Greengineering Club Projects

Current Project: Windmill charging station

Challenge: How can we build a windmill that people can use to charge their cell phones, while using only re-engineered materials that we find/scavenge/hack?

Concepts involved:
  • Material re-engineering (cradle-to-cradle design thinking)
  • Alternative power
  • Community action
  • The Hacking/Maker culture

Evolution of the design: Our first thought was to use a fan as a template, because the shape is similar to a windmill. But, its area was small, so we used cardboard blades to keep its curved shape, while being able to capture more wind.

The initial design for the windmill.

Unfortunately, our goal is to have the windmill produce 5 volts. So far, it's only producing half that. We decided to try a new material, plastic bottles.
3 examples of flattened 2-Liter plastic bottles.
Out attempts to fuse multiple flattened bottles together into a sheet.

An alligator? No, a laminating press we use to flatten the bottles. Heat and pressure do the trick.
Another shot of a lamination press, and the shop at large.

We use a laminating press to apply pressure to the plastic bottles, while also heating them up to make them more malleable. This creates a small but stiff sheet of plastic. We are trying to fuse several of these togther into a sheet, which can then be crafted into a blade. This solves two problems that cardboard had: one, that it was too easy to bend out of the curved shape, and two that it was susceptible to water damage. While flattening simple plastic bottles, some people had the idea of stuffing them with the plastic bags that we already use:
Platics bottles stuffed with plastic bags, then pressed. In these cases, the fused bags were taken out of the bottles, and are on their own.