I’d park my car under a distant tree outside the property. All food and water had to be fetched from a small town 4km away.
The men from Auroville were reluctant to leave the parts in the open space and rest the nights in a house I had arranged near Babu Reddiar’s. They slept in the open and I with them, on one night, in my car. Soon as the sun went down behind Vellimalai in the west, it became blissful and cool as though someone threw a giant switch;none of those mosquitos that hover over the city, and no sound of vehicular traffic. A gentle breeze blows from the sea about 20km away. There was a sliver of a moon to complete the idyll. How enchantingly different from the daylight hours!
Regular visitors to this site will recall a borewell had been drilled to 200′ and foundation piers had been cast to receive the windmill tower. Obviously this had been done quite precisely since assembly of the tower proceeded smoothly. We had decided on a 17m [55′] tower after considering the location. In the west is the hill but as it is over 200 metres away, it is not considered an impediment to the wind. I picked on the rather tall tower considering the trees that will rise in the coming years, to the south and east. A wind shadow cast by tall trees has stilled my 21 year old windmill at Muttukkadu.
You can visualise the sequence of erection by going through an annotated album at this link, but here is a summary: The three legged tower is made of 2″ galvanised iron pipes, with suitable stiffeners and braces. It is raised using a derrick that is shifted up as the tower rises. On top of the tower a heavy base for mounting the moving parts is bolted on. A 2′ high, 5″ dia hollow king-post is part of the base. Over this a turn-table is slipped. It is this turn-table that will carry the wind-wheel and tail. When wind changes, the tail senses it and veers the turn-table so the wheel heads into the wind. A wooden work platform is fitted atop the tower to enable workmen to access various parts. A ladder leads up to the platform.
The windwheel is assembled on the ground. The assembly begins with a shaft over which are two lubricated, self aligning bearings in weather-proof housing. One end of the shaft carries a crank that will reciprocate a long pump rod. The other end carries a sturdy hub. The wind-wheel consists of 24 strong spokes in the form of beams made of pipes. These radiate from the hub. The beams are kept equidistant and taut by means of two concentric steel straps. On these beams, 48 blade holders are bolted and finally 24 galvanised iron blades are fitted over the blade holders. The whole thing is about 320 kg with a diameter of 19′.