While we can all agree that solar energy is an attractive venture all around–harnessing the power of our sun, radiating its powerful and free energy down upon us–it’s just not always that easy to attain. Where do we buy the contraptions, how do we use those, and how do we afford purchases, installations, and more? Combined with 3D printing, that’s all up to you.
With the opportunity to make something like a 3D printed solar motor, you become the user, designer, and manufacturer all in one. Reaping the rewards of engineering by Shapeways designer marciovas, you can make a fully-functioning 3D printed Mendecino Motor (and if you’re in the EU, the files are available via Sculpteo).
“It makes me dream,” says marciovas of his solar creation, which he stresses as a DIY project that allows you to analyze the fundamentals of a motor. All of the central parts are available on Shapeways, and marciovas states that he purchased everything in total for an extremely affordable amount.
The total list of parts is as follows:
- 2 main neodyme magnets (possible diameter of 35mm)
- *5mm or 40*20*5mm magnets
- 4 neodyme magnets diameter 4mm * 10 mm
- 10 neodyme magnets exterior diameter 15mm, interior diameter 6mm, 6mm thickness
- 1 aluminum pipe exterior diameter 6mm; interior diameter 4mm, 17 cm length
- 3D printed Point of Mendocino Solar Engine
- 2 enameled copper coils diam 0.4mm, 180°C, and 20 turns each one
- 1 non-magnetic smooth sheet 30*30*2mm or 1 mini mirror 30*30*2mm
- 4 monocrystalline resign solar cells 0.5v 250ma 65*20*3mm
The first solar cell is linked to the second cell and then wired to two ends of a 20-turn coil. In the tutorial, you can get a good feel for laying out all the necessary tools, seeing the pieces, and then actually fitting them together. Marciovas explains the wiring concisely, and includes drawings as well, which are helpful in further understanding the solar motor. It’s important to take special care with the different sizes of magnets as they can become unwieldy. You will need a few peripheral supplies like tape and sandpaper but the creator of this project leads you through in a very enjoyable manner.
These motors are said to be great gifts as well as educational tools. The main piece, 3D printed from Shapeways, retails at $60, and is 3D printed in white matte nylon plastic with a texture that is slightly rough. The parts all fit together easily, and marciovas provides a very helpful tutorial video for assembly.
Discuss your thoughts on this solar contraption in the 3D Printed Solar Motor forum thread over at 3DPB.com. You can watch a long video below demonstrating the build process with explanations.