Wooden Generator


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 How to make a Wooden Electric Generator?


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.

Kit content:

Inspect the parts in your kit to make sure that you have all the parts shown in the picture.

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 step.
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 surface.
Temporarily 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 box.
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 is spun.
The final box should look similar to the picture to the right.

The stator is about 300 loops of continuous insulated wire that you wrap around the box, close to the center.

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. 

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 insulation. 
Connect 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 base.

This generator worked perfect. I got the light just by turning the dowel by my fingers (fast). 

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. 

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.
Another method 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 ceramic pieces.

Doing an experimental Science Project?

Click here to see how you can use a wooden generator in your experimental science project with question, hypothesis, and variables.

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