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3D Printed Anemometer (Wind Speed Sensor)

3D Printed Anemometer (Wind Speed Sensor)

  • March 27, 2017

Build Your Own Anemometer?

Good anemometers can be expensive. Numerous do-it-yourself versions can be found on the Internet and are made with various components from paper cups to PVC pipe fittings. There are even some 3D printed designs that emulate molded or machined anemometers, but are typically very fragile.

The electronics for do-it-yourself weather instrument are often based on hobby boards, such as Raspberry Pi or Arduino. While function for some applications, they may not offer the robust features for commercial applications.

Import Difficulties

Commercial wind sensors can be difficult to import into some countries. The price of the product, shipping, import duties, and other hurdles can greatly increase the total cost. Users must often work through exclusive dealers, which can be good or bad, depending on the dealer. Service and repair parts have similar complications.

Dyacon Solution

Dyacon began a project to address the following issues:

  • Reduce purchase price
  • Reduce import costs
  • Improve serviceability
  • Leverage modern technology
  • Utilize in-country skills

As an initial step, Dyacon has developed a wind sensor, specifically for 3D printing (additive manufacturing). The innovative concept is mechanically robust, repeatable, easy to assembly, and easy to repair. The sensor has been tested above 31 m/s (70 mph, 112 kph).

The Dyacon 3D printed anemometer concept consists of three classes of components:

  1. 3D printable, wind-tunnel validated, mechanical design.
  2. Dyacon Hardware kit (Axle, bearings, and assorted screws).
  3. Dyacon sensor board.
  4. Assembly instructions.

The 3D printed anemometer parts would be produced by the customer or a Dyacon partner in the destination country. The remaining components would be imported as components (or repair) hardware, minimizing the import costs.

Challenges

Let’s not fool ourselves and presume that 3D printing is easy. There is a significant investment in equipment and skills. Fused filament fabrication (FFF) can require significant skill with different settings for part geometries. Layer adhesion, mechanical strength, part shrinkage, print accuracy, and mechanical fit can be unique to each printer, component, and material.

Assembly skill is also required. Not to mention some testing. In other words, if a user wants a single sensor, it may not be a viable option.

Benefits

While this model does not fit all applications, it offers a compelling opportunity for mid-range weather station needs.

  • Wind-tunnel tested design
  • Skill participation and value added by the customer or distributor
  • Mechanical repair parts can be manufactured as needed
  • Import costs are minimized
  • Robust electronic solution

Call Us

If you would like to participate in this project as a reseller or distributor, please contact us.

3D Printed Anemometer, w-Cable

3D Printed Wind Sensor, w-Cable

American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

  • December 30, 2016

American Meteorological Society annual meeting 2017

Dyacon is pleased to announce attendance at the American Meteorological Society‘s 97th annual meeting as an exhibitor.

 

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) is the nation’s leading professional scientific organization, with over 13,000 members. Members come from many different professions including weather enthusiasts, educators,  researchers, scientists, broadcast meteorologists, students, and other professionals in meteorological fields.

The annual meeting will be held in Seattle, Washington from Monday, January 23rd through Thursday, January 26th. Our booth number is 718 in the main hall. Stop by to talk with Eugene and get face-to-face consultation. We hope to see you there!

Exhibit Hours:

Mon, 23 January 4:00–7:30 p.m. (Intn’l Walk-Around 4–5:30 p.m.; Ribbon Cutting at 5:30 p.m.)
Tues, 24 January 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Wed, 25 January 9:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m.
Thurs, 26 January 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Exhibitor list  |  Additional Information

 

Update 2/17/17

Industrial Weather Stations

  • August 12, 2016

DSC_0858While sports may be a good conversation starter, weather is universal and has no fan loyalties to offend. Like politics, all weather is local. No matter where we live, there is  always some type of extreme condition that we can brag or complain about. Lying behind our claims to climatic woes are rather unobtrusive, and may I say, unglamorous instruments. Aside from elevating your prestige among neighbors, weather stations rarely garner much attention.

Weather stations, meteorological (met) stations, automated surface observing systems (ASOS/AWOS), and remote automatic weather stations (RAWS) among other names are used to describe the weather equipment that ranges in price from a few dollars to government grant territory. While a grocery store weather station may be suitable to tell you whether to wear a coat in the morning, it is usually insufficient
for serious data collection for industrial users. On the other end of the spectrum, high-end systems are far beyond the abilities of the average industrial technician or wire-twister to install and operate. High-end systems are based on programmable data loggers that require an engineer to integrate the sensors and a developer to write a custom program to read the sensors, store the data, and relay it to servers where it can be downloaded, analyzed and viewed.

Industrial Applications

Industrial safety requires a wide range of parameters to measure local weather conditions. Depending on the hazards, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and humidity may be critical values. Such parameters are typically available on nearly every weather station, however, heat values and instruments such as globe thermometer, WBGT, heat index, humidex, and lightning detection may be parameters only available on mid-range or high-end systems.

Environmental monitoring at construction, mine, material storage, waste management, and other industrial sites may use industrial weather instruments for dust or odor mitigation, supporting reclamation, validating or assessing regulatory compliance, and monitoring conditions such as evaporation rates, soil saturation, and wind gust effects.

Considerations

Cost

Unlike government-funded entities, industrial users must be sensitive to equipment purchase, installation, and maintenance costs. While a nod from the neighbor may justify the instrument screwed to your back fence at home, commercial and industrial users are looking for actionable data at a reasonable cost.

Some cost-related questions:

Can existing staff support the installation and maintenance of the weather station?

Does the purchase and installation require working with an exclusive dealer? What is the cost for ongoing dealer support and how do they schedule service calls?

Are operating manuals available?

Is system configuration software free or is the purchase of a software license required?

Is a subscription required to access the weather station data?

Are software updates to the weather station free?

Features

Sensor operation can be an overlooked detail. The basic question is: Can the sensor capture the data of interest?

Wind gust is one parameter that can be difficult to capture. Some equipment merely provides current or maximum values. This value may be sampled at an interval that does not allow for reliable gust detection or standard averaging techniques. Similarly, wind direction sensors may suffer from a dead-zone of three to five degrees. Manufacturers usually call this “north”, requiring the user to orient the whole system rather than merely setting the north position after installation.

Equipment configuration should be simple and flexible. Special interface dongles, costly software, or complex programming languages are typically not desirable. A system that can be configured through both wired and wireless connections offers substantial service flexibility. Some applications may require connecting the weather station to automation controllers (PLCs) or SCADA systems. Interface ports, such as Modbus (explained in this post), allow for a direct connection using standard industrial hardware.

A display, such as an LCD, on the instrument can be very valuable. A local LCD allows for operators to troubleshoot, configure, and maintain the system easily. This saves support cost and reduces configuration errors.

Data

For an industrial weather station to be worth the money put in, it needs to have wired and wireless features to deliver useful data when and where it is needed. Wireless data can be in the form of WiFi, cell phone, ISM-band radio, or satellite all having their own advantages and disadvantages. Stations with embedded cell phones may provide wireless data features as well as reports and configuration through SMS text messages compatible with any phone.

Data accessibility should be a paramount consideration. If you can’t make sense of the data of interest, the system is useless. This may come in the form of charting historical values, condition reports on your cell phone, or a web portal. Software such as Weather View 32* and Weather Underground* are often used as means to review weather data. Our site of choice, Weather Underground, is a free web portal that beautifully charts instrument data and can be accessed by multiple users without any cost.

Summary

Industrial weather stations are a step up in performance and features from the department store variety. While they may be more costly than consumer goods, you do not need to jeopardize your next performance evaluation.

Hopefully this information will help you look beyond the wrapper and find a weather station solution that provides the versatility and flexibility that you need at a practical cost.

* Weather Underground® is a trade mark of The Weather Company, an IBM company.
Weather View 32 is a trade mark of Weather Information Systems.

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