In January 2005, Green Loops ran a course on the construction of an 'axial flux alternator wind turbine', taught by Hugh Piggot and following one of his designs. Ten people took part in the week long course, which was held in the Jump Ship Rat gallery in Jamaica Street, Liverpool. It was run with assistance of funding from the Workers Education Association.
In May 2002 we had run a similar course in which we made a turbine following Hugh's old design based on the brake drum of a Ford Transit and using recycled and reclaimed materials.
The new 'Axial Flux' design uses the bearing hub from a Ford Cavalier, is smaller, lighter and more powerful than the old design. It consists of two rotor disks, rotating either side of a stator. The rotors each contain 12 powerful neodymium magnets, mounted on a steel disk and set in epoxy resin. The stator consists of 10 copper wire coils cast in resin. The three turbine blades were hand carved from pine from old school gym bars. The whole alternator and blades unit is mounted into a yaw bearing which allow the windmill to sit on top of the pole and turn to face the wind, with the help of a tail vane attached on the back. The tail is weighted, angled and hinged in such a way that in very strong winds it will furl the whole unit away from the wind, preventing damage caused by excessive speeds.
The turbine is designed to have very low starting torque, meaning it can start in low winds and produce useful power. Maximum power is 500Watts under normal conditions, but it is capable of producing more than 1000Watts for short periods.