3d printed windvane

3D Printed Sensor For Finding Wind Direction And Likely Much More

Have you ever wondered how an electronic wind vane translates a direction into a unique signal? It seems as though it might be very complicated, and indeed some of them are. [martinm] over at yoctopuce.com has an excellent writeup about measuring wind direction using just a single, easily printed disk and some phototransistors.

Commercial weather vanes often use complicated multi-tracked disks with magnets and reed switches, conductive traces and brushes, or some other means of getting a fine resolution. Unfortunately some of these are prone to wear or are otherwise more complicated than they need to be.

What makes [martinm]’s solution unique is that they have applied previous research on the subject to a simple and durable 3d printed wind vane that looks like it’ll be able to handle whatever global warming can throw at it. The encoder’s simplicity means that it could likely be used in a large number of applications where low resolution position sensing is more than enough- the definition of a great hack!

Adding more tracks or even more disks would enable higher resolution, but the 12 degree resolution seems quite good for the purpose. Such a neat wind vane design will surely be welcome if you want to 3d print your own weather station. Thanks to [Adrian] for the great tip!

Construction Cranes Versus Hurricanes

When engineers are designing buildings, bridges, or other large construction projects, a lot of thought is given to the environment. Some of these considerations might seem obvious, like designing a skyscraper in San Francisco to tolerate earthquakes, building a stadium in New York City to hold up not only its own weight but the weight of several feet of snow on the roof, or constructing bridges in any coastal area to be able to tolerate salt spray. Not everything is this straightforward, though. Not only do the structures themselves have to tolerate the environmental conditions they are in, but the equipment that is used to build them must tolerate these conditions as well, specifically the large cranes that are often semi-permanently attached to their construction sites.

Perhaps the most extreme example of this in recent memory was during Typhoon Manghut as it hit Hong Kong. There were several large construction cranes that didn’t fare too well with the high winds. At least one toppled as a result and catching the free-spinning of another on video is more than enough to make you gasp. Other videos of construction cranes surfaced from this typhoon showing some concerning, but surprisingly well-designed, emergency operation of the same type of crane.

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