An electric generator
is a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. In
a generator, a moving magnet will push the free electrons in a
conductor back and forth. Movements of electrons along a conductor
are called electricity. Since in this type of electricity electrons
swing back and forth, we also call it alternative electricity and
show it with symbol AC. Home electricity is an AC electricity with
frequency of about 50 Hertz; In other words, electrons swing back
and fort 50 times per second.
In a wooden generator,
the main structure is made of wood. The only non wooden parts are
the magnet and the wire.
The following images show all the steps of making this generator.
Inspect the parts in your
kit to make sure that you have all the parts shown in the
Compare the size of the
four rectangular pieces. Two of them are about 1/6" smaller.
Start making a wooden box
as described below:
Use one large square balsa wood and one large rectangle.
Apply some wood glue to the bottom side of one of the
rectangles and attach it to one side of the large square.
Now, take one of the smaller rectangles and apply some wood
glue to bottom, left, and right sides of the rectangle. Now,
properly place it on the square as shown on the image to the
right. This piece should glue to the large square and the
previous rectangle when done correctly.
Next, take a third rectangle which should be one of the
larger rectangles and glue the bottom, right, and left sides
of this rectangle. Place it on the square so it is parallel
to the other large rectangle that you attached in the first
Apply some glue to the bottom,
left, and right side of the last rectangle and complete your
box. Make final adjustments while your box is on a flat
place the other large square on the top and place a weight
on it. A small cup can be used as a weight. Do one more
final adjustment if needed. Make sure that the temporary
large square will not stick to the rest of the box at this
time. Wait about two hours for the glue to dry.
(Prevent excess glue, or place a piece
of 4" x 4" paper between the box and temporary large square)
Insert the magnet in the hole of the wooden dowel as shown
in the picture to the right. Center it and use some glue to
secure it. When inserting the magnet, hold the thick part of
the wooden dowel to protect it from breaking.
The magnet and wooden dowel
together will form the rotor for your electric generator.
Insert your wooden dowel into
the hole at the center of the square box that you have
constructed. At this time the magnet should be inside the
To complete the box, place the other large square on top of
the other square so that the wooden dowel extends out of the
hole at the top of the square. So that the square will be
permanently attached to the box, apply some glue to the
edges of the square and wait for the glue to dry. You now
have a box with a magnet that can turn both clock and
counter clockwise when the extended part of the wooden dowel
|The final box
should look similar to the picture to the right.
Leave about one foot of the magnet
wire and then proceed to wrap the magnet wire around the box. Be
sure to begin wrapping at least 1 foot in from the beginning of the
wire or else you will run into a problem later on. Wrap the wire
loosely so that the box will not be crushed. Be sure to wrap the
wire at least 200* time or more. 300
turns is the average. More wire in the coil results in more
electricity and a more powerful generator.
The stator is about 300
loops of continuous insulated wire that you wrap around the
box, close to the center.
When the magnet wire is finished,
leave another one foot wire unwrapped at the other end just as you
did in the beginning of the wire.
* With 200 turns of
wire the amount of electricity is too low to light up any light. If
you want to get light, use all the wire that comes in your kit.
Twist the two ends of the wire so
the wire does not unwind. You may also use some masking tape to keep
the wires in place. Note that the wire has an invisible insulation,
so coppers are not touching each other when you wrap them or twist
them over each other.
Remove about one inch of insulation off the two ends of the
wire coil. Insulation can be removed using a sand paper or
any other sharp object. Bare copper wire has a distinct
metallic color that will be observed after you remove the
two ends to the two screws of the bulb holder. To do this
you must first loosen the screws, place the bare wire under
the screws, and then tighten the screws.
Screw the light bulb on the
This generator worked
perfect. I got the light just by turning the dowel by my
|In this model
I am using a 1.2 volts light bulb. I have 150 loops of wire
in either side of the dowel. That is all the wire (250 feet)
that comes in the kit.
TEST YOUR WOODEN GENERATOR!
You are finally done with your wooden generator. The final
product should look somewhat like the image to the right. To
test your wooden generator, spin the axis (wooden dowel)
quickly to see the light.
|If you are not
able to spin the wooden dowel fast enough, you will probably
get no light or a flicker of light that is too dim to even
see. You can try spinning it faster by using an electric
drill, however, doing this might spin it so fast that your
light bulb may possibly burn.
|You can get
small amounts of light just by turning the axis of your
generator by hand. However an adult may also try to spin the
axis using another motor such as a drill.
for turning the rotor is using bow (an arc and a cotton
string). Simply connect a few pieces of wood to make an arc
like structure. Connect two ends of the arc using a cotton
string. This string must be fully stretched when it goes
around the wooden dowel.
|Place the end
of the wooden dowel on the string and twist it such that the
string turns around the wood dowel (axis of your generator).
Hold the motor by one hand
and the arc in the other hand. By pushing the arc back and
forth, you should be able to spin the axis fast enough for
the light to come up.
I think any
wooden stick can be used for this purpose and it does not
have to be in the form of an arc. Try it!
Historically this method
has been used to run some kinds of hand drills. Craft men
have used arc strings to make holes on wood, metal and
experimental Science Project?
Click here to see how you
can use a wooden generator in your experimental science project with
question, hypothesis, and variables.