Background: I'm going to build a homemade wind turbine. It will be all fancy and rotational so that it's always pointing to the wind, so it will be mounted on a frame etc. This will be mounted on a pole that fits vertically through the roof of a barn.

However, the place I'm going to build it for quite often experiences high wind speeds that would probably cause the wind turbine to break or get damaged.

So, I would like the turbine to be retractable/extendable. My current best idea is to have a gear system and a handcrank, with some sort of worm-gear-esque arrangement at the pole end that will use the rotational force of the gear system to raise or lower the turbine.

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  • How best can I translate the energy from the gear system into raising/lowering force?
  • Is there any way to lock the system so that the pole doesn't simply fall when I stop cranking, and can be raised/lowered safely by handcrank?
  • Is this idea feasible to make by hand for an amateur with no background in engineering?
  • $\begingroup$ The easiest way to lock in place is to have a pawl on one of the gears. $\endgroup$ Nov 14 '17 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Why not do it like a flagpole with a counter-weight... $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Nov 14 '17 at 16:52
  • $\begingroup$ A similar concept was developed in 1945 for a hand cranked rotary clothes line with a telescopic pole Hills Hoist, which is still used today. You just have to toughen it up for your application. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Nov 14 '17 at 23:58
  • $\begingroup$ you can use a boat trailer winch for the purpose of pulling up and lowering the tower. also please note that there are antenna towers used by ham radio operators which are raised and lowered in this same way; try posting your question on the ham radio stack exchange. $\endgroup$ Nov 15 '17 at 6:18
  • $\begingroup$ @nielsnielsen I believe the winch you refer to uses a pawl, as I was suggesting. So aside from possible reduction gearing, good plan. $\endgroup$ Nov 15 '17 at 12:19

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