard about but never really considered much.<br/><br/>There are a couple of directions I'd love to see this go-<br/><ul class="curly"><li>the aforementioned spring tensioner for constant motor-flywheel contact</li><li>some sort of non-human-powered drive system- wire up a solar panel or wind generator to the motor to spin up the flywheel?</li><li>a little bit of maths about how much energy you can usefully store (might do that myself)</li><li>a bigger badder version with a &quot;plate stack&quot; of flywheels mounted on ball bearings</li><li>carbon fibre, lead and unobtainium flywheels that weigh 150kg each and can spin at 100,000 RPM (might not be quite so easy)</li><br/></ul>Anyhoo, you have my vote for the competition on the SOLE CONDITION that you use the laser cutter to build Green Twist Mk. 2.<br/>
Here are the maths:<br/>Rotational kinetic energy is 1/2*I*w<sup>2</sup><br/>where I = mass * radius<sup>2</sup> for an optimal flywheel with all of its weight positioned around the outside.<br/>And w is radians per second (which is rpm * 2pi / 60)<br/>So, for a hypothetical 150kg flywheel with a (huge) 1 meter radius, spinning at 100,000 rpm would be:<br/>0.5*150*1<sup>2</sup>*(100,000*2pi/60)<sup>2</sup><br/>=8.2E9 joules<br/>=8.2E6 kilojoules (aka kilowatt-seconds)<br/>/60/60 = 2300 kilowatt-hours, or enough to power a typical house for a few months. Unfortunately, according to Wikipedia, you could never build such a massive flywheel spinning that fast with any known materials. (The edges would be moving 10 km per second!) The state of the art (from the Wikipedia flywheel page) seems to be 0.13 kilowatt-hours per kilogram, so 2 kWh for a 150 kg flywheel, enough to power a house for under a day.<br/>(It would end up being really expensive given that you would need magnetic bearings, etc. for a 150kg flywheel)<br/>
I thought as much... that's a bit sad. I did the numbers for the actual flywheel in question (or an approximation of it, assuming 1000kg/m<sup>3</sup> for the wood and a 1&quot; thickness), and found it only held something like 36 joules. <br/> <br/>A stack of ten at ten times the rotational speed (not unreasonable, but more engineering certainly) would hold a thousand times the energy, but that's still only 36,000 joules or 10 watt-hours. I guess without magnetic bearings and unobtanium flywheels this isn't going to be practical for energy storage.<br/>
36 joules! Awesome! Thanks for providing some math. I would not have known this formula; great to see this. For sure, it's not enough to power the house... yet. But, with many small steps, one can travel very far. ; - ) FTG
The laser-cutter would definitely be used to build Green Twist Mk. 2. : - ) Bigger and badder plate stack is a great idea; math would be good to see; unobtainium-100,000 RPM is now my new goal to shoot for! Thanks, PKM! FTG
Very nice, FTG. I have done some professional work with flywheels (I am an Industrial Designer). The reason they have not made big strides is that they are extremely dangerous at high speeds. The faster they go and the heavier they are, the more precise they have to be in radial symmetry. They have a horrible tendency to develop a harmonic wobble, then explode. If you ever decide to scale it up, be careful. Having written that, your idea and application is plenty safe and you have a long way to go before you need to worry too much about exploding flywheels. I love it. You've got my vote.
Really appreciate it whiteoak. I've seen just a little bit of that harmonic wobble, even at low speeds. So, I can see the danger at high velocities. Thanks for the heads-up, because I do want to go bigger-faster at some point. FTG
Really cool, really fun, really great idea and implementation. And what a well-written Instructable, too! Yay for good documentation! It's clear that you're passionate about what you do.
Thanks, Grant. I tried to be as detailed as possible, without being windy. And, you are correct; love doing this stuff. FTG
You can use old feed wheels and rollers from old copiers and printers for the rubber wheel. A bit of epoxy or hot glue would hold it to the shaft. Great Instructable. Its got my vote. NMF
Awesome. Thanks, NMF. Dig the old printers' feed wheels idea. Seems that folks are often throwing out old printers. Thanks! FTG
when I first clicked on it i thought it was a seat and you sat on it, turned on the motor with the hand and it spun you. LOL
Ha! That is funny. Weeee!
Quite excellent FTG!<br/><br/>If you are open to suggestions...<br/><br/>You could mount the generator on a spring loaded arm so it stays against the bottom of the table. It would work better and look cool as it follows the warp in the top rotor (Spinner) up and down.<br/><br/>As I think on this further...<br/><br/> you could incorporate something like the wind belt generator<br/><br/><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Windbelt-Redux--21st-Century-Micro-Power-Generatio/">http://www.instructables.com/id/Windbelt-Redux--21st-Century-Micro-Power-Generatio/</a><br/><br/>to convert the vertical motion to electricity (though the occilation spped might be too slow to get much out of it)<br/><br/>Once again...<br/><br/> EXCElLENT!<br/><br/>Mikey<br/>
I dig the spring idea; maybe one that is larger in size, but with very little tension, thus creating little drag on the flywheel. Do you have a favorite supplier of springs? Also, I had not seen the wind-belt generator, before. Very cool; aeroelastic flutter was new to me. I like it! I think you might be right about the oscillation-speed, though. Thanks, Mikey! FTG
My pleasure. As far as springs go... I just seem to collect them and have a box full. Email me your address and I'll pop a couple of likely suspects into an envelope for ya. Keep on keeping on! Mikey
I'll vote for you because you told me to, I'm like putty in your hands. Also . . . . cool ible.
Thanks, Omni! <strong>Amazing</strong> putty! Dig your brushless motor, too; look forward to studying it in more detail!<br/><br/>FTG<br/>
Thanx .. yeah I'm working on getting more magnets for the rotor and exploring different hall-sensors. It's a lot of fun!

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