Wind Chasers

February 2 / 2017

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Blade Carving

On this page there are lots of pictures of the blades. Most people seem to think that the blades are very hard to carve, but if you follow the plans and take your time, they are really pretty easy to make. You do have to be careful not to remove too much wood at a time. It's easy to take off a little more if you need to, but it's really hard to put it back on once it's off!

Balancing the blades is also very important. If they are out of balance when you put the turbine up, you will notice quite quickly. They will not track perfectly and there will be a lot of vibrations in your tower. This puts undue stress on everything and you will end up with problems.

There are several ways to get the blades to balance almost perfectly. Some of these ways will be explained on this page.

Getting ready to start the blades. Mike # 2 had a bunch of boards at his place that were perfect for making the blades. Excellent!
Craig removing excess wood from the side of one of the blades.
Mike #2 working on his blades
Craig marking out the different stations where cuts have to be made.
Mike #1 making cuts where excess wood will be removed to form the curve on the face of the blade. Watch those fingers Mike!
Craig carefully removes excess wood with a chisel.
Craig with his new toy smoothing out the face of the blade.
Close up shot where Mike # 1 was trying to show off his handy work!
Yes Mike, now your friends can see what you do on the weekends! 
Mike showing off his first blade that he did all by himself! How does your ceiling fan work now that you have stolen one of it's blades?
Craig playing with his brand new toy! Wow, he can really zing those blades off now!
That new toy worked really good! These were done in an afternoon. I guess it was a good investment after all!
Mike #2 trying his grinder with a new wheel that really grinds off the excess wood in a hurry!
These are the wedges that get attached to the blades as shown in the plans.
More wedges ready to be attached to the blades.
Mike using the orbital sander to do the finishing touches on his blades. They look great Mike!
O.K. guys, this is not a good idea! Someone's going to loose an eye for sure!
Wow, now that the Mikes have this blade thing down pat, they are going crazy making blades! Guys, you only need three each! Stop already!
Dave, shows off his blades with his family.  I wonder if we can get his little girl to build a miniature turbine?
Dave decided to re-paint his blades all white. I guess he thought the green above was a little too distracting!
An aerial  shot of Dave painting his blades. O.k. Mike, were you standing on the work bench when you took this one or hanging from the rafters?
Craig showing off his new, perfectly balanced blades. Note the lovely nose cone. (stainless steel salad bowl) Another nice shot from the Mike #1 cam!
Balancing the Blades
As explained above, balancing the blades is crucial to the proper operation of the unit. If the blades are out of balance, it will make the turbine vibrate badly, which causes the tower and everything that's attached to it to vibrate badly as well. This will cause undue stress on everything.

There are several ways to balance the blades. First of all, if we have several pieces of wood to choose from, we will try to get three pieces that are very close in weight to begin with. Also, make sure that the wood is not warped. Choosing good pieces of wood to begin with, will save you a lot of frustration when you come to the balancing later. After removing most of the wood and getting the blades close to being finished, we weigh them to make sure that they are very close to being the same weight. Once they are finished and ready to be painted, we put them together with two round plywood plates, top and bottom and hang them from a perfectly centered hook to a level truss in the ceiling. If you know that what you are hanging them from is perfectly level and that your centre hook is perfectly centered, then you can tell by the way they hang whether or not they are balanced. If they are balanced, they will hang perfectly level. If not, they will be slightly off kilter and you can see which blade needs a little more weight added to balance it to the others. 

At this point, the blades need to have a coat of epoxy applied to the leading edges to protect them from the elements once they are up and running. Once you have hung the blades and have identified which one or one's need a little weight added to them, you can do this with the epoxy. On the blade or blades that are a little light, just put a little extra epoxy on them and that should even them out. While we are applying the epoxy and paint to the blades, we always hang them in this way from the roof truss while they dry and that way we can see how well balanced they are. This method has always worked very well for us and we usually recommend this method to everyone.

Another method that we have heard of is to drill tiny holes in the blade that is a little light and melt some lead and pour it into the holes and seal the holes up. Apparently, this works quite well also, but we have never given it a try.

Once the blades are balanced as close as you can get them to perfect, the next step is to make sure that they track properly. We have a small test tower right beside our house where we do all of the final checks. Once the blades have been attached to the unit, we stand to the side and spin the blades and watch where they track. If you notice that one of the points of the blades is a little farther in towards the tower or out farther from the tower than the others, then it is not tracking perfectly. You can usually fix this by putting a washer behind the blade that is out slightly to bring it out a bit.

We have not had much problem with the blades not tracking properly because we are very careful with checking the blades as we go along to make sure that everything is perfect. If you take your time, they should be fine.