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Cordless Drill DIY FlyGen Turbine or Capstan GroundGen Notes

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  • dave santos
    The following notes begin to document two small AWES units based on salvaged cordless drills (drivers), about to be tested by the Encampment Happy Campers .
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 22, 2013
      The following notes begin to document two small AWES units based on salvaged cordless drills (drivers), about to be tested by the Encampment "Happy Campers". Pics, videos, and test reports soon. This is not yet a serious product idea, just a fun and educational way to experiment with AWE.

      Expected power is just a few tens of watts. Parts cost for each DIY system is less than 100USD, and requires about 2-4 hours of fab time. Its just a guess, but average drill gearmotors in rugged use may have a MTBF of only around 50-100 hrs. Can any trade worker or test result give us a more definite sense of the cordless-drill high-duty lifecycle?

      ================ draft DIY instructions ===================

      Old cordless drills are easy to salvage as experimental or personal flygens, with "kite-store" turbines added, or for groundgens, in capstan use. They often have multigearing, and output a weight-optimized higher voltage than no gearing (Gears and belt-drives pay in many model airplanes too). The drill toolbit chuck offers an instant connection for a common COTS fabric turbine. One can use the handle as a pylon or saw it off. The trigger is lashed shut and wire-leads attached in the handle (the spent battery is toxic scrap, and must be recycled).

      For airborne turbine use, a piece of all-thread with washers and locknuts is fitted to the hub, as its new axle. Its long end is ground to shape, if needed to lock into the chuck. The washers should act as a slip clutch in an impact event, protecting the gears. Speaker wire is a good choice to run to the ground, but a bare conductor spiraled around an insulated single wire is lighter. Ideally, the wire will warm up slightly, balancing resistance with mass-aloft. We are using a seven foot diameter battened fabric turbine, for low wind performance, with MiniMothra as the lifter-arch

      For GroundGen capstans, bike wheel hubs are good, and flywheel mass, like a cast iron gym weight, is easy to integrate. Make sure the kite's jerking loads act on the hub, not diectly on the cordless-drill, which is "isolation mounted". A ratchet, sprag, or DoubleDrive (TM), can act as a mechanical diode, for one-way generator motion from a pumping line. We will be rigging a crosswind cable to act on the capstan, just like an archaic bow-drill. The kite options are many.

      FlyGen Safety WARNINGS: Dropped-object safety is essential: hard masses can be padded, safety lanyards added, and so on. Spectators should not stand directly underneath, and air traffic must be avoided by a wide separation.

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