In these days of modern improvements, most houses are equipped with a washing machine, and the question that arises in the mind of the householder is how to furnish the power to run it economically. I referred this question to my husband, with the result that he built a motor which proved so very satisfactory that I prevailed upon him to give the readers of Amateur Mechanics a description of it, hoping it may solve the same question for .
A motor of this type will develop about 1/2 hp. with a water pressure of 70 lb. The power developed is correspondingly increased or decreased as the pressure exceeds or falls below this. In the latter case the power may be increased by using a smaller pulley. Fig. 1 is the motor with one side removed, showing the paddle-wheel in position; Fig. 2 is an end view; Fig. 3 shows one of the paddles, and Fig. 4 shows the method of shaping the paddles. To make the frame, several lengths of scantling 3 in. wide by 1 in. thick (preferably of hard wood) are required. Cut two of 4 ft. long, to form the main supports of the frame, AA, Fig. 1 ; another, 2 ft. 6 in. long, for the top, B, Fig. 1; another, 26 in. long, to form the slanting part, C, Fig. 1; and another, D, approximately 1 ft., according to the slant given C. After nailing these together as shown in the illustration, nail two short strips on each side of the outlet, as at E, to keep the frame from spreading.
Cut two pieces 30 in. long. Lay these on the sides of the frame with their center lines along the line FF, which is 15 in. from the outside top of the frame. They are shown in Fig. 2 at GG. Do not fasten these boards now, but mark their position on the frame. Two short boards 1 in. wide by 1 in. thick (HH, Fig. 2) and another 1 in. by 1-1/2 in. (I, Fig. 2) form a substantial base.
Illustration: Detail of Homemade Waterwheel
Cut the wheel from sheet iron 1/16 in. thick, 24 in. in diameter. This can be done roughly with hammer and chisel and then smoothed up on an emery wheel, after which cut 24 radial slots 3/4 in. deep on its circumference by means of a hacksaw. On each side of the wheel at the center fasten a rectangular piece of 1/4-in. iron 3 by 4 in. and secure it to the wheel by means of four rivets; after which drill a 5/8 in. hole through the exact center of the wheel.
Cut 24 pieces of 1/32-in. iron, 1-1/2 by 2-1/2 in. These are the paddles. Shape by placing one end over a section of 1-in. pipe, and hammer bowl shaped with the peen of a hammer, as shown in Fig. 4. Then cut into the shape shown in Fig. 3 and bend the tapered end in along the lines JJ, after which place in the slots of the wheel and bend the sides over to clamp the wheel. Drill 1/8-in. holes through the wheel and sides of the paddles and rivet paddles in place. Next secure a 5/8-in. steel shaft 12 in. long to the wheel about 8 in. from one end by means of a key. This is done by cutting a groove in the shaft and a corresponding groove in the wheel and fitting in a piece of metal in order to secure the wheel from turning independently of the shaft. Procure two collars or round pieces of brass (KK, Fig. 2) with a 5/8-in. hole through , and fasten these to the shaft by means of set screws to prevent it from moving lengthwise.
Make the nozzle by taking a piece of 1/2-in. galvanized pipe 3-1/2 in. long and filling it with babbitt metal; then drill a 3/16-in. hole through its center. Make this hole conical, tapering from 3/16 in. to a full 1/2 in. This is best done by using a square taper reamer. Then place the nozzle in the position shown in Fig. 1, which allows the stream of water to strike the buckets full in the center when they reach the position farthest to the right. Take the side pieces, GG, and drill a 1-in. hole through their sides centrally, and a 1/4 -in. hole from the tops to the 1-in. holes. Fasten in their proper position, with the wheel and shaft in place, the shaft projecting through the holes just mentioned. Now block the wheel; that is, fasten it by means of wedges or blocks of wood until the shaft is exactly in the center of the inch holes in the side pieces. Cut four disks of cardboard to slip over the shaft and large enough to cover the inch holes. Two of these are to be inside and two outside of the frames (one to bear against each side of each crosspiece). Fasten these to the crosspieces by means of tacks to hold them securely. Pour melted babbitt metal into the 1/4-in. hole to form the bearings. When it has cooled, remove the cardboard, take down the crosspieces, and drill a 1/8-in. hole from the top of the crosspieces through the babbitt for an oil-hole.
Secure sufficient sheet zinc to cover the sides of the frame. Cut the zinc to the same shape as the frame and let it extend down to the crosspieces EE. Tack one side on. (It is well to tack strips of heavy cloth -- burlap will do -- along the edges under the zinc to form a water-tight joint.) Fasten the crosspiece over the zinc in its proper position. Drill a hole through the zinc, using the hole in the crosspiece as a guide. Then put the wheel in a central position in the frame, tack the other side piece of zinc in place and put the other crosspiece in place. Place the two collars mentioned before on the shaft, and fasten so as to bear against the crosspieces, in order to prevent the wheel and shaft from moving sidewise. If the bearings are now oiled, the shaft should turn easily and smoothly. Fasten a pulley 4 or 6 in. in diameter to the longest arm of the shaft.
Connect the nozzle to a water faucet by means of a piece of hose; place the outlet over a drain, and belt the motor direct to the washing-machine, sewing machine, ice-cream freezer, drill press, dynamo or any other machinery requiring not more than 1/2 hp.
This motor has been in use in our house for two years in all of the above ways, and has never once failed to give perfect satisfaction. It is obvious that, had the wheel and paddles been made of brass, it would be more durable, but as it would have cost several times as much, it is a question whether it would be more economical in the end. If sheet-iron is used, a coat of heavy paint would prevent rust and therefore prolong the life of the motor. The motor will soon pay for itself in the saving of laundry bills. We used to spend $1 a month to have just my husband's overalls done at the laundry, but now I put in the machine, start the motor, and leave them for an hour or so. At the end of this time they are perfectly clean, and I have noticed that they wear twice as long as when I sent them to the laundry.