Recently we got in touch with Charlie Coward who is on placement as group leader at Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School. Charlie told us about a project that he was working on with Wevolver to design a wind turbine based on their current vertical turbine. Here is where they got up to recently.
Wind Turbine Project
Over the last couple of months a small group of our students at Chatham and Clarendon Grammar school have come together to help aid a design company in their designing process where Wevolver have asked us to design a wind turbine based on their current vertical turbine . They have set us the task to develop and redesign the turbine so it can be more energy efficient and also possibly work horizontally. I am the group leader and am currently on a placement year at Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School from Bournemouth University running the 3D hub for the school and leading the students in their design process and acting as an overseer so that the students are able to work freely and develop their skills that can be later applied in university .
The designing of the turbine has been limited by the requirements needed, such as needing a dynamo to be housed inside it. In creating these difficulties, the students were encouraged to work around a problem, allowing them to think more about different solutions alongside understanding the industry and how these complications are solved on a larger scale. The concept is for a wind turbine that can charge a USB device and produce the optimum energy output to improve efficiency.
“ The project has really engaged the students, it is a challenging design task with real life clients ‘Wevolver’ who have supported the development of a student based solution” Tom Brewin
We are currently in the process of developing the turbine, the aim of which is that people are able to 3D print it in the home. This aim comes from the students finding a market to apply the product to, which they found helped them to narrow down the design needs and criteria, instead of creating a general wind turbine, no different to existing ones. As well as being created in the home, they decided to aim the wind turbine at campers and explorers. This was decided due to the lack of facilities available to charge a USB device when out camping or on expeditions in remote areas where there is no access to electricity. The market allowed us to have a continuous theme that we are designing our turbine around which is “portability”; allowing it to be carried around by the user. This means that the design has to be able to function as a turbine as well as a portable device that can be transported easily. This created more issues that students would have to look into such as weight and space issues effecting campers.
“Has been a great process working with the students passing my skills and knowledge to help develop them as designers” Charlie Coward
What’s next for us?
The students are continuing to develop the turbine, looking into ways in which the efficiency and electrical output created by the turbine can be improved. We are also looking to design the turbine so that it is simple to print for people in their homes, as well as for ourselves, in a way which is also well suited to the way that the 3D printer works.
We will then move on to 3D printing prototypes to see how different fittings work and how many parts we can 3D print without overcomplicating the design. In the meantime, we will make sure that parts needing more strength than PLA can be purchased in local hardware stores without any complications.
We’re really looking forward to how Charlie progresses with this collaboration, the project is a fantastic concept and we wish him and his colleagues the best of luck. Stay Tuned!