Oct. 29th, 2012

When I was little, I saw that it was possible to make windmill-driven generators. I figured this would be pretty neat, so I made a tower, and topped it with a pivoting arrangement of an electric motor serving as a generator and bearing, along with a set of blades cut out of cans, and a tail fin to make it point into the wind.

I took it outside to give it a spin, and it spun around nicely, and even pointed into the wind, but didn't spin enough to generate any measurable electricity. I played with the blade pitch, curvature, and washout, to no avail.

From time to time, I'd haul it out into the yard and try again, whenever it seemed like a windy day.

One day, I saw a lot of wind, so I eagerly grabbed it and ran outside to see if I could make some electricity. Sure enough, it started to dimly light a flashlight bulb! Success! Then one of the blades got bent straight back by the wind! The whole spinning rig commenced to wobbling wildly, and one by one, all of the blades got bent straight back. I was there in the yard, trying to straighten the blades and think of a way to reinforce them without taking too much time when my mom showed up at the door, yelling "You get inside right now! Don't you know there's a hurricane!"




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