OK Guys, here’s an example of what I would characterize as a failed experiment in using 3-D printing (whoopee!..) to make wind turbine blades. Note the “prestige” of the laboratory, and yet, see the pitiful results. The pictures of the resulting blades are very telling. Unrecognizable as wind turbine blades. I’ll add that the small wind turbine company they worked with is no longer even functioning according to my inside contacts, being one of the last surviving “small-wind” manufacturers in a business that has been in decline since solar got so cheap.
What I gleaned from skimming this document is:
- They used the wrong 3-D printing machine, which yielded a very coarse (not smooth) result…
- They added exterior grooves to insert carbon-fiber rods to attain some actual strength, which the 3-D printing process could not provide
- The grooved blades were so bumpy and mis-shaped as to be unrecognizable as wind turbine blades
- The “blades” were really partial blades, blade roots just something like 4 feet long (probably to match the length of the carbon-fiber rods, which I used on my first tiny experimental SuperTurbine that instantly flash-burned out an array of old-fashioned filament light-bulbs 20 years ago).
- The “blades” were not aerodynamically tested, just bent until they broke
- Some of the carbon-fiber rods, added to provide strength, detached from their slots
- The “laboratory” abandoned phase 2 of their “project” giving the excuse that their principal investigator at the small wind manufacturer had resigned
- The real story is the company would appear to be in the process of going out of business, with, from what I can discern, their stock down to something like 3 cents, no longer trading(?), and according to people associated with the company, no longer doing business.
- I have friends who own one the these very expensive turbines. It is in the process of being taken down and likely sold for parts, having been unable, like most small wind turbines, to actually survive a strong wind event in a strong wind area.
- I would add, most people have no idea how windy it can be during a storm or high-wind event, in an already strong-wind location. As it is, even just our daily winds would often be considered a destructive storm in most locations (ask Roddy). Even the very best (and super-expensive) small wind turbines often meet their demise when challenged by a truly strong wind in such already-high-wind locations. Or as I like to say, small wind systems work great, as long as they are not exposed to a very strong wind.