Here’s inventor Tom Gilmour’s idea for a vertical axis windmill he calls Tom’s Whirligig. Gilmour acknowledges that because of its complexity, he’s not sure it would work if built. Nonetheless, he has patented the design.
The windmill consists of a carousel and eight airfoils or blades. The carousel rotates about its fixed vertical shaft. Each airfoil attaches to a cam, push rod, and bell crank which controls the rotation of each airfoil within the carousel. The blue oval cam is fixed to the weather vane which tracks the wind and connects to the carousel by bearings that let it rotate 360°. The top bearing of the cam and weather vane rotates independently of the carousel. The weather vane keeps the high point of the cam pointing into the wind.
The oval cam is offset from the center of the carousel by a distance equal to the length of the bell cranks. The eight push rods are equipped with rollers held to the cam by a series of links wrapped around the cam. A different shape cam could position the airfoils to a steeper angle of attack.
Filed Under: Energy storage, Generators, Turbines