Building the rotor

In the spirit of repurposing, I picked up a used ceiling fan from the “free” section of Craigslist. [This was either in 2014 or 2015 – Ed.] The fan has been sitting in my shop [taking up space] until now.

First thing I did was remove the fan blades and their brackets. These are the pieces I repurposed for the Flying Machine’s rotor.


Next, I prepared a 5″ blank metal plate ($1.18 from Home Depot) for attaching the fan blade brackets and blades to.



First I drilled a 3/8″ center hole.


This hole is for the rotor’s main vertical shaft.


Then, using a compass, I marked a concentric circle on which to align the holes to be drilled for the fan blade brackets.  Note: Alignment is crucial here; take your time and get this right.

Use whatever method suits you to ensure equal spacing between the fan blades.

Once marked, drill the holes.  I drilled pilot holes and then stepped up to a 1/4″ drill bit. The finished plate is pictured below.


After the holes were drilled I attached the fan blade brackets using 1/4″ hex bolts and nyloc nuts.


…And then installed the rotor’s shaft. I used a 3/8″ bolt for the rotor’s shaft.  Note: all nuts used on the rotor assembly are nylon insert lock nuts (aka nylon nuts).  I used these type of nuts because the expected vibration and motion on the assembly.


…And, finally, install the rotor’s blades. In the picture below the rotor’s blades have been installed and the rotor’s shaft is inserted into the 90° drive. Note: another plus of using a right-angle drill attachment for the 90° gear box is that the drill attachment’s chuck makes attaching and removing the rotor [e.g. for transport] very easy.


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