photo blog of recent D.I.Y. happenings in and around my workshop

Electricity Generating Turbine

Filed under: Lego Steam Engines — dynamodan @ 9:06 pm March 19, 2008

Lego turbine generator lighting an LED

Here is an electricity generating turbine that (except for the LED) is 100% LEGO, just like the rest of my engines!
Here is the first electricity generating LEGO engine that I know of.

One day I was playing Lego with my 5-year old son when the inspiration
hit. Why not use the LEGO motor as a generator?So here it is. It even acts like a real steam turbine! Without the LED
clipped onto the LEGO motor’s conductive buttons, the turbine will
speed way up to somewhere around 4000 rpm, judging by the sound. With
the LED, the speed is limited by the forward voltage and amperage drawn
by the LED.

The LED shines much brighter when running on 90 psi of compressed air, obviously.


Running the turbine generator on compressed air

Because of the high speed of the turbine, I felt that a gear reduction
was necessary to provide torque for the generator. The LEGO motor
itself is actually geared down (or, up if you’re running it as a
generator), not like the earlier motors that were direct drive.


The Lego turbine gear reduction

The air inlet is a jet engine from a space LEGO set. The small end is towards the turbine wheel.

Air inlet is a Lego jet engine

The turbine is a lego tire, the tread being the vanes that catch the
air blast to make it spin. The air nozzle is positioned tangentially to
the edge of the tire.


Air nozzle aligned with rubber Lego tire

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