Although desktop 3D printing is an incredible technology, it has some pretty clear limitations. Plastic parts can be produced quickly in a 3D printer, but may be more expensive or take longer to manufacture than parts made from materials like wood. Plastic parts can also be more fragile than materials like metal. If a 3D printer is all you have on hand, you can often make design choices that improve the performance of a plastic part over other materials. That’s what [1970sWizard] made to manufacture this hand crank axial generator.
In addition to some ready-made hardware, wire and magnets, the entire generator is printed. The actual generator is made up of wire coils with exposed wires that snap into a plastic disc that acts as the generator’s stator. The magnets also snap into a separate disc which is the generator rotor and is attached to the transmission, with no glue or fasteners needed. A series of gears on two other axes convert the torque from the crank into the high speed needed to extract usable electricity from the generator.
The separate driveshafts were necessary to avoid the need for a drill, which would have allowed fewer axles to be used. However, this entire machine can be built almost entirely with a desktop 3D printer, which was one of the design goals. Although largely a proof of concept, the machine generates around 100mW of power, which is enough to slowly charge USB devices, power lights or supply other sources with very small amounts. of energy. If you have access to some metalworking tools, check out this hand-cranked standby generator.