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Things to Make

Things to Make

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Published by: MoreMoseySpeed on Jan 29, 2012
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It is difficult to tell from a distance in which direction the arrow
of a wind vane points when the arrow lies obliquely to the spectator,
or points directly towards or away from him. In the case of a vane
set up in some position where it will be plainly visible from the
house, this difficulty is overcome by making the wind vane operate
an arrow moving round a vertical dial set square to the point of
observation. Figs. 155 to 157 are sketches and diagrams of an
apparatus which does the work very satisfactorily. The vane is
attached to the upper end of a long rod, revolving freely in brackets
attached to the side of a pole. The bottom end of the rod is pointed
to engage with a nick in a bearer, in which it moves with but little
friction. Near the end is fixed a horizontal bevel-wheel, engaging
with a vertical bevel of equal size and number of teeth attached to a
short rod running



through a hole in the post to an arrow
on the other side. Between arrow and
post is room for a dial on which the
points of the compass are marked.
The construction of the apparatus
is so simple as to call for little
comment. The tail of the vane is made
of two pieces of zinc, tapering from 8
inches wide at the rear to 4 inches at
the rod, to which they are clipped by
4 screws and nuts. A stay soldered
between them near the stern keeps the
broader ends a couple of inches apart,
giving to the vane a wedge shape
which is more sensitive to the wind
than a single flat plate. The pointer
also is cut out of sheet metal, and is
attached to the tail by means of the
screws already mentioned. It must, of
course, be arranged to lie in a line
bisecting the angle formed by the two
parts of the tail.
The rod should preferably be of
brass, which does not corrode like
iron. If the uppermost 18 inches or so

FIG. 165 -- Wind
vane with dial



of 1/4-inch diameter, and assigned a bracket some distance below
the one projecting from the top of the pole, the remainder of the rod
need not exceed 1/8 to 5/32 inch in diameter, as the twisting strain
on it is small. Or the rod may be built up of wooden rods, well
painted, alternating with brass at the points where the brackets are.

FIG. 156. -- Elevation and plan of vane.

The Bevel Gearing. -- Two brass bevel wheels, about 1 inch in
diameter, and purchasable for a couple of



shillings or less, should be obtained to transmit the vane movements
to the dial arrow. Grooved pulleys, and a belt would do the work,
but not so positively, and any slipping would, of course, render the
dial readings incorrect. The arrow spindle (of brass) turns in a brass
tube, driven tightly into a hole of suitable size bored through the
centre of the post (Fig. 157). It will be well to fix a little metal
screen over the bevel gear to protect it from the weather.

FIG. 157. -- Details of bevel gear and arrow.

The Dial -- This is made of tinned iron sheet or of 1/4-inch wood
nailed to 1/2-inch battens. It is held up to the post by 3-inch screws
passing through front and battens. At the points of contact, the pole
is slightly flattened to give a good bearing; and, to prevent the dial
being twisted off by the wind, strip

(1,650) 22



iron or stout galvanized wire stays run from one end of a batten to
the other behind the post, to which they are secured.
The post should be well painted, the top protected by a zinc disc
laid under the top bracket, and the bottom, up to a point 6 inches
above the ground level, protected by charring or by a coat of boiled
tar, before the dial and the brackets for the vane rod to turn in are
fastened on. A white dial and black arrow and letters will be most
satisfactory against a dark background; and vice versa for a light
background. The letters are of relatively little importance, as the
position of the arrow will be sufficient indication.
It gives little trouble to affix to the top of the pole 4 arms, each
carrying the initial of one of the cardinal points of the compass. The
position of these relatively to the direction in which the dial will
face must be carefully thought out before setting the position in the
ground. In any case the help of a compass will be needed to decide
which is the north.
Having set in the post and rammed the earth tightly round it,
loosen the bracket supporting the vane rod so that the vane bevel
clears the dial bevel. Turn the vane to true north, set the dial arrow



to north, and raise the bevel so that it meshes, and make the bracket

Note. -- In the vicinity of London true north is 15 degrees east of
the magnetic north.
The pole must be long enough to raise the vane clear of any
objects which might act as screens, and its length will therefore
depend on its position. As for the height of the dial above the
ground, this must be left to individual preference or to
circumstances. If conditions allow, it should be near enough to the
ground to be examined easily with a lamp at night, as one of the
chief advantages of the system is that the reading is independent of
the visibility of the vane.
A Dial Indoors. -- If some prominent part of the house, such as a
chimney stack, be used to support the pole--which in such a case can
be quite short--it is an easy matter to connect the vane with a dial
indoors, provided that the rod can be run down an outside wall.
An Electrically Operated Dial. -- Thanks to the electric current,
it is possible to cause a wind vane, wherever it may be set, to work a
dial situated anywhere indoors. A suggested method of effecting this
is illustrated in Figs. 158 to 161, which are sufficiently explicit to
enable the reader to fill in details for himself.



FIG. 158. -- Plan and elevation of electric contact on vane post.

In-this case the vane is attached (Fig. 158) to a brass tube, closed
at the upper end, and supported by a long spike stuck into the top of
the pole. A little platform carries a brass ring, divided into as many
insulated segments as the points which the vane is to be able to
register. Thus, there will be eight segments if the half-points as well
as the cardinal points are to be shown on the dial. The centre of each
of these segments lies on a line running through the centre of the
spike to the compass point to which the segment belongs. The tube
moves with it a rotating contact piece, which rubs against the tops of
the segments.



Below it is a "brush" of strip brass pressing against the tube. This
brush is connected with a wire running to one terminal of a battery
near the dial.

The Dial. -- This may be either vertical or horizontal, provided
that the arrow is well balanced. The arrow, which should be of some
light non-magnetic material, such as cardboard or wood, carries on
its lower side, near the point, a piece of soft iron.

FIG. 159. -- Magnetic recording dial.

Under the path of this piece is a ring of equally spaced magnets,
their number equaling that of, the segments on the vane. Between
arrow and magnets is the dial on which the points are marked (Fig.

Each segment is connected by a separate wire with the
corresponding dial magnet, and each of these, through a common
wire and switch, with the other terminal of the battery (Fig. 161).
In order to ascertain the quarter of the wind, the



switch is closed. The magnet which is energized will attract the
needle to it, showing in what direction the vane is pointing. To
prevent misreading, the dial may be covered by a flap the raising of
which closes the battery circuit. A spring should be arranged to
close the flap when the hand is removed, to prevent waste of

FIG. 160. -- Another type of electric
dial with compass needle for pointer.

The exactitude of the indication given by the arrow depends on
the number of vane segments used. If these are only four, a N. read-
ing will be given by any position of the vane between N.E. and
N.W.; if eight, N. will mean anything between N.N.E. and N.N.W.
Telephone cables, containing any desired number of insulated wires,
each covered by a braiding of a distinctive colour, can be obtained at
a cost only slightly exceeding that of an equal total amount of single
insulated wire. The cable form is to be preferred, on account of its
greater convenience in fixing.



The amount of battery
power required depends on
the length of the circuit and
the delicacy of the dial. If
an ordinary compass needle
be used, as indicated in Fig.
160, very little current is
needed. In this case the
magnets, which can be
made of a couple of dozen
turns of fine insulated wire
round a 1/8-in soft iron bar,
should be arranged
spokewise round the
compass case, and care
must be taken that all the
cores are wound in the
same direction, so as to
have the same polarity.
Otherwise some will attract
the N. end of the needle
and others repel it. The
direction of the current
flow through the circuit
will decide the polarity of
the magnets, so that, if one
end of the needle be
furnished with a little paper
arrow-head, the
"correspondence" between
vane and dial is easily
established. An advantage
attaching to the use of a
compass needle is that the
magnet repels the wrong
end of the needle.

FIG. 161. -- General
arrangement of electric
wind recorder.



The brush and segments must be protected from he weather
by a cover, either attached to the segment platform or to the tube on
which the vane is mounted.
The spaces between the segments must be filled in flush with
some non-conducting material, such as fibre, vulcanite, or sealing-
wax; and be very slightly wider than the end of the contact arm, so
that two segments may not be in circuit simultaneously. In certain
positions of the vane no contact will be made, but, as the vane is
motionless only when there is no wind or none to speak of, this is a
small matter.



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