A brief demonstration of the X-acto Crayon Pro crayon sharpener that came in the mail today. It cost around $43 and is used to sharpen worn down crayons so their tip is like new. This product uses 120 VAC so it is powerful and does not require batteries. If there is a jam, the cutter can be cleaned. I'm not making any recommendations, just showing what it is in case someone wanted to buy one.

The wind was variable, but we had a gust here and there. The VAWT was able to turn but did not perform as hoped. I think the pivot point was to far from the center of pressure, it wasn't balanced carefully, and one pivot seemed to hang up. So I suppose I'll have to make another only put a little more care into the construction.

An introduction to Spatial Kinematics, or the math used to calculate where a robot's end effector is in 3D space.
This is the first of a short series talking about some terminology and an outline of how the math works.

Details from the construction of a small Sharp style vertical axis wind turbine. There is a little video of it trying to spin, but the wind was so light and variable it really didn't get going. I was happy it turned at all considering the size of the wings compared to the diameter.

A solar powered candle. This is basically a solar garden light using the QX5252F chip with a few modifications. The battery (1200 mAh NiMH) and solar panel (50 x 50mm, 2V) are a bit larger. The inductor (33 uH) allows more current to the warm white LED for a brighter light. There is a switch between the chip ground pin and ground. This allows the battery to charge even with the switch off. Like a solar garden light, the light will not go on if the solar panel is illuminated.

A short video showing how to calculate gear ratios for a planetary gear system that includes a compound gear.
Files for making the parts shown in the video can be found at:

Going over a spreadsheet for calculations in a Sharp style passive pitch control vertical axis wind turbine.

An overview of the theory behind a computational model of passive pitch control on a vertical axis wind turbine. This is primarily for future reference.

Some video of the 0.10 m^2 horizontal axis wind turbine in a modest breeze. The LED would appear to light up continuously; however, it flickers in the video.

Details of the construction of a 0.10 m^2 horizontal wind turbine using 3-D printed airfoils and mostly PVC pipe and fittings. A rotor with magnets was constructed using a Blue Diamond Almonds nut can, and the stator was made using a 3-D printed bobbin and wound with 26 turns of 26 AWG magnet wire.

This is a small solar powered LED light. The circuit uses a QX5252F chip and a 33uH inductor. It is basically the same as a solar garden light but with a larger solar panel, battery and LED. Also, the light is on demand as opposed to always on when it gets dark. On a full charge, the light might stay on for close to 6 hours.

I tried making a vertical axis wind turbine with a lower solidity because I wanted to see one operate with a fairly high tip speed ratio. I knew going in that it would not start on its own, and it certainly did that. I could not get it to start at all. Possibly because we did not have very good wind for weeks. Perhaps I did not get it spinning fast enough to keep the wings from stalling. In any event, it looks like this experiment was a flop. But I posted the video for documentation sake.

Details of the bearing and stator assembly for a 0.10 square meter VAWT.

A brief characterization of the VAWT generator and estimation of tip speed ratio (TSR) with some clips of it spinning in the wind. I don't have power production data. Our wind resource is quite poor, and we might not have enough wind to collect power data for some time. The TSR is in the neighborhood of 1.2 to 1.4; a bit low for a VAWT, but not unexpected for a small turbine with relatively large wing chord.

Details about the construction of the rotor for a 0.10 sq. meter VAWT.

A small 3D printed generator for a VAWT. This spins freely as opposed to the DC motor I used in a previous video. I did not put a lot of turns on the stator so the output voltage was quite small. I incorrectly estimated the power output at 1200 RPM in the video, it should be half that value (dividing Vrms squared by twice the stator resistance to account for a load), or about 0.8 Watts. That could be improved with an increase in the amount of copper in the windings.

An evaluation of a small BLDC quadcopter motor for use as a generator. This is a small generic three phase PM motor that costs less than $4. It is capable of producing around 1.5 watts at 3400 RPM. The cogging torque (torque required to get the shaft spinning) is approximately .001 Nm.

A brief look at a small Savonius vertical axis wind turbine made from Coroplast material and attached to a generator described in previous videos. No data is presented as we had no wind to speak of for over a week and I wanted to move on to another turbine idea.

I tried making a wind turbine to go with a small DC motor. My 3D printer is small so I'm limited to parts that are about 4" in diameter. A Savonius rotor of that size was not enough to overcome the drag from the motor. So I tried making an experimental VAWT. The connection between that VAWT and the motor was too weak, but when placed on a simple dowel axle, it would spin well in a good breeze.

A design idea for a compass for use on a whiteboard. The pivot is a 5/8 inch ID flanged bearing from a tractor supply store. The arm is a length of 3/8" diameter dowel. The other parts are 3D printed. The files can be found on Thingiverse, but I tweaked them for my printer and the dimensions might vary with another printer.

An idea for a computer speaker for modular office furniture. The sound quality for this prototype was not great, but it is convenient and clears the desk of other speakers. Please note that the 4 ohm speakers might lead to the amplifier getting quite warm. I'd recommend either a lower voltage or 8 ohm speakers.

Just a few experimental rotors; one with double the magnets, one with narrower but thicker magnets, and one Halbach array. Doubling the amount of magnetic material nearly doubled the voltage output. Since the power output goes with the square of the voltage, the output power was nearly four times as great.

Results from moving the coils toward the rotor by about 0.050". Theoretical power to a load exceeded the target of 2 Watts at 1000 RPM.

The maximum power output for the three phase generator at 1000 RPM was determined to be 0.84 Watts. I was hoping to boost that toward 1 Watt by moving the magnets closer to the coils. A new rotor was printed, and the magnets from the previous rotor were epoxied into place. Results from the modification are presented.

I wanted to see how much power a small 3D printed generator could produce. This design uses eight 1" x 1/2" x 1/8" neodymium magnets on a rotor and a single phase stator with 40 turns of 24 AWG wire. At 1000 rpm, it should be capable of delivering about 1/4 Watt to a load.


Created 10 months, 2 weeks ago.

212 videos

CategoryDIY & Gardening

Documentation of various DIY projects related to Engineering.