All aluminum Decorative Garden windmills
Dave Winguard began his business with an all aluminum bike cart which he began making in the basement of his house. The all aluminum bicycle cart continues to be a popular product. The cart is very light - has two 20" bike wheels and a hitch that connects to the seat post. This cart is perfect for bicycle tours and trips where a cyclist might want to carry supplies, extra equipment, a food cooler, rain gear - things that would not fit in panniers, bags or a rack. The cart is also useful for bring things back from the store. In fact I saw a couple of these carts in use in the town where the windmills are made, people were transporting cooking supplies from the store back to their home. Dave later on developed a smaller bike cart both of which are in the products section.
Dave ran out of room in his basement and moved his operation to a garage, expanded the garage and then to the shop where he is now located. He recently expanded the shop to his present manufacturing facility.
All of the products that Dave makes are of aluminum - there are the bicycle carts, the windmills, garden, farm and industrial hand carts, some unique rural mailbox solutions and a lot more. All of the products very high quality, hand made with attention to detail and function. Every item in the product line is made to last for years. The use of aluminum means light weight, strength and of course aluminum will not rust so the products never need painting. Dave takes low maintenance a step further - he uses stainless steel fasteners - screws, nuts and bolts which also will not rust or corrode.
The windmills are made totally of aluminum - the legs are aluminum square tubing, the wheels have a molded aluminum hub with aluminum blades welded to the hub. The pivot is aluminum rod with the wheel side drilled out and a grease zerk placed on the end to that the wheel bearings can be lubricated. The pivot rotates on a stainless steel pin which is part of the mast head. The wheel has ball bearings set in molded plastic and even has a plastic cover on the front covering the grease zerk and mounting nut. The red or green and yellow trim is vinyl. The windmills are made to last for many years and require minimum maintenance, just add some grease to the wheel and pivot a couple of times a year. On of his windmills has been outside for 14 years and looks like new. Even the vinyl trim still looks like new.
CLICK TO GO TO THE ALUMINUM WINDMILLS
This product line is totally made in the USA by skilled and innovative craftsmen who have years of experience working with aluminum. The weld on the pivot, mast head and wheel are down by hand. Welding aluminum takes some very special skills. (I have tried to weld aluminum myself - all I was able to do was burn holes in the aluminum and produce welds that just fell apart).
The decorative garden windmills come in a number of sizes. 4 foot, 6 foot, 8 foot, 10 foot, 12 foot, 18 foot, 22 foot and a massive 30 foot. Each size of windmills has a different sized wheel, tail and frame. The dimensions of each windmill are in the individual product descriptions. The windmills are shipped directly from the manufacturer and each is shipped in two packages. One package contains the wheel, tail, platform and ground stakes. The second package contains the legs, cross braces and horizontal braces. Assembly is straight forward, it takes an hour or so to put a windmill together. The windmills come with an instruction sheet and I have put together a series of photos, tips and observations on my windmill blog site.
When it comes to decorative, ornamental yard and garden windmills there are several key factors that must be there for these to last for years. The first of course is the quality the manufacturer puts into making the windmills. The main reason that the cheap Chinese copies fail is the quality just is not there to begin with. The cheap Chinese copies simply fall apart, they vibrate, the frame material is so light it bends, the blades fly off the wheel in moderate winds, the bearings (if they have bearings at all) fail and so on. Sadly people will go out and buy a garden windmill based on price. They end up with a cheap Chinese windmill which fails in a few months and they figure that all garden windmills are the same. The reality is the Made in the USA windmills - while more costly can last for years and years in all sorts of weather and wind conditions. The key is the quality of the original product. When it comes to garden windmills the Made in the USA label is very important.
Something to know about yard and garden windmills is American windmill or American Style windmill that you see on the internet and in large box stores is a style of windmill, it has nothing to do with where the windmill is made. An American windmill is simply a wheel that faces the wind and a tail that causes the wheel to pivot into the wind as the wind direction changes. Most of the "American" windmills that you see are made in China and in far too many cases poorly made in China. Made in the USA American style windmills is what you want. As far as I have been able to learn there are are two truly made in the USA yard and garden decorative windmill lines. The steel Made in the USA windmills that I have on this site and the all aluminum Made in the USA windmills featured here.
The second key to making your yard garden windmill hold up over the years is proper mounting. The one thing that can damage any ornamental garden windmill is to have the tower tip over. All of the steel windmills including the imports have one thing in common. There are large holes at the base of the legs and they come with ground stakes that are driven in at an angle through these large holes and into the ground. This can work well as long as the frame is staked down well and the windmill tower does not move. The ground stakes can work loose allowing the tower to move or "rock" which will very quickly further loosen the ground stakes. When the decorative windmill tower ground stakes loosen, high and or shifting winds can cause the ground stakes to get pulled out and the tower to tip over. This will cause the spinning wheel to contact the ground and it will bend the wheel. There is no way to get the wheel bent back to where it will run smoothly. A ground strike by the wheel almost always means a replacement of the wheel will be necessary. Always stake down garden windmills and check to make certain the stakes have not loosened by pulling and pushing on the tower. If the tower can move then you will need to move the windmill a few inches and re-stake it. The ability of the ground stakes to hold the windmill varies with the soil composition and with how wet the soil is. With the steel windmills you might want to consider mounting to cement or railroad ties or other solid mounts. There are some tips on how to mount the steel windmills in my blog and in my newsletters.
The aluminum decorative windmills have a unique anchoring system. The smaller aluminum windmills have anchors that bolt to the legs - sort of like a J hook. When you have completed assembly of an aluminum windmill, take it to the place where you want it to be and dig 4 holes - a hand post hole digger or narrow bladed shovel would work. Set the anchors into the holes and refill the soil. Tamp the soil down, compact it as you fill the holes. Make certain the windmill is level, you can tell by placing a level on the lower horizontal braces and continue to fill in the holes tamping the dirt in place as you fill the holes. The base of the windmill legs should be level with the surrounding soil. In other words the anchored windmill ends up where it would be if you just set it on the ground.
Anchoring the aluminum windmills is very important, these windmills because they are made of aluminum are very light and can tip over with very little wind. I would recommend that you do not put the top (the wheel and tail) on the tower until you have the tower anchored well. There is a possibility that your brand new windmill could tip over and damage the wheel if you have it setting outside in a moderate breeze. Locate and anchor the tower first, and once the tower is firmly in place then put the wheel and tail onto the tower.
Maintenance is the final step to having a garden windmill last for years. The steel windmills (wheel, blades and pivot) will need to be repainted every few years with silver paint. The red blade tips and tail will also need to be repainted from time to time. The biggest advantage to the aluminum windmills that Dave makes is aluminum does not rust, neither does the stainless steel bolts, screws and nuts. The red or green and yellow trim is vinyl. The made in the USA aluminum windmills are more expensive than the Made in the USA steel windmills, however the maintenance is far less.
The one thing common to all of the ornamental yard and garden windmills is to grease the wheel twice a year and put some grease on the pivot twice a year. I did an experiment with an 8 foot steel windmill where I just put one outside my store. I did not grease it nor did I do any touch up painting. You can see the results on my blog site. The bearings after 4 years had started to become very noisy even though the wheel still turned easily even in the slightest breeze. The wheel, blades and pivot had developed rust, and there is rust inside the steel mast head. Some of the red trim has started to come off the tips of the blades. In contrast the aluminum windmill that Dave has outside his facility has been there for 14 years and still looks new.
You can get a cheap Chinese copy for less than $50 and as long as you never put it outside in the wind or weather it will last for years. Most of the cheap Chinese made windmills will last only a few months at best before they will fail. You can get one of the made in the USA steel garden windmills that will last for years as long as you mount it well and grease the pivot and wheel a couple of times a year. These come in only 8 foot size - the tower, tail braces and tail is galvanized steel which will last for a very long time. The wheel and pivot are painted (reason - you cannot weld galvanized steel so the parts that require welding are painted) and will need to be repainted every few years. The made in the USA steel windmills are a quality product and well worth the investment.
The Made in the USA aluminum and stainless steel windmills will not rust are very well made and again as long as they are well anchored should last for years and only require some grease to the wheel and pivot twice a year. There are more sizes available and while they do cost more than the Made in the USA steel windmills they are well worth the investment.
Another product that Dave makes are Pond Aerators in 20 foot and 30 foot sizes. These windmills power a pump which pumps air to the bottom of a pond. If you need an aerator for your lake or pond here are a couple of products to consider. Like the decorative windmills these are aluminum with stainless steel fasteners.