DIY wind power course review
From Wednesday the 27th to Sunday the 31st of January, the Rossport Solidarity Camp hosted a wind power workshop. Local people and campers united to learn metal work, wood work and electronics to produce a fully functional 2.4 meter diameter wind turbine, now supplying power to the off-grid Rossport Solidarity House. The use of farmer's shed for the week was kindly by donated which was the perfect base for the workshop. The course was led by V3 Power, a workers co-operative based in Nottingham specialising in teaching courses in how to build DIY wind turbines.
At the start of the course the group participants split into 3 groups, so that each group would alternate between the 3 work areas of woodwork, metalwork and electronics over the first 3 days. Over the last two days participants concentrated on areas they were particularly interested in, or just did what was needed to finish the project.
The course was very hands on, albeit sprinkled with helpful wind power theory presentations.
In the wood work area, the blades were carved from lengths of 2”x6” white deal, as straight grained as possible. The design – as for the rest of the windmill – came from Hugh Pigott, a DIY wind power pioneer based in Scotland. Saw, hammer & chisel followed by drawknifes honed the blades down an aerodynamic shape. They were linseed oiled, sandwiched in plywood discs at the centre and screwed together.
In the metalwork area steel was cut and welded for the mounting, tower and tail vane. Many people learned to weld for the first time, with the local blacksmith and mechanics on the course to pass on their expertise.
In the electronics area participants soldered the control board, wound the copper coils, built the rotors, and set the coils in fibreglass to make the stator.
Up at the house, the site was surveyed for a suitable spot. Measurements on the ground followed by some trigonometry found the correct lengths of steel wire needed to support the turbine.
After a dry run in assembling and erecting the turbine, everything was taken apart and weather proofed by painting.
After lots of effort from the participants and V3, the turbine was set up on Sunday in a typical Mayo weather mix of sun, sleet and hailstone. There was great interest locally news having spread only by word of mouth.
For the camp house the new turbine gives us a greater electricity supply, and has consistently kept our battery bank well over 12volts since hooked up. It also means we can take our old small wind turbine to the camp when we set up again in the summer.
Most of all, the course brought people together and brought practical new skills to many of us. We now have more confidence in reclaiming control over our energy supply and how it is generated.
Big thanks to all involved: environmental NGO Gluaiseacht for funding, the participants for coming together to help power the Camp, V3 power for coming all the ways over, a good teaching ethic and for the finished product, local people for donating materials, Betty for showers, the Camp for catering & organising and Pat for the venue, help and resources at every stage of the course.
You can find out more about V3 HERE
Or you can look up more about the Hugh Pigotts design at his WEBSITE or see a video about his work HERE
More photos to follow!