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Non electric ceiling fans- belt driven- perpetual motion  RSS feed

 
Li Lee
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Prior to electric, ceiling fans were belt driven. The only authentic belt driven system I've seen, a crank handle outside the restaurant that looked like a crank on a model-A got it going.
When it stopped, someone went out and cranked it to get it going again. The fans were set up so they provided the energy to run other fans that also fed back to the first fan like a perpetual motion system.

One of these systems to operate a single ceiling fan costs about $1500 with the two parts. They appear to be only be made in Thailand now days.

Has anyone seen any plans on how to make one of these out of easy to come by recycled parts?



 
Dale Hodgins
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Perpetual motion, implies that it never stops. Something that needs regular energy input, is not called that.

Generally, perpetual motion is the stuff of YouTube wing nuts.
 
jimmy gallop
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Just from what you wrote I suspect a wind up thing with a spring like a clock only larger, or music box.
 
Devin Lavign
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Really folks, getting bogged down with the OP's use of "perpetual motion" He clearly understands it was not actually perpetual. I think he just didn't know a better word for it.

I am guessing your referencing stuff like this OP.

From Asbury Park Discovery Center




Gear mechanism for that one





That last image comes from a DIY chat room discussing this topic.

http://www.diychatroom.com/f97/non-electric-ceiling-fan-39017/index2/

While still electric these belt driven fans could possibly be made into a nonelectric form





Honestly I think it is an interesting (avoiding the pun of cool when discussing fans) idea. It would be a wonderful way to get air flow going in an off grid home. I would be interested to find out if someone knows how these fans work.
 
Li Lee
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Here's a link that shows one working.


Here is a whole wood shop ran on 1 engine (they were single cylinder engines) and belts and pulleys.



This is like 1880 - 1890 technology prior to running things like lathes on electric.
We seem to have lost this technology which is unfortunate because people off the grid like me
could use this without even having to pay for solar.


Thanks for the warning, I might be booted off the site due to my name. Li is a real first name.
That's okay if I'm kicked off the site. Since posting this earlier today, I've found the plans!
 
Devin Lavign
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Li Lee wrote:Since posting this earlier today, I've found the plans!


Where did you find the plans, do share. The DIY forum thread was having a heck of a time finding anything on how to build one, they even got interest from some Georgia Tech students to try and build one, but the teacher got all "information must be kept confidential and any innovation from the school is school owned etc".
 
Devin Lavign
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BTW this one



was an art piece by Steven Kessels called Ventilator: Movement, time and weight (above)

Project text English: The blades of this device are based on the wings of an airplane, its operating mechanism on ancient clockwork. The combination of old and new techniques makes the ventilator a beautiful wall or ceiling ornament.

From what a read it would run for just over an hour after cranking it.
 
Li Lee
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Give me a month to see if it'll work. Then maybe I'll sell the plans cheap enough.
 
Rhys Firth
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Back in the dark days those things probably ran all the time with an old fella with a bad suntan who could no longer keep up with field work sitting outside cranking while the white fellas sat inside with their rum and brandies.




That artwork one looks pretty cool, pun intended, but toothed wheels may be a bit difficult to source, but any good engineering shop should manage to find larger diameter V belt pullies.
 
Li Lee
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In that Dover publication that has old farm tools there is a photo of a animals on treadmills and horses walking in circles trying to get the carrot dangling in front of them.
 
R Scott
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They aren't that hard to build. A couple pillow block bearings and pulley and hub. Hard part is the drive, but the ones I helped build used an electric motor, they were only built to LOOK old. I have seen them run from water wheels, windmills, steam, engines, you name it.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Perpetual motion, implies that it never stops. Something that needs regular energy input, is not called that.

Generally, perpetual motion is the stuff of YouTube wing nuts.


@Dale - Haha, well said : )
 
Gilbert Fritz
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Old church clocks were weight driven. I guess with enough weight, one could keep these things running for a while. I'm wondering about my off grid greenhouse; we badly need ventilation. I can get out there every morning to "wind" the thing, but it would need to run at least 12 hours to make it worth it.
 
Alex Riddles
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The mechanism doesn't look all that complicated. It's a variation on a grand father clock. Look at the picture of the gears on the wall posted by Devin Levign you can see the handle used to wind it up. When this is done there is a spool that is wound with the cable you see coming in from above. In the picture of the whole fan you can see the other end of the cable anchored to the wall near the ceiling (to the left in the picture). The weights hanging below have a pulley on top and there is another pulley mounted near the ceiling. When the fan is wound up the weights are near the ceiling. When the fan is started and the weights very slowly fall they pull the cable off that spool. The gears set the fan speed.

There are plenty of online plans for grand father clocks that show the details.
 
Matthew Nistico
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Likely problem with a clockwork-style mechanism is the total available energy. A hanging weight represents potential energy, which can convert to mechanical energy to run the clock as the weight falls under gravity. But with both gravity and the weight's mass being constant, the potential energy it embodies is a finite number based directly on how far it can fall. A mechanical clock works for hours at a time before the weight hits bottom and its potential energy is spent, but only because the clockwork mechanism meters out that finite amount of potential energy a tiny little bit at a time, only letting the weight fall a mm or less with each click of the gears.

That's fine for a clock, which only requires a tiny amount of energy to move its gears and hands forward. But a ceiling fan must move large volumes of air, which will consume vast amounts of energy, at least compared to a clock. This could be achieved by letting the weight fall more quickly, but then it only lasts for a short period. One simply must start with more potential energy to power a more energy-intensive machine, like a fan. Since one can't increase gravity, one can only use a heavier weight and/or let it fall a longer distance.

The longer distance is going to be limited by the height of a room's ceiling. The heavier weight is possible, but then you have to raise that heavy weight up to the ceiling to provide it the potential energy, so there is an upward limit to how heavy it can be.

A spring-powered clock is the same basic equation: by winding the spring you provide the potential energy, which is released a tiny bit at a time. To power a fan, a clock spring would need to unwind very fast in order to release the necessary energy, and be spent all too quickly. To start with more potential energy, you would need a very heavy spring and would spend a lot of time winding it.

Considering the off-grid greenhouse application, if one has a very tall weightfall and is willing to lift a heavy mass to that height, it could work. Would it work for 12 hours? Who knows; only experimentation would tell (or some very complex math that I can't imagine taking on). But there is another problem: traditional clockwork uses ratcheting gears to time the release of the potential energy, one "click" at a time. The hands move forward a tiny bit with each click. But a ceiling fan is a smoothly operating device with continual motion. I'm not sure how one would convert the momentary bursts of mechanical energy provided by the clockwork into a steady flow of energy to power the fan's drive belt. I'm sure it could be done mechanically, but simply studying a grandfather clock's design might not get you there.
 
Alex Riddles
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Matthew Nistico is right that the grand father clock design is just a starting point for a fan design. We would have to deviate from the clock design in two fundamental areas.

First in a clock the potential energy of the weight is geared down to at most one revolution per hour in the case of the minute hand. This is how they are able to run for 8 days on a single winding. In the case of kessels ventilator it is geared up. I put a scale on that photo of the gear set and if appears each revolution of the cable spool would produce 64 revolutions of the output shaft. I'm estimating a 4 to 1 ratio on each of three gears. Kessels ventilator would run for about 1 hour on a winding according to information posted on line.

Second the ratchet and pendulum assemblies would be of no use driving a fan and could be left out. In the case of the ventilator the speed is controlled by a balance between the cable tension and aerodynamic drag on the fan blades. The formula for aerodynamic drag on a wing is:

D = 0.5 * Cd * r * V^2 * A

Where

D =drag

Cd = coefficient of drag. ( this is dictated by the design of the wing)

r = air density

V = velocity of the wing through the air

A = area of the wing

This is an over simplification because in the case of a rotating fan blade the tip is moving much faster than the root and the algebra problem becomes a calculus problem.

A much easier way to work this out is by controlling the cable tension. That weigh in the pictures has a pulley on the top. For every inch it drops 2 inches of cable are pulled off the spool. This is a simple block and tackle. The are three factors that are easy to control: 1) the height to which you can raise the weight. 2) the weight (mass) you are raising and 3) the number of loops in your block and tackle. If I were to attempt this I would use a big container of water as the weight. I assume there is water available in a greenhouse. This would also be an easy way to control the fan speed. In the back of my mind I'm thinking water could be trickled into the container causing the fan to speed up for the hottest part of the day.

So cable tension controls fan speed and the length of cable pulled off the spool controls how long the fan runs.
 
Bobby Clark Jr
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when the container of water gets to the bottom it could be dumped, raised back to the top, then refilled with a simple hand pump. You could use a good sized container this way. Or just use a block and tackle and/or a hand boat winch. This something I have played with in my mind for years, life keeps getting in the way seems like, but now that y'all have brought it up maybe I will get on with it! Somehow the fan or something needs to create enough drag to keep the weight from free falling too fast. Will be watching for more ideas.
 
John Wolfram
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It would be way more work than some of the other options but an animal, such as a Turnspit dog, could be used to power the belt driven system rather than an elevated weight.

 
Peter George
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"This is like 1880 - 1890 technology prior to running things like lathes on electric.
We seem to have lost this technology which is unfortunate because people off the grid like me
could use this without even having to pay for solar."

The Amish and Old Order Mennonites STILL have belt-driven machine shops that power everything from farming to woodworking to metal roofing manufacturing, and often outcompete their competition.
 
Michael Heath
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If you have a 54th Street Station restaurant nearby, take a look there.  They run around 5 or 6 fans from a single belt and pulley system.  It probably has an electric motor hidden somewhere, but the fans and the belt set-up in motion can generate ideas.
 
D. Logan
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With a little digging, I found two relevant documents. The first seems to be breaking down how the clockwork mechanisms work on a weight pulley system, which could be a good starting point. The second document is a 3D printed clock. Again it might be a good place to start looking in to how the mechanisms function. As an aside, it might be possible to commission the person who designed the printed clock to also design a similar system for use with a ceiling fan.

Clockwork Document

Printed Clock
 
                            
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In regards to the green house vent. There is a coil of metal on my wood stove that automatically opens the vent, allowing more air into the stove when it gets cool and closes the vent when it gets too hot. It would be simple to make one for a green house vent. It would just need a cantilever between the coil and vent door ( to reverse the function) and a much larger coil. I've actually seen these on some of the old factories upper windows when I was younger. (Old textile mills here in New England) Never gave it much thought till now.

Personally I'm all for a 12 volt earth battery charging up an old car battery that powers an old treadmill motor that runs a belt to the fan. or a 100 watt inverter to powers a normal ceiling fan. Could use a low voltage switch to limit the power used when inverter isn't needed. Most of the parts could be re-purposed things that others throw away. Or use the gears and weight with a solar powered winch to raise the weight whenever it hits bottom.

 
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