Tuesday, September 14, 2010


On our recent trip to the Sierras, we ran into friends and blog followers Dale and Lynne in Lee Vining. Lynne asked me if I ever got my windmill up. The short answer is no, but the project is coming along nicely. You can read the original post about obtaining the windmill here:

Now for the update. After about two weeks of soaking in WD-40, followed by banging, tapping, twisting and swearing, Duane and I managed to force the last gears off of the main shaft. After 40 years of neglect sitting in the previous owner’s yard, there was considerable rust. Once everything was apart, I took an inventory of what parts could be reused and what couldn’t. Even though the windmill is a 1933 model, the Aeromotor Windmill Company is still in business in Texas and parts are available. There is also a manual written by a windmill enthusiast (see, I’m not the only one who nuts) that explains the workings and the assembly of the Model 702 Windmill. So with a phone call to the parts department, the needed items along with the book were ordered.


When the parts arrived, the motor actually went back together relatively easy and the shaft turned freely. Next the motor went on the tower which is propped up in the back yard. This is where things got difficult. The wheel is attached to the hub (shaft) with spokes much like a bicycle wheel and the vanes are attached to the spokes. Because some things were bent, having spent 40 years on the ground, they just didn’t want to cooperate. Try as I might, I couldn’t get all the vanes on as it appeared the spokes to which they must attach were too short.



So I invited Duane (remember him, he’s the engineer) over for a consultation. He studied the problem while I told him of my difficulty. We discussed several different possible solutions, including buying a whole new set of vanes and spokes. Everything I suggested included forcing and bending something. After thinking on it for about 20 minutes Duane said while rubbing his chin, “Hell Dana, we’ll just make the spokes longer”.

You see Duane’s a welder too. So he, (I helped a little) cut the threaded ends off of the spokes and welded longer threaded ends on and waala, the vanes went on and the wheel came together.



While all this was going on and in my free time, I was preparing the site where the windmill would be located. Now when I bought this thing, I wanted a spot where I could watch it spin while sitting in my favorite chair. Before you knew it, neighbors Willie and Patty said they would like it in a place where they too could watch it go around. Then Betts, another neighbor chimed in and said what about me? In an effort to please everyone, it will be placed on Willie and Patty’s property. This is ok with me, because if it ever falls down on the power lines, then it will be Willies’ windmill. Anyway, I was digging the footings by hand and Willie stopped by to see how things were going. When he saw the depth of my handy work, he said, “Make them deeper”. So, because even I don’t want it to fall on the power lines, the footings were made 4 feet deep. Son Gary took pity on me and helped me pour the concrete footings on one extremely hot and sunny day and the site is ready.


We are at a stopping point now as the next item on the agenda is to actually set the thing up. This will take a crane as it must be lifted up and over a fence to its’ final resting place. Who’s got the crane, Willie of course. The problem is Willie is out of town for about six weeks.


Nick Saraceni said...

Awesome. I'm guessing this thing isn't powering anything or actually pulling water out of the ground, right?

Gassaway's Adventures said...

That's right Nick, it's just for my enjoyment.