Mat's Windmill in Port Burwell Return to sustainability menu


The windmill while seemingly a simple looking thing, is actually quite complicated. You need to plan everything out very carefully... is the stator wound correctly for the blade expected RPM's, are the diodes going to burn up, will the windmill furl and not get freewheeling, is the whole thing strong enough to withstand the high winds we get here, Is the diversion loads correct, are the blades going to run at the correct tip rotation speed and not develop a lot of noise, is the wire sizes correct so as not to add too much resistance.. and on the list goes!. And do not forget about high wind speeds!!! I have discovered that it is important to inspect the windmill every month at least to clean the blades in summer.



December 1, 2012

Mat's windmill is currently up and doing well. There was an issue at one point where the tail of the windmill actually fell off. Lucily, it landed safley and no damage was done to the tail. Mat simply put it back on and it was running once again.


April 25, 2012

A rope wire is put on a section if tubes so the windmill won't wobble.



March 22, 2012

We're puting up the new windmill today! Mat and Will Arlow are getting the windmill all ready for raising.

Will doing the final work on the windmill, tightening.
And the raising begins! Mat cranking it up.
The windmill is rising off the ground!
Mat standing at far left of the picture in the back while Will cranks it up..
The windmill is rising higher!
Mat watches and helps as the Will raises the windmill to where it will stay.
The windmill is succesfully up!!




January 10, 2012

Will Arlow taking the windmill apart because the laminate on the rotar came off and Mat could hear the scraping sounds when it was up. If they didn't take it apart and repair it, the laminate could get on the magnets.

The windmill taken apart.
The rotar with the laminate worn off.
As you can see here, the one half is all worn down, and the magnets are visible here.


Curing the epoxy over ther heating. New fiberglass was put on.


December 1, 2011

Finishing the windmill.



November 23, 2011

Mat painted the windmill blades.




November 2, 2011

Putting the blades together in the wood shop to try them out.

We're fitting the windmill today. Mat is tightening the bolts.
Spinning the windmill and checking the voltage.
Mat chipping a circle in the plywood to fit over a piece that sticks out.
Sean and Darlene holding the windmill blades.
Mat and Sean adjusting it.
Mat tightening the bolts again and Sean carefully observes.




October 26, 2011

The plywood pieces that sandwhich the blades.



October 5, 2011

Mat standing beside the windmill blades that he is carving.

Chiseling on ther windmil blades.
Lots of hard work !!



September 21, 2011

More wood for the blades.

Mat planing more wood for the windmill.



September 14, 2011

One of the new windmil blades, these are much bigger than the first ones as you can see the comparison with Mat .

One of the blades clamped together to glue with epoxy glue.




August 31, 2011

The new windmill pieces (2) the rotar, and the stator.

Now he needs to make the blades.



June 7, 2011

Mat repairing the stator.



June 2, 2011

Mat goofed-up on the stator and while drilling a hole he hit some wires, so he had to do some repairs .



May 17, 2011

Some work done to these .

A closer look.



May 12, 2011

Mat soldering up the new stator .



May 3, 2011


These are the coils for the 24 volt new windmill . There's 52 turns of double strand 14 gauge .




April 19, 2011

The new stator mold.

Another view of the stator mold.
The new windmill built by Will Arlow.
One of the magnetic disk's for the 15' diameter blades.
The magnetic disk mold.


April 14, 2011

The windmill is stil up..




April 14, 2011

Mat making the Stator Mold ..


November 24 2009

Here is a update on the windmill its doing fine. You can not actually see it , but the windmill is going really fast, the camrea made it freeze. I'm watching it from the ground and I can hardly see it moving!!

Bayham finally realized that what i had been saying all along was actually true that the municipality cannot require a zoning change for my windmill and even sent a letter to confirm this!!!

Updated by Clare


Sept 11 2009. It has been two years that council granted me a temporary zoning for my windmill. Recently I recieved a letter from the Bayham Municipality asking for a Zoning change that would cost $2000. This does not have any assurance that it would be granted. Despite the fact that there have been numerous recomendations against requiring a zone change for a windmill and there is an impending Provincial Green energy act which will eleiminate the need for a zone change but Bayham has decided to ask me for a zoning change.
December 28, 2008. I have successfully left the windmill standing during all of the latest high wind speeds. So far it is fine. The blades do turn a small amount in the high gusts but do not spin up. This is qutie a relief since I was in the past just taking the winmdill down.
Blades tied for high winds.
November 8, 2011. Today there is forecast winds to 35 km. It is now 9:25 am and I am recording winds already gusting to 32 km per hour. The windmill can seem to handle it and I have in the last few minutes seen spikes to over 40 amps so I decided to see if the brake would hold over the next few hours with coming higher gusts. I have the winches ready should the brake not hold. I am needing to find a cutoff high windspeed that once crossed I will lower the windmill at this point I feel it should be about 35 kph to be safe.
On night of October 24, 2008 I encountered very high and violent winds that where not predicted.. I thought for sure something would be damaged but the system came out just fine. This had me thinking that in cases where I am caught off guard I should have a mechanical brake. I recorded bursts of 55 amps and even had one that just registered HI. I lowered the windmill to avoid the forcast high winds of 39km/hr for tomorrow did an inspection and found nothing abnormal..... Whewwww really had me worried.....
Sept 29, 2008. Mat ,making a new stator for the windmill. This was a big sucess! I also got the furling correct now too! I have increased my electrical output substanitally!
May 10, 2008 Bolting on the new aluminum tail. This did help but I need to lower the weight even more so I will make a new tail from only 1/4 inch plywood. I did happen to get a poor angle on the tail too.... it is no longer vertical and needs a little clockwise twist. This is very hard to adjust with the windmill on its side when lowered.
Here I am cutting down the iron pipe on the tail to replace it with aluminum. Removing this section of pipe lowered the weight of the tail so it would furl sooner.
The new tail I put on about april 26, 2008. I thought a better aspect ratio would help... and it does but the whole thing is too heavy so i will replace the metal tube with aluminum.
Windflow patterns on the blade.. interesting!
Dirt acculated on the blade.
Just about down. At this point I must be very careful not to set the windmill down on a blade!
Once the tower has leaned enough it then needs to be lowered from the ginpole winch.
The rigging at the Gin pole end. there are three pulleys.
The tower going down.
The winch pictured below pulls on the top wire opposite the gin pole lifting the gin pole to a point where it becomes top heavy and then the other winch takes over.
Sean came over to help me lower the windmill for maintenance.
This is rather a remarkable picture of the windmill just ready for pulling back upright.
The openings I put in the spinner. I depressed one side of the opening in hopes that it would force air in.
The stator slightly fried... but it still works! I actually moved the magnets away from the stator and put a hole through the propellor and opened up the spinner to allow air to flow in the middle of the generator. This got fried because I threw on the brake when it was producing maximum amps......dumn thing to do mat!
Just 2.8 amps being produced by the windmill at this moment but I have seen peaks of 46 amps!@!! Most of the time it is about 10- 25 amps.
The windill has been up one week! Back up and running. I'm feeling a lot easier about it now, again a learning expereince and I will go on to make another windmill and set of blades to refine what I have done.
I wound a shim of brass held by the straps so that the slop was taken out. Seemed to work!
Feb 18, 2008 The windmill was lowered so I could inspect it carefully. So far pretty good!
The windmill and solar cells taken from the roof of the barn.
The tower is up and the blades are turning!
This was a bit nerve wracking but it went up with no hitches. Took about 20 minutes to lower and about 30 minutes to put back up with the wind turbine on the top.
Feb 13, 2008 Finally the day to put the wind turbine on the top of the tower, here is the wind turbine installed ready to lift up!
The tower down. So far this is a very simple operation and if anything could be improved I could add an electric motor to the process of lifting the tower. But the effort needed is really quite small and it just takes time. Overall a real success. Now to get the windmill up there.... on another sunny day soon.
The cable is pulled through with the help of Rich the Dutchman who arrived just in time to help.
Quite a balancing act! But lowering the tower was so easy....
In the forefront is my winch system which I must say worked superbly! It really pays to spend a lot of time in the design process. Better to make changes on paper before constructing anything. Note the tilted tower. I'm sure that many people driving by thought that the high winds that happend yesterday just toppled the tower!
Balancing the blades
Jan 25 2008. I had quite a time getting the blades off after epoxying the blades on but a little heat did wonders.
Jan 23, 2008 Adding wieghts to balance the blades.
Jan 15, 2008. A trial fit and it looks good!
Jan 14, 2008. OK they fit together but the big problems is that I can't put them together in the shop since the entire set of blades will not go out the door.
Jan 14, 2008. The blades have been covered with fiberglass and then a light coating of filler put on to smooth things out.
Jan 8, 2008 I have added a little piece to the blades to aid in better efficiency at low speeds. I have left the fiberglass molds as the repair I did will nto work well. It is not a total loss so i will repair it later.
Jan 8, 2008 Yes those blades are starting to look good but I do realize it may take a few blades before I get the correct noise level I can stand.
Yes a couple of hours doing this on each blade. I have really enjoyed the physical exercise.
Using the spoke shave I haven't used for about 20 years. Took a while to find the correct tool for the job but I found it and after cursing the guy who sharpened the blade 20 years ago (was me of course) decided he actually knew what he was doing and it worked perfectly! There is a lot of hard work planning the blades down but I do enjoy this type of physical work.
Planing the cut out blades. Lots of noise and dust! The sawdust and shavings are all recycled in the composting toilet... I'll be eating them as carrots next year.. quite a thought!
Dec 30, 2007 I have also started some wooden blades as I am having some difficulties with the mold for the fiberglass blades..... and besides I'm waiting till they cure thoroughly. I do have the feeling that my fiberglass mold will not be suitable after my mishap. I will haveto have different sets of blades to try get the most efficient.
Dec 29, 2007. Gluing up the windmill blades with epoxy. I could not find any basswood thick enough so I glued two 1 inch pieces together.
Dec 16, 2007 -All done and curing. Unfortunately the mold did not break apart along the seams. So I'm having to repair it.
Applying the gel coat. I let this cure until quite tacky then apply a coat of epoxy then lay down layers of cloth.
I applied the mold release.... the liquid on the right in the greeish bottle. The plug is somewhat coloured green from this application.
Dec 17, 2007 -I am busy waxing the plug. I waxed it three times and then over this I will apply a mold release.
Letting the top half of the mold cure!
Applying the fiberglass cloth to the lower half of the mold
Applying the gel coat Dec 15, 2007
OK things are coming together, I've made the tail!!... I robbed the stand from one of my tables. Gotta get those blades done now that I have the diversion load water heaters.
Dec 5, 2007 The micro balloons on the surface .. I will sand down this layer then hopefully this will be my plug from which I can make my mold.
Use of kitchen utensils for holding it straight while curing in front of the biodiesel stove.
OK the only warm place is the you can see maming blades of composite construction is making it very difficult in many ways.
Nov 29, 2007

Was up on the roof of the barn adjusting the solar panels and took this picture of the windmill tower.

Smoothing out the resin with a credit card.
The foam is covered with fiberglass and epoxy resin., note the imbedded carbon spar.
Putting the spar in the faom blade
The blade shape for the front of the blade
Shaping the front side of the blade with a turkey knife.
The basic out line
Nov 28, 2007. OK time to get making the blades. Yes they are made from foam with a carbon rod spar.

November 2007

Again looking toward the house...Had to alert some low flying geese about this new tower seems that word hasn't got out to them yet.

Yes thats how tall it looks!!!! Now to get the windmill up there.
Looking across the parking lot with the gin Pole Down and the tower up.
Looking towards the house with the woodowkring shop on the right and the large Barn on the left.
And finally its up~! Yes I did not take any pictures of the nerve wracking setting up of the Gin pole but it all worked fine except for one wire which mat cut too short!
This is how the wires attach to each 20 foot section
Looking down the anchor lines... yes this is a tall one~!
Gads this is long!
About time Mat showed up and do some work!
Ray again doing his welding thing
This is the Gin pole getting lined up
This is the top of the tower

October 2007

This is Ray again doing the welding.

Mat using the mill to bore out the 3.5 inch holes for the rings that the guy wires attach to.
Ray, constatnly monitoring my inexperience on the metal lathe.
This is what it looks like. The ring fits over the coupling
Ray making some cuts for the bottom plug of the tower.
More of Mat on the mill machine.
Mat is actually standing still for hours on end!@!!
This is the base of the tower. A rather hefty item indeed. Although I designed most of it it was Ray who made it really functional.
The finished cement pad.
finishing off the cement pad.
Mat Busy spreading the cement.
the winch columns where tied together with a 6 inch reinforced pad.
Will enjoyed the cement making. I had quite a time deciding whether to call in ready mix or do it ourselves. Doing it ourwelves actually proved better since we where able to do two columns a day.
Yes there where onlookers.
Mat used the inverted big foot to fill the columns with cement.
I have a two winch system, one to raise it the other to lower it once the gin pole pulls the tower over center. All anhors and columns are filled with reinforcing bar.
The lines crossed at our tower base.
Part of the difficulty was getting them perfectly vertical and lined up with one another.
There is Will digging out the bottom. In the background is the column and the big foot!
These anchors where about 6 ft deep to the hard clay with a 2 ft diameter bigfoot attached.
After a long session to get permission from the bayham municipality, to build a pilot project windmill we first dug wells or should I say holes for the cement columns.
Casting the stator in epoxy
The copper coils ready to be fixed in epoxy
Winding the coils