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Advice on type of shop power


Dec 17, 2012
A very long time ago I was in love with the process. Very long time ago. Screw that! Results of a better process are so much more rewarding.


Jul 11, 2004
Reddington, N.J., U.S.A.
I don't! I'm not lazy, but I don't want to work to live. We have no livestock. Too much work and attention. Besides, we don't eat it....we don't raise it. We can leave vegetation for a day or two and it will be fine...except for harvest season. We are frugal, I guess....but definitely not to the point of not enjoying what we do.

O.M.G.! Off-grid Greenies and Vegetarians? I'm outta here.


They are a gassy bunch....:D

There actually IS a risk. Especially if they are NOT! Flatulent, that is.


Seen it. USA.

Hindu nor Buddhist where it is multiple thousands of years their "way" do not have the risk.

Their diets are VERY well balanced. My M'in law is in her 90's, for example, still sharp enough of mind. And able to swim or hike non-stop waaay further than "omnivore" Ich can do in my 70's. More to that than diet. Been a while since I could walk a Shaolin monk half to death from dehydration alone. But I'll catch up.

MOST "westerners", adopting the diet "late" and wthout the cultural support and its historical knowledge are very, very, seldom as well-balanced. "Modern information" notwithstanding.

Unaware.. that the higher-order brain functions that support wise decision-making are HEAVILY reliant on access to components built from nutrients most EASILY had from.. ta da .. meats. "Red" meat most of all. Human evolution thing. Cannot EASILY be offset.

One has to include things in an all-veg diet most folks do not WANT to eat! And that most "westerners" will not.

ABSENT enough of those? A person goes passive. Serf-like. Or even a bit barmy.

Vegans are not nutty because they are vegans.

A PERCENTAGE of them progressively become nutty because they are IGNORANT of what they must eat to be mentally HEALTHY vegans.

Or HAVE been made aware. But simply do not LIKE the full-magilla it requires to keep the needed balance.

Nor the side-effect of the average human automagically adding right about seven or eight FEET of small intestine it needs to do the far harder work of extracting nutrients from a vegetarian diet than from a diet that DOES include meat, eggs, and dairy.

Have you never noticed the gut on so many folks from India? Or that dull, slower-moving and slower-witted "food animal" herbivorous cattle have massive bellies ALWAYS whilst their fleet of foot, clever, and nearly-100% carnivorous predators do NEVER?

That ain't ABOUT "beer gut"!


The seven or eight feet of a vegetarian's extra small intestine (waaaay more for ruminants!. Compare racehorse gut to Oxen! Or even the Cammelids..) simply has to "be somewhere".

If a(ny) vegan does NOT exhibit that gut? They are cheating, unhealthy, or BOTH!

You cannot "exercise away" 7-plus feet of extra plumbing DNA-commanded from HUMAN machinery any more than you can make it vanish from Copper plumbing of machinery made with the HANDs of mankind. Vegan or not.

All you can do is "fool yourself". As far too many simply DO!

I did mention that the first thing to be impaired was the quality of JUDGEMENT?

Why are we not surprised?


It is what was in the dam' BLUEPRINT, y'see. In the "levis"

"Genes", that is!

Fight yer own DNA at yer on cost and RISK!

Or just DO NOT!



Apr 25, 2017
Bored over here I guess. Thinking about how to power a machine tool the cheapest way and going back on my previous thoughts about line shafts. What about going line shaft and setting it up to run off of a large flywheel? Use some sort of manual pull start to get it going and then have a hit and miss type engine keeping it going. A large enough flywheel should absorb the start up of a lathe or mill and a hit and miss should use less fuel than others I think.

Could also build a big windmill to power the flywheel or run it directly.

I have thought of a flywheel as well, but not to operate a line shaft. I had thought of a large flywheel to use as a mechanical battery to store extra power when my batteries were full. I could then use that energy to do work for me. While I think that idea would work for immediate use, in longer term, friction would consume much of the power stored. But if I had combination power sources to drive the flywheel for short-term energy storage, it would be much more beneficial. Photovoltaic, wind, low pressure steam (maybe), wood gas generator (Though I think steam might be more efficient when properly insulated and sealed?), diesel hit-miss engine and even Sterling engine power (If I am reaching) to drive the flywheel.

I can see it now..."Sterling or steam?! You are a Looney Toon!" Maybe so, but I try not to dismiss things that might make a system work for me. You can have your own. I am here to see what would work in my circumstances. Though I have to admit that steam doesn't make me feel comfortable as all since this is a one man operation and I won't be able to be two places at once to man the boiler and operate machinery. I still consider it below the bottom on the list of potential power sources.

The flywheel will work to absorb initial stresses of machine startup, both driving a line shaft AND driving a 3 phase generator. In the line shaft, a slipping belt or clutch would reduce the fracture-inducing trauma. In an electrical system, that shock absorber is built into the proper sizing of the generator head and flywheel.

The generator doesn't need to be anything special I wouldn't think. A regular brushed unit would suffice. Brushless units, while more reliable and cooler operating, are more plentiful and more economical to purchase. Would they save a lot in terms of reduced friction? Clean power isn't really an issue with motor driven devices. Perhaps if I were to look into electronically driven DC or CNC machines with differing power requirements? During the build of this type of setup, perhaps the best method of producing the required clean electricity would be through a brushless generator. While it reduces friction (wear) and produces cleaner power, it would be quieter and require less maintenance. Harder to source as economically as brushed units, but most likely would be more than worth the additional expense in my case.

I think a flywheel would be a great addition to the power system. The issue is reducing friction to increase efficiency. Power the flywheel from many sources to be flexible to reduce fuel sources to those most abundant and economical. What orientation is best suited for the flywheel to operate that offers lowest friction? How heavy does it need to be? How will it be maintained? Is one orientation for the generator better than another for each of these questions? The same for powering the flywheel.

While I much prefer to power the flywheel from renewable resources like sun, wind and vegetation (wood, wood pellets, switchgrass, hay, etc.), for on demand will still rely upon fossil fuels like gasoline and preferably diesel. Operating the ICE at near 100% of it's efficiency is the goal. I do have two small Yanmar air-cooled diesels of 3.1kw and 4.4kw, even the output of theses those would be greater than the long-term average output required to operate the shop. A hit-and-miss engine would be an excellent choice to power the flywheel. First thought to fuel the hit-and-miss is diesel. But what about wood gas as a fuel? How difficult would it be to operate a multi-fuel hit-and-miss? Gasoline, propane, wood gas and diesel (All of which I will have on hand)? Wood gas has about 1/7 energy per pound so it would fire more often, but I have plenty of wood available as a fuel source.

I am lucky enough to have an antique power museum (of sorts) 15 miles from me. They have a few great examples of larger, low rpm engines that could serve as a template for a multi-fuel hit-and-miss engine.

Thank you!


I have thought of a flywheel as well,

Well.. I have "thought of.." being sixty years younger and knowing as much about wimmin' at age 16 as I do today. Doubt I'd live even two full years. No vegetarian, Ich! But damn! What a way to clock-out!


Flywheels are at least real.

Several thousands of researchers, several hundreds of companies with serious money back of the hundreds of varieties that are in-service for many years arredy in everything from UPS systems to motorbusses are well-covered.

Won't take much of a sample to twig you to the technology and its costs.

Skip the (other) day-dreamers for starters...

Start with those entities as have AT LEAST made it off the drawing board to funding, production, sales.

And field service support. Of real, not imaginary, stuff that at least works.

Just Go Ogle:

"Flywheel energy storage companies"


Nov 22, 2004
One problem with a grid tied system is when the grid goes down so do you, unless you want to have a grid tied and a seperate for when the grid is down but that means 2 of most everything.

The outback system mentioned above, when combined with batteries, will switch from grid Interactive to a conventional PV-Battery-Inverter. We have an installation going in where were will operate like this, as we loose power for months with hurricane or tropical storms. We will have a full generator backup In parallel with the inverters, as well as a smaller generator that can supplement solar power- but we want to keep the grid in place-it’s cheaper and less polluting, but we’ve gotten burned running 200 KW generators for months. The power company my loose patience with us, but half the run is shared with a couple of other facilities. And they don’t start work until we restore the road to the site.

We tested the inverters with starting 10 hp motors- no problem.

Batteries are the big cost to having a grid independent system, and if we can run 90% of the time on the grid, the batteries can be undersized and still last forever.


Mar 22, 2007
On Elk Mountain, West Virginia, USA
We are off-grid in WV for30 years. First 20 no electricity to house, old 1-cyl Wisconsin-engine genset ran the shop. Now with about 2KW of PV and NiFe batterey bank, the only thing I regularly run an engine for is welding.

I have thought about stacking inverters for 3-phase, but they are danged expensive and also something i do not feel confident about troubleshooting or repairing. For ocasional use, I think a 3ph genset makes sense.

Most of my equipment was originally lineshaft, but I guess all those bearings waste a lot of energy.

Have you thought about raising sunflowers for the oil to burn in a Diesel, then eat the oil-cake?

I agree with you, it's al about being content with what and how you do.


Apr 25, 2017
The more I think about it, the more I think it makes sense for me to stay off grid. I don't use equipment enough to warrant going on grid. When I want to make something I just turn on the generator. I won't see more than $30 fuel expense in any month. I don't mind what others may call an inconvenience. I re-figured the expense of connecting to grid at $18k. $18k/$30 is 600 months. I will not live long enough to break even. Plus...if I don't do anything in the shop, I don't have a "basic" fee for a service I don't use. I know oil changes and the time to make them need to be added in, but that cost is negligible.

I had a conversation with my Amish friend (let's call him John) about line shafts, electrical power and generators. Immediately, he did say that line shafting, while having a certain appeal to some, take much thought in planning and assembly. Electrical power has much more flexibility and is cheaper when installing. Since I do not want to connect to grid power, generating our own power is then mandatory, either by converting chemical or mechanically stored energy, or my generating electricity from wind, solar or fossil fuel. I have photovoltaic panels and will add more, I will to build wind turbine(s) and I have generators.

John told me of a sawmill he worked at when he was younger. They had a 40 HP engine turning a large flywheel and 54" saw blade. By the time the sled got to the end of the log, the rpm was slowing. As the sled returned to the start of the log the engine was spinning the flywheel back up to maximum rpm where the cycle would start again. Using the flywheel allowed the engine to work at near 100% all of the time. This, he said, worked great when everything was going well. But when something happened and needed to stop the mill, they could shut off power to the engine, but the large flywheel still had LOTS of power to keep spinning. It was dangerous. When they removed the flywheel from the mill, they had to replace the 40 HP engine with a 100+ HP engine which operated at full throttle all the time, but only worked 50% of the time. It used more fuel so it was more expensive to purchase, operate and maintain.

I believe I may go the way of the system incorporating the flywheel. As we know, electric motors have a huge power demand when they are initialized and quickly reduce demand. I want to use a small-ish diesel (potentially a hit and miss) to turn a generator that is rated for 150% of startup demand of the largest motor I plan to use in the shop. When initiating the machines, a flywheel is spun up to generator speed via electric motor and mated to the generator with a automatic (pneumatic, electric or hydraulic) clutch. Once the machine motor has started and has reduced its demand, the flywheel is disconnected and allowed to freewheel until needed again or charge batteries as it slows.

Also, I could have a pair of engines. one permanently connected to a generator rated for 150% of startup demand of the largest motor I plan to use in the shop. When initiating the machines, the second engine is started and mated to the generator with a automatic (pneumatic, electric or hydraulic) clutch. Once the machine motor has started and has reduced its demand, the second engine engine is disconnected and shut down. This system could be designed so the two engines would automatically alternate being the main/alternate engine to equalize engine wear and make maintenance easier.

To some, this may sound inconvenient, but electronic controls can make this automatic so I don't have to think of it. A couple hours PCB design and soldering and some programming make this a breeze. The machine couple take a few seconds to start, but I'm in no hurry.