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by Kailash NR


A generator is a device that converts motive power into electrical power for use in an external circuit. It is how the majority of the world's electricity is generated. In this guide, we will make a simple generator using ferrite magnets.

    • Scissors and cutters have functional sharp edges. Contact may result in injury. Always keep blades away from fingers and body. Handle with care.

    • Take care while making holes in the ice-cream sticks as they may split in half.

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  1. Start by cutting off the curved ends of an ice cream stick.
    • Start by cutting off the curved ends of an ice cream stick.

    • Using a ruler and pen, mark out two lengths of 2.2 cm each and two of 3.2 cm each.

    • Cut along your markings to get two small (2.2 cm) pieces and two slightly longer (3.2 cm) pieces.

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    • Using a pen, mark out the centres of the 2.2 cm pieces. This can be done by drawing diagonals.

    • Using scissors, make holes where the centres were marked. The holes need to be large enough to fit the straw.

    • Cut the straw in half.

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    • Insert the straw pieces into the holes in the sticks and glue them in place. The straws should be perpendicular to the sticks and jutting out slightly on the other side of the sticks.

    • Apply glue to the edges of the longer pieces.

    • Assemble the sections into a box with the short pieces in between the longer ones.

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    • Once the glue dries, cut off 1.5 cm off the end of one of the straw sleeves. This will be the back of the generator.

    • Insert the spoke through the straw pieces and make sure it spins freely.

    • Glue the magnet on the spoke (in the box) and use ice-cream stick pieces as spacers. Make sure the magnet is straight and centred on the spoke

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    • Glue the second magnet onto the first one, on the other side of the spoke. The magnets should attract each other and help keep it together till the glue sets.

    • Once dry spin the rotor and make sure it has the clearance to spin freely.

    • Take two 6 cm x 6 cm squares of cardboard and using a paper cutter, cut out a 2 cm x 3 cm window into the centre of each.

    • Apply glue onto the top edge of the ice-cream stick `box'.

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    • Place the window of one of the cardboard squares over the magnets, such that the edges of the window stick to the edges of the box.

    • Flip the frame onto the other side and apply glue to that side as well.

    • Stick the other cardboard piece on this edge in a similar fashion to the other one.

    • Ensure the rotor still moves freely. If not, carefully trim the cardboard windows.

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    • Using scissors, make a hole on the cardboard near the wooden frame.

    • Pull the loose end of the copper roll into the hole. This will serve as the start of the coil.

    • Add some glue and glue the wire end to the cardboard; this will prevent the wire breaking during winding.

    • Start winding the coil, making sure to add some glue to it from time to time, to prevent it from unwinding.

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    • Once the winding is almost done, glue the coil in place on the generator.

    • Make another hole for the wire next to the first one and pass the other end of the coil through it.

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    • Cut the excess cardboard that is jutting out beyond the coil. Take care not to cut the coil.

    • Using a paper cutter, scrape the insulation off the ends of the coil.

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    • Strip the insulation off the ends of two wires; each wire is about 15 cm in length.

    • Connect the wires to the ends of the coil.

    • Cover each of the joints with tape and tape both the wires together. This will secure the joints and make sure they don't short.

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    • Attach the wires to the body of the generator with a bit of tape.

    • Place two LEDs back to back such that the positive (longer) lead of one LED overlaps with the negative (shorter) of the other.

    • Twist the two overlapping leads together and connect each wire from the generator to one pair of LED legs.

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    • Spin the spoke fast with your fingers and the LEDs should glow when the spoke is rotated fast enough!

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    • If the magnets are too small for the box, take it apart and add ice cream stick pieces to the edges of the sides to increase its width.

    • If the coil breaks during winding, scrape the insulation off the cut ends and twist them back to together.

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    • Do the LEDs switch on simultaneously?

    • Do you think the LEDs stay lit for the entire duration of the magnets spin?

    • Does changing the direction of rotation change anything about the LEDs Lighting?

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    • One can cut a plastic bottle in half and further cut the half into strips to make fins. This can be attached to the rotor via a bottle cap. this makes an effective wind turbine.

    • Try the generator with only one magnet attached. How does this effect the characteristics of the generator?

    • The magnets can be replaced all together with neodymium magnets. These magnets are stronger for a given mass than ferrite magnets.

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Finish Line

Kailash NR

Member since: 05/02/2017

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76 Guides authored


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