miniature golf windmill

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phyduex
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miniature golf windmill

Post by phyduex » Thu Mar 24, 2005 2:51 am

Hello. I'm new here. I read "the topic is topics" thread, I'll try not to dissapoint anyone.
I need to construct the classic miniature golf windmill. My talents lie in wood construction; I'm a blithering idiot when it comes to mechanical engineering or electricity. The blades of the windmill will be 1/4 in. plywood so estimated weight is 5 pounds (I can change that if need be. So long as the suggested material can be smacked with a ball and live through it). I need to rig a motor (somehow) to turn the blades (3ft circle of plywood cut into "fanblade" shape) fairly slow. It can be battery powered (if there's a way to keep it juiced up for 10+ hours of consecutive run) or plugged into a wall outlet.
I've been told I need to rig it with belts and pullies. That's fine. So, any suggestions on what motors would work would be great. Any suggestions on how to connect it to the blades and step by step instructions would qualify you for sainthood in my book.
Thanks for your time, and any help. I appreciate it.

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dr_when
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by dr_when » Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:11 am

Hi,<p>Just a thought. If the blades need to be able to stand numerous "hits", maybe consider making them out of a flexable plastic and laminating with a wood-grain "contact" paper/veneer or something similar (if you must have a wood appearance). That should be a lighter load for the motor and could flex when impacted by golf balls that are launched a lttle harder than usual.<p>Bob
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terri
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by terri » Thu Mar 24, 2005 6:10 am

Welcome!<p>There are bunches of gearmotor sets out there which come in various rotational speeds, power (AC or DC) requirements, and output shaft requirements. You won't need much torque. Fractional horsepower motor of less than 1/4 HP required. Browse:<p>http://www.dogpile.com/info.dogpl/search/web/gearmotors<p>My concern here would be with safety. How do you absolutely and positively stop the rotation if some little tyke decides to retrieve a ball from nearby or under the blades? <p>Slipping clutch (best bet) or shutoff switch on the blade leading edges? The slipping clutch method can be implemented easily, either by using a loose-ish belt system or by a purchased slipping clutch. You can search engine those out, too. <p>Bearings or mountings to the fan can be crafted out of a pair of pipe flanges (plumbing supplies) wood-screwed to the center of the blades on each side of the blade. This is just one suggestion out of a number of possibilities for mounting.<p>I recommend enlisting the help of a neighbor who fixes cars, or hit your local hardware store. Most of these folks are really willing to help with all kinds of mech problems and you need not be ashamed of your ignorance. Most of them remember their first projects, which turned out like Homer Simpson's spice shelf project, or his barbecue project.<p>
SAFETY FIRST!<p>I'm sure more and better solutions will be forthcoming from the other board members soon.<p>Nominations for Canonization may be sent to:<p>Canonization Nomination Committee
The Vatican<p>Overseas postage is no longer required.<p>[ March 24, 2005: Message edited by: terri ]</p>
terri wd0edw

jimandy
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by jimandy » Thu Mar 24, 2005 7:46 am

You might look in a thrift store for an old oscillating fan and somehow use the rotating shaft that drives the cam/lever part that swings the fan.<p>As starter for "the topic is topics", I commend you for a very coherent desciription of your help request.
"if it's not another it's one thing."

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Clyde Crashkop
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by Clyde Crashkop » Thu Mar 24, 2005 7:53 am

You can get a rotisserie motor for a BBQ cheap. Almost any hardware store. But that does not solve the safety issue and is not water proof.

phyduex
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by phyduex » Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:07 pm

Thank ya'll. I've been considering the oscillitating fan idea. I have one here in the room that becons to be destoyed. In fact, it has the plastic baldes, so that'll be great. (It'll die a noble death). I'd never considered the rotiseree, that's a good idea too. Water isn't an issue so much, it'll be used indoors. Thank you, Terri, for the safety thought. I'd've come across it eventually; but, probably after I had it put together. A headache (and possible digit) saved, whew!
I'm sure I'll have more more questions after I start playing with it. I was so excited to see anyone respond (first board it's happened on), that I just wanted to say "thanks". Now I'm gonna check out the links.

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Dave Dixon
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by Dave Dixon » Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:18 pm

Boy, She got back to us in the nick of time... I almost tried to talk her into taking her "Whitfield Pellet Stove" apart to construct the windmill, and powering it with a hydrogen fuel cell, followed up with an inverter from a
scrapped X-Ray machine!
(Sorry, but it's almost Friday!).
Seriously, best of luck, and welcome to the forum!
Dave<p>[ March 25, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Dixon ]</p>

Will
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by Will » Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:57 pm

Unless you twist the blades relative to the original flat surface of the piece of circular plywood then the fan will present little or no load to it's driver. Instead of messing with electrics or electronics you could construct a small water wheel on the back of the blades and have a low volume water supply drip on to it. My guess is that that would give you all the rotation you need. Have fun !
BB

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haklesup
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by haklesup » Thu Mar 24, 2005 1:59 pm

WRT using a fan, this is a good use of recycled equipment.<p>If you try to use the part that causes the oscillation, you will may find it too slow and may not produce a full rotation (depends on model). Do not directly/firmly attach the windmill to this shaft because the torque is usually very high<p>You can also use the main shaft of the fan. It is too fast to directly drive the windmill but if you put a small pulley on the fan shaft and a large pully on the windmill, you will have reduced the speed by the ratio of the sizes of the gears. <p>If the belt on the pulley is not too tight, it will slip if the windmill is jammed giving you a safety factor. (alternatively, the pulley can be made to slip on either shaft). In fact the fan motor itself may have sufficiently low torque to stop with the pulley arrangement without any special consideration for slipping.<p>Sounds like fun, good luck<p>'expect you back with questions about how to wire it with LEDS next :) :D

phyduex
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by phyduex » Thu Mar 24, 2005 4:21 pm

I hope you're as amiable as all those smiley faces would lead one to believe, Hacklesup. After I get this windmill whooped, I have an idea involving a push button switch at the bottom of the hole that, when triggered by the ball, will set off LEDS positioned on the back of my concrete and chicken wire snake. (Wait till I get to the last hole . . . I'm thinking infrared beam and timers to identify my hole-in-oner's . . .[insert happy winking image here]).
I really want this golf thing to work. I see my husband slaving away everyday for slightly better than minimum wage. He supports our kid and I without complaint. If I can get this up and going it'd just mean the world to me.
Oh, and I love the water wheel suggestion, Will. It's kinda hot today. I think getting wet instead of electricuted sounds kinda fun.<p>[ March 24, 2005: Message edited by: phyduex ]</p>

jimandy
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by jimandy » Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:42 pm

<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr> Instead of messing with electrics or electronics you could construct a small water wheel <hr></blockquote><p>Uh oh. Here we go. This topic will soon be out of hand, but...<p>I was thinking of a windup device with a counterweight (sort of like the old grandfather clock thing) . If it had an escapement then the windmill could turn in jerky increments -stop,advance,stop, advance - giving the putter (was this golf?) a fair chance of getting the ball through if he had a good sense of rhythm. No power needed, wind up in the morning, forget it for the rest of the day.
"if it's not another it's one thing."

phyduex
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by phyduex » Thu Mar 24, 2005 8:20 pm

Oh, ya'll just get better and better, don'tcha? I kinda wish you hadn't brought up that idea, though. My husband has an heirloom grandfather clock that's just always looked pretty funny in a trailer house. . .

Enzo
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by Enzo » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:01 pm

If this is for commercial service, a real miniature golf course where folks pay to play, yuo need something sturdy and reliable. And safe.<p>I think getting a room fan motor to do it would be a weak choice. I really think you should look into a regular motor with pulleys. You want something that will hold up. You have better things to do than fix it every day.<p>You can get a pair of shaft bearings and bolt them to the frame of your thing. Then run a pipe through for a shaft. Bolt a pulley on one end and the windmill on the other end. ALl of this but the windmill would be inside the housing.<p>If you wanted to build a wheel barrow, the two bearings for the wheel would work fine. Go to Home Depot and ask for wheelbarrow wheel bearings and check them out. You would need a pipe of the size for the bearings. A pulley with a hole for the shaft diameter. And for the windmill mounting, a T-flange for the pipe end to mount it on.<p>MAybe they call them bushings rather than bearings.<p>Now a basic AC motor with its own small pulley drives the pulley on the shaft with a rubber belt.<p>WW Grainger has all kinds of motors, pulleys, etc.<p>I thought of gearmotors too, but they are generally super high on torque.<p>If you make sure the windmill does not reach the ground, kids won't get pinched under it. Just has to hit the very top of the ball to work.<p>
Ball in hole detectors can be used for any number of things. DOn't put a button in the hole, it will get fouled for sure, not to mention beat up. If you visit other courses, you will find the last hole is usually the one with a ball detector. That way the patrons cannot get their hands on it. The patrons getting their hands on it should be the FIRST concern with every single thing on your golf course. Believe me, they will break anything exposed. Ther is nothing they will leave alone. And it is not just the kids. Teens are bad, but even adults will mess around with anything not protected.<p>I have had to think in public proof terms for 30 years now in the arcade business. Take it seriously.<p>I think an optical system for ball detection would work well, some sort of interrupted beam. You can get one of those commercial units to put across the doorway of your store, I think they sell them at Radio SHack even. We used one of those effectively once to detect slot racer cars.<p>Remember that if the hole is protected from the masses, the ball doesn't have to be detected right in the hole itself. Once it goes in the hole, it may roll elsewhere, and it may be easier to detect it there.<p>I am sure there is a trade association for miniature golf courses, or at least a section of the IAAPA would apply. You should contact those industry groups as they are an excellent source of support.<p>Promotion is important, so go visit existing courses and see how they go about it. For example at PuttPutt, if you get a hole in one they will give you a coupon for a free game. You start out with a yellow, green, blue, or red ball. Get a hole in one, bring your ball up, and they trade you for an orange one. That way you can only win once per game. How do they know you actually got the hole in one? They don't, and who cares. That free game is never redeemed by itself, someone else wil be paying for their game, and all the party will be buying sodas, popcorm, ands whatnot. SO that everyone does not get a free one, they have four colored lights on the clubhouse, and they light one at a time - or two if it is slow - and your ball has to be the color that is lit. Every so often they change it.<p>My point in presenting that is that in that case, they really don't need to actually detect the ball. Most of the time the people realy do get the hole in one - how many people go the course without making a few? ANd the few that lie, we don't care about since either way it means they are coming back and spending more money.<p>Ideas like that abound in the trade, and reading the trade journals will give you many ideas. The support vendors often already have the stuff to do what you want. You might even find windmill kits for that matter.<p>I admit to being a fan of things that react. The clown that laughs, the light that flashes, whatever in response to something I did. Eye candy.

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Chris Smith
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by Chris Smith » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:38 pm

Dave hogan has the best pic, they are water proof [UL], and so weak they couldnt cut a grass hopper in half. [safety]

terri
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Re: miniature golf windmill

Post by terri » Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:28 pm

ENZO: "I thought of gearmotors too, but they are generally super high on torque."<p>CHRIS SMITH: "Dave hogan has the best pic, they are water proof [UL], and so weak they couldnt cut a grass hopper in half. [safety]"<p>That's why I suggested a slip clutch. Actually, I agree that Dave Hogan had the best idea, with a rotisserie motor/gearbox. I wonder if they have a built-in slip clutch? Don't use them myself, so don't know.<p>Some good suggestions on bearings, mountings, and also from ENZO on practical considerations based on real-word experience.<p>I'm glad my prediction was true: that others would come up with more and better suggestions than mine.
terri wd0edw

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