Powder Coating

I did a bit of research on how to best protect the steel parts from the elements. You can actually just leave the steel bare and let it rust. They say that it will not affect the performance in any way and will still last plenty long. Some people just spray the parts with a can of spray paint, and that prabably works fine too. Even better is to use these high quality industrial epoxy paints (like you find on street light poles), but I found from calling around that they were very toxic and expensive.

 

I think everyone would agree that the very best way to protect the steel parts is to have them powder coated, which is an electrically charged polyester powder that gets baked onto the steel at around 500 degrees. Anyway, I found a guy with rediculously good prices. He said he would powder coat 4 or 5 wind turbines for his minimum invoice amount of $100! That is half the price of doing the high end epoxy paint. So, I picked a textured green color and did both turines for this price…and he would have done like 5 or something for this price if I had that many! I went ahead and coated both turbines and they turned out great and look very professional. I am very pleased.
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One thing to remember next time is to make sure to have the steel disks for the magnet rotors powder coated before placing the magnets and resin on them. You can’t powder coat the finished magnet rotors because the resin would melt and the magnets would demagnetize from the high temperatures. So I decided to paint the magnet rotors using a steel primer and spray enamel paint. I think this will hold up fairly well for these parts.
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Building the Tower Stub Cont.

I was having a hard time finding bushings that fit the tower stub so I decided to make them myself out of plastic. I did a bit of research and found that people were using Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) plastic for this type of thing. UHMW appears to have a very low friction coefficient and is much cheaper than nylon or any other exotic and more expensive plastic. I figured it would also do less damage to the tower stub and frame than bronze. Here are the specs on the thrust bearing and bushings…
Thrust Bearings:
– 1/4″ Thick UHMW polyethylene plastic
– 1-1/8″ hole saw for the inner diameter
– 2″ hole saw for the outer
Bushings:
– 1″ Thick UHMW polyethylene plastic
– 2″ hole saw for the inner
– 2-5/8″ hole saw for the outer
I’ll probably use two of the 1/4 thrust bearings on top so they can rub against each other and they should last longer that way. Hopefully there isn’t too little friction though using this plastic instead of bronze. I don’t want the wind turbine to jitter back and forth seeking the exact direction of the wind. The wind turbine will apparently produce more power if it yaws less and just points more into the predominant wind. We will just have to see. Also, I’ll probably put PVC between the three bushings in order to hold them in best position. I think this plastic should last a good long time…at least between yearly maintenance. Here are a few pictures…
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