How to Build a Floppy-Mill, inexpensively for fun and profit
Build a working Model to see how it works.

By John N. Hait



       Those big, expensive windmills you see pictures of, cost $1.3 million each, and only capture 5-7% of their swept area. The rest of the wind blows between the blades! That’s why you often see pictures of a whole line of them, to catch what the others miss, (count the cost.) Also, have you ever seen one actually move fast? That’s what their long blades have been designed for, speed -- like an airplane, while wasting much of their energy in a gearbox, instead of producing salable power. In most of the pictures I’ve seen, because of their massive weight, they aren’t moving at all, and so are not producing an ounce of money. Humph! Great marketing scheme!

       However, with the so-called “American” variety windmill, with lots of blades, the effect of one blade fouls up the airflow for its neighboring blade. And thus overall efficiency suffers.

       Those big high-voltage power lines you see are there because of the power meter. Folks are bamboozled into paying for electricity they could be producing themselves for free. What’s more, they discredit alternative energy as a viable Earth-compatible energy source, while most of the power is made by burning fossil fuels they suck out of the ground, which produces greenhouse gas to choke our planetary home

       I intend to show you how to do it yourself, inexpensively, to produce all the power you need, and maybe even sell some to others. Back in the ‘80s I visited a fellow in Western Washington State who earned $250,000 a year with a hydro plant he built himself. Why can't you do something like that, without paying me a dime?

       The wind blows almost everywhere, 40 feet above where you live. The energy is there for free, all you have to do is capture it, both for yourself, and for sale. I have built these mills myself, and they work great. So you can build one too.

       I call it a “Floppy-Mill” because of the way it works, while it differentiates it from the others. It has many advantages:

  1. It has a vertical axis so it will capture wind from any direction, and it doesn’t require special machinery to do that.
  2. You don't have to fly a heavy piece of machinery up in the air. The generator is at ground level.
  3. You can build a scale model at your kitchen table, to see how it works.
  4. It automatically controls its own speed in high winds, instead of blowing apart with pieces of your hard-earned project blowing into the next county.
  5. It’s simple, and easy for you to build, even with the help of school kids from a nearby school.
  6. It is inexpensive to build, and can even use recycled parts.
  7. It starts by itself in light winds without special machinery.
  8. It can capture over 90% of its swept area.
  9. It doesn’t need a tower—only guy wires. So you can pull it up with your car yourself most anywhere.
  10. It will easily run either a water pump, or an alternator. And you can switch them when needed.
  11. Its turn axis can extend down to ground level for easy maintenance of the complex electric parts, which work almost indefinitely in an automobile anyway.
  12. Easily build a centrifugal switch to shut it off when there is no wind.
  13. It works on free, Earth-compatible alternative energy—wind.
  14. You can easily store its energy for when the wind isn’t blowing, and even sell it during peak usage hours when the price should be higher.
  15. It can be attached to tall things like watertowers that already exist up in the wind-blowing area. Store the energy and save construction costs too. The top of a watertower isn’t doing anything anyway! Do you own a watertower? Why isn’t it producing more money for you?
  16. The power you use yourself, you essentially get rebated for at retail rates.
  17. While the extra power can often be sold at wholesale. Or run power lines to your neighbors to get retail. The Power Company already does that. You’d be great competition. All you need is wire and an electrician and you get paid each month. It’s also a great incentive for the Power Company to work with you. You can make them yourself, and sell them both to help our beleaguered planet, your customers, and yourself too. Imagine how much you could earn in an electric place like Los Vegas! Since you get the energy for free, sell it at one penny below regular retail. Everyone will want to buy.

       It uses pairs of wind paddles, or blades, that may be in any size even including 4x8 sheets of CDX plywood. Take a gander at the picture. It works like a crank, with more wind pressure on one side of the vertical axis, and less on the other. Its horizontal shaft holds the wind paddles 90° from each other, so when the wind blows one side down, it automatically pulls the other side up. Thus the surface area presented to the wind gets bigger on one side, than the other. The faster the wind, the more it captures.

       And when the wind is too strong, the lesser side twists past horizontal, and up into the wind to slow rotation down. In ordinary winds, the offset position of the paddles allows gravity to keep them below the horizontal, without the need for springs or other mechanics to control in all of these cases. And this can be adjusted by bolting the paddles up or down on the horizontal shaft.

       It works great. You can build a scale model, at your kitchen table, and see how it works.

       It is held up by its rotating vertical pipe shaft, made of 4-inch steel or schedule 40 plastic pipe. That you can get at almost any hardware store. The bottom thrust bearing can come from a recycled automobile wheel, while the upper bearing can be made from casters held up in place by the connector that holds together 10-foot pipe sections. And the top horizontal bearing you can make yourself from canvas, because it only has to move a little more than 90°.

       Balance it like a car tire so it won’t wobble in the wind, and it should have 3 or 4 guy wires.

       The horizontal shaft is a piece of square tubing big enough to hold the plywood paddles, but small enough to fit through the pipe tee at the top, or a cross pipe if you wish to add another pair of paddles placed below the original pair at right angles to them, to capture twice as much wind, as long as the paddles miss each other.

       Build a model first, and blow on it with a fan to learn how the Floppy-Mill works.

       Paint the paddles, especially on the edges so they won’t delaminate in the rain, and paint the words “Free Energy” on them in big letters, so when the wind doesn’t blow, you get the free advertising. Or paint a smiley face to tease your competition.

       Automobile alternators and water pumps usually don’t have thrust bearings for vertical operation, so the long powering V-belts are set up to switch from the mill’s vertical axis to a horizontal one. By moving the idler pulley, you can control which mechanism you need at the moment if you have more than one. The one on the Floppy-Mill vertical shaft is larger, so the alternator will turn faster. You can get a big one off an old electric clothes dryer.

       The guy wires are held to the ground with a large steel stakes. However, ordinarily only one end of a stake is in the ground. So the guy will bend the stake over and come lose. To prevent that, use 2 stakes on each guy, one to hold the Floppy-Mill in the wind, and the other to hold the top of its stake from bending. I saw this in the Radio Amateur’s Handbook.

       When buying your recycled auto parts, get the alternator, battery, voltage regulator, and wiring; even the dash light to tell you when it’s charging. The whole shebang is needed to give you 12-volt DC power just like in your car. And wire it up like in your car.

       If you’re going to sell power, connect your Floppy-Mill to a large AC motor. That’s what I said, AC. I know, they told us in school you can’t generate power with an AC motor, like with a DC motor. They were wrong. The one in Washington uses a 200 kw AC motor. It’s a 3 phase, job at 440 volts. A big one. I suspect they want to sell you a more expensive alternator, instead of a second-hand motor.

       Have you ever started up your power saw in your garage? The lights dim until it gets up to speed. The reason is called “back EMF”. But if you add energy in the same direction as it moves, as from the wind, or water, the back EMF gets larger, until your power meter runs backwards. What’s more, the electricity is automatically in phase with the AC power line. Perfect huh!

       That’s why the Power Company has special meters, that may even cost less, with one-way ratchets and 2 readouts for power going each direction. Talk to them about it. They call it, "Net Metering."

       If you intend to put it on a watertower, to store the energy for when the wind isn’t blowing, put a water pump in place of the generator. And pump water from a lower tank up into the watertower, (in the picture the lower tank is shown as a piggy.) Then connect a homemade jet turbine to your AC motor-generator.

       Not one of those expensive jobs they want to foist on you, but a pair of piped nozzles, like shown. They work like a sprinkler to turn your motor-generator. Just catch the water flow especially around electricity. Get the water from the tower, and use the Floppy-Mill to pump it back when the wind blows. This shouldn’t foul it up for drinking either.

       Sizes will vary, so experiment until you get it right. If you build a working model, and it won't quite run the car alternator, make one a little bigger. It only takes a weekend.

       The Floppy-Mill can not only save you money, it can earn you a living too.

       For more information see Send me the account of your research, with pictures. I’d love to hear from you.

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