Given that the last AwesomeShop covered the basics of generators, it was time for some practical application. Using some basic kits purchased from our friends at Kidwind along with some recycled cardboard and hot glue, we built our own mini wind turbines. Because the materials are so simple, cheap, and easy to tear down and rebuild, we were able to quickly experiment with homegrown blade designs and arrangements in order to generate the most wattage possible.
I did my best to provide only barebones instruction. I simply laid out the parts on a table, and asked the makers to go for it based on what they had seen and heard of wind turbines. In this way, the makers learned more by their own trial and error as well as the trial and error of others, and less by dictation of designs and concepts by a “teacher.”
We generated a chart of outputs for each turbine, and used the chart to discussed blade design/arrangement and its associated output. This made things a bit competitive, but in a healthy way. The makers shared designs and ideas, and worked together to help each other understand which designs would work best.
One of my favorite parts of this AwesomeShop was our decision to have the class outside! It was a beautiful day after all, so why not? It is fun to make things together with others, but even more so to do it in the open air on a gorgeous day!