Saturday, November 19, 2011

Creating a Wind Driven Machine that will lift an object to one meter high

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Today’s Blog Post

Creating a Wind Driven Machine that will lift an object to one meter high

The last few days as I was “taking control” of some of piles of stuff in the garage it was timely to do this.

A call came from my Grandson Clifford who is now in Grade Eleven. He has a Physics Project that he thinks Grandpa might be able to help him with the construction of his “dream machine”. That’s right it is “dream” now and some day it will be a “machine” I am sure.

Physics has not been his highest mark this season. In fact many of the students in the class have close to bottomed out. When he usually has a fairly high average this is not Clifford’s favorite subject.

But the excitement in his voice as he described what he needed to do… and the fact that Grandpa has lots of “stuff” in his garage that might help him develop his “dream machine”.

Well last evening Grandpa’s thinker kicked into gear and we are off and running.

Here is the challenge that the teacher gave Clifford. He is to create a machine that by using wind power, it will raise a weight of about 1 to 2 kilograms up to the 75 centimeter mark. If it is heavier and higher he will get the highest mark. If someone beats him his mark will be lower.

The teacher is treating this like other Physic Challenges out there I the world. The one that does the best in their development of the project wins. It is an engineering idea... the best wins – the worst will fall into the river it is trying to bridge.

The number one thing has happened. Clifford is excited about the project. It has caught his attention and he is now up and flying.

But the next thing has to happen. True to every invention someone will have the idea of the dream. And behind that someone is the “mechanic” that makes the parts for the “dream machine”.

And the number one problem is making a windmill that will transfer wind power to the mechanical apparatus behind or connected to it.

Clifford thought about paper plates and the like. If placed on an angle they will cup the wind and make the wheel move. But paper plates bend and are soft causing a loss of power before the wheel even moves.

Tada! That is where Grandpa’s stuff came into play. As I moved one pile out of the garage for the garbage I backed into two old bicycle wheels that I thought I might use to make a small portage wagon for my canoe. Instead of having to lift the canoe on to my old shoulders I would place it on the small canoe sized wagon. It was to be as wide as the canoe and sturdy enough to support the weight.

I ran out of time on that project and it stalled.

BUT… IF YOU TAKE THE WHEEL AND PUT WIND COLLECTORS IN THE SPOKES…. Hmmmm? Would you not have a rudimentary windmill?

For the next half hour I cut pieces of cardboard and placed them into the wheel’s spokes…placing them on an angle to allow wind to flow through. I taped the veins into place one by one. The spokes needed 16 pieces of cardboard for this first experiment.

Next came the artificial wind system, the old dusty fan that I use in my garage on hot days.

I turned on the fan and the bicycle wheel began to move slowly at first and then it picked up speed until it was flying. When I turned off the fan the wheel was still whizzing with the gained momentum. It kept going by itself for over one minute.

It worked!

I called my “boss” to let him know that the windmill part was on its way to being solved. If Clifford now cuts two litre pop bottles up to make more sturdy wind veins to secure to the spokes of the wheel… he will have a huge part done already.

Now how do you transfer the power of the turning wheel to a not yet developed mechanism that will lift?

Maybe a pulley on the wheel, with a belt around it, driving another pulley down below, which is on a shaft that turns, which has a rope wound around it, that passes through another two pulleys, that are connected to small platform that will hoist up the weight…? Maybe that will work.

Part of the instructions that were given by the teacher are that they shouldn’t buy anything to make their machine but rather use things that are in your household. Thank goodness for Grandpa’s garage!

Pulleys could be made from an old white nylon cutting board that I have in another pile. I saved it just in case I would need it.

The shafts that will turn and things are mounted on are going to come from heavy wire frames for the past election lawn signs. I knew they had some value.

Hey… we are going to get there. Only four weeks to go before the completion of the “dream machine” to be shown off.

Do you see history being made here?

I do. I am “Thomas Watson” to Alexander Graham Bell. I am “Wilbur Wright” to Orville Wright. I am the hidden half of the great inventions that will someday come.

Away back in school, the theory and the formulas nearly buried me. But the pulleys and the driveshaft and the rope and the pitman arms were a fascination for me.

Listening to Clifford’s excited response last night on the telephone made it worth it all. My Grandson is a whole lot like me!

After this “dream machine’ is completed, I will have to store it. There are five more grandchildren coming up through the school. When they come to their project we will have something already made.

Grandpa is going to get Grade Eleven Physics right this time around. I will pass this class with flying colours – SIX TIMES over!

Maybe I should slow down in cleaning up the junk in the garage! Hmmmm?

~ Murray Lincoln ~ 

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