Today, the most commonly used source of energy is fossil fuel, such as oil, coal and gas.
However, fossil fuel is running low because of its ever-increasing demand.
Furthermore, its use causes air pollution due to the gases produced by its burning. For these reasons, other energy sources like nuclear energy and solar energy are being sought out as alternatives.
3D printing promises a revolution in almost every aspect of human life. Perhaps it can offer a solution to our energy crisis as well. A novel project by a YouTube user 3D_Printing, consisting of two 3D printed solar-powered motors capable of running for a 100 years, certainly gives us the hope that additive printing will solve our energy problems.
A few weeks ago, a YouTube user, 3D_Printing, captured the imagination of people around the world by making two motors capable of running unattended for a very long time. These two motors, termed EZ Spin Motors, are similar in appearance and working, except that one of them spins in a clockwise direction and the other in the opposite direction.
Powering these motors are solar panels that convert the energy of sunlight into current for running the motors. The anticlockwise-rotating red motor is fitted with four such panels while the other motor with only one. Because of this, while the two motors run on similar voltages, the red motor has four times the current in it compared to the other motor.
This clever arrangement ensures that the motors keep running continuously without any external help or maintenance. 3D_Printing explains, in this video, that he expects these motors to last a hundred years, long after he’s gone from the world! He claims sunlight to be the perfect source of energy for such a goal:
“I decided it’s a safe bet that the sun is going to be shining for the next hundred years. So I may as well capitalize on this free energy source.”
The inventor says that he spent a lot of hours making the motors and that he plans to make only two of these motors although he may consider making a smaller version of the motors. He also acknowledges that his design couldn’t have become a reality without 3D printing. He says:
“Not only do you really need to 3D print the design, I found that if I hadn’t had a 3D printer, I wouldn’t have been able to make them, and I certainly would not have been able to make the one on the right (the red motor).”
You may be wondering how small solar panels, like the ones fitted on the motors, can run them for a hundred years. The real secret behind the motors’ longevity lies in their design. The motors are designed to run on very low energy. This is made possible by the multiple magnets and electromagnets in each motor. Several small north magnets are fitted on the circumference of the motor.
At the same time, 12 electromagnetic coils, half of which are designated as north and half south, surround the motor. Each motor rotates continuously because of the repeated attraction and repulsion between the magnets on its circumference and electromagnets surrounding it. This means that the moving part of the motor doesn’t directly run on current; the current is used to power the electromagnets which then run the motor.
This design allows the motors to run on very little current and the solar panels fitted on each motor provide more than enough current to continuously run the motor. The user 3D_Printing explains all this in another video on YouTube.
The idea of 3D printed EZ Spin Motor was first introduced by LaserSaber, a user of laserhacker forums, when he created a post about the design and low current draw of the motor. He went on to make his motor into a commercial product that can be bought on eBay.
YouTube user 3D_Printing modified lasersaber’s design in several ways. The most significant change is the use of solar panels instead of the crystal cells used by LaserSaber. He reasons that the crystal cells require a lot of work with Dangerous Chemicals, so solar panels are far safer and easier to use.
LaserSaber’s original design can also be viewed in detail in a YouTube video that shows EZ Spin Motor running on an astonishingly low current draw of 1 µA!
What can we expect from the future of EZ Spin Motors? Perhaps they will help solve the energy crisis the world faces today. Motors are used in a variety of machines from trains to cars to heavy machines in factories. These machines are powered by fuel which in most cases is petrol or diesel.
This could translate not only into the economical use of the available fuel but also the utilization of other forms of energy like sunlight to power huge machines.
At the same time, the EZ Spin Motors also highlight the immense potential of additive printing. They make it clear that brilliant designs are the future of machines and that such designs can become a reality only through 3D printing.
Imagine Cars, even trains or Aircraft running for a hundred years on nothing but sunlight. Imagine huge factories running without even a single drop of fuel. Imagine an Environment clear of any pollution of fossil fuel gases. As shown by 3D_Printing’s novel project, all this is possible in the age of 3D printing.
What are your thoughts on 3D printed EZ Spin Motors? Do you think they would still be rotating in 2115? Do you have any other novel ideas about 3D printing in your mind? Let us know in the Comments. Also please Like and Share this article with your friends.