Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's Alive! (Rotor Assemblage 3)

Matt and I worked all day today to put the Lexan pieces on the ribs. Take a look at this video to see the turbine spin.

Taking a break after finishing half of the helix.

The process.

Rotor Assemblage 2

On Sunday we cut our sheet of Lexan into six pieces - two pieces short of what we need. These pieces fill the spaces between the ribs and will allow the turbine to catch the wind, like a sail. Bob finished drilling the holes in the shaft and we started to bolt the ribs on the next day. I ordered a few more pieces of Lexan for the remaining pieces and to make covers to protect against rain.

Jordan cutting one of the curved Lexan pieces.

Bob at the mill.

Putting the rotor together.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Rotor Assemblage 1

We did a lot of work on the turbine today. This morning, Clay welded a few strips onto the bearing supprts. The turbine shaft will pass through the hole in the picture once the bearings are mounted.

Later on, Matt met me at Midway Studio to haul some items over to Bob at the CIS building. Matt came up with an ingenious way of transporting the 90 lb. flywheel, borrowing from the classic game of his youth, hoop stick. By the end of the night, Bob had made 80% of the holes on the turbine shaft, taught me how to use the mill, and made the two other shafts.


The first of the rib assemblies to be bolted onto the shaft.

Bob with mill and rotor.

Matt cleaned up the flywheel.


On Wednesday I took a tour of the three candidate roofs with Mike from facilities.

On Kersten's roof, next to the scope.

From the roof of Hinds, looking down on Crerar.

From the roof of Crerar, looking at Hinds.

Each had its advantages and disadvantages, so I'm not sure which building would be best.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


Dan Stearns from University Theater did a beautiful job welding the rib sections together on Tuesday. These 5 sections will be separated on the turbine shaft by 1.5 feet, which gives us the desired 6 foot total height. Each section will be offset 45 degrees from the previous one, which results in a helix. The ribs will act as a frame to support the lexan scoops. Three of the five rib sections also have horizontal pieces of conduit welded on. These straight pieces will support the airfoils that may or may not get made this year.

Earlier this week I gave a presentation about the turbine to the Society of Physics Students (SPS), an undergraduate student organization that primarily hosts weekly talks about physics. A number of them were very interested in working on the turbine and would like to take care of it next year.

Master welder at work

Delicious ribs