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.

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

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First I drilled a 3/8″ center hole.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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…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.

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…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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