Introduction: A Vertical Wind Generator From Washing Machine Motor

Picture of A Vertical Wind Generator From Washing Machine Motor

Have an old front-load clothes washer and some PVC pipe lying around?  Make a vertical wind generator and go GREEN the DIY way.

Step 1: Remove Motor From Washing Machine

Picture of Remove Motor From Washing Machine

This step was the most destructive using various implements to separate the motor assembly from the washing machine.  I'll leave it to your imagination and whatever tools you have on hand.  The output of this step should be the coil assembly and the magnet assembly.  Keep the shaft and bearings if you can also.  Mine were pressed into the washing drum and were difficult to remove without destroying them.  Keep the bolts from the coil and magnet assembly also.  You may want to use them for your new hub.

Step 2: Clean the Parts

Picture of Clean the Parts

Clean the magnets and coils, and remove any rust that may have built up on the ends of the coils.  Then put a light coat of oil on the metal parts or a light layer of clear coat to keep them from rusting again.

Step 3: Design a New Hub

Picture of Design a New Hub

This may be the most difficult part.  You need to design a hub that will space the coils in line with the magnets, and also have some sturdy bearings at each end.  I started out with a block of plastic used for an automotive brake rotor holding fixture.  You could make the same on a lathe, or build one up from layers of wood or other plastic, etc.

Step 4: Shaft Fit

Picture of Shaft Fit

I saved part of the original washing machine drum shaft where the two bearings were located and cut off the rest.  Then I added some threaded rod in the end where the original bolt was located.  The threaded rod will attach to my blade assembly.

Step 5: Hub and Coils

Picture of Hub and Coils

Here is the hub bolted to the coils with a cutout for some wiring.  At this point, I haven't rewired any of the coils.  There are many DIY generator projects on the web using these same washing machine motors and some describe various ways to rewire them for different voltages and currents.  Your application will define your wiring.

Step 6: Finished Generator Assembly

Picture of Finished Generator Assembly

Here's a photo of the magnets and coils mounted on the new hub and shaft assembly.  At this point, you can spin the assembly and measure the voltage output, current output, vs. RPM.  These measurement steps, and a way to determine the required torque to spin the generator I will save for my next Instructable.

Step 7: Blade Design and Construction

Picture of Blade Design and Construction

My blade design is based on some vertical blades I've seen, and in particular, a spinning porch ornament I purchased a few years back.  The Idea is to have a cup-like section of the blade always in the direct flow of the wind.

Step 8: The Blade Design

Picture of The Blade Design

First mark the cutting lines on the PVC pipe.  You can sand off the marks after cutting and/or paint the blades if needed.

Step 9: Cut Blades

Picture of Cut Blades

I used a jig saw to cut the long flat cuts.

Step 10: Cut Blades

Picture of Cut Blades

I used a hack saw to cut the rounded sections.

Step 11: Drill Center Hole for Post

Picture of Drill Center Hole for Post

I used a hole saw to drill the center holes for the PVC post.  The center post has caps on the ends to secure to the threaded rod.

Step 12: Completed Generator

Picture of Completed Generator

Here's a photo of the completed generator ready for mounting on a porch, or in a tree, or wherever.  This motor was rated at about 400 Watts, so I'm hoping for 50-100 watts in a good wind.

I hope you've enjoyed this Instructable, See you all next time......

Step 13: Measurements

Picture of Measurements

No load and full load torque was measured using a strain gage load cell mounted on a rod located one foot from the center of the hub.  Data was captured using a national instruments DAQ card and DasyLab daq software. No load was all wires open, full load was all wires shorted.  I tried to move the rod 90 degrees in 5 seconds at a steady rate manually.

No load torque averaged 0.39 ft-lbs, ful load torque was approx. 1.25 ft-lbs

Step 14: Measurements

Picture of Measurements

Full load Plot.

Step 15: Part Numbers

Picture of Part Numbers

LG Washer model WM0532HW

Sears Part Numbers
Stator assembly


Sensor assy
Call for availability
(800) 252-1698

Kenmore 41473 


ajayt7 (author)2017-07-09

Regarding matching wind power and torque, would it be helpful to use gears along with a Fly wheel? How can one go about from designing point of view? Any website / apps that can help?

ajayt7 (author)2017-07-09

Simpler design, easy to follow, thanks for posting

JeremyP107 (author)2017-05-05

If you don't have F&P washing machines where you live, here is a Samsung alternative:

skilalowski (author)2016-12-09

found one make it

Kai SaerPren (author)2016-05-04

that isn't a washing machine motor... maybe a ceiling fan?

KarlM48 (author)Kai SaerPren2016-06-09

It is a washing machine motor out of a Samsung I would say as looks like the one in front of me.

KarlM48 (author)Kai SaerPren2016-06-09

It is a washing machine motor out of a Samsung I would say as looks like the one in front of me.

ar_caver (author)Kai SaerPren2016-05-30

If you take the time to look up the part numbers he has listed you will see it is indeed from a washing machine.

dallen20 (author)2016-02-01

Before embarking on any generator project, the obvious requirement is to have some genuine power output results for the design. Watts, amps and volts figures are needed. Axial flux generators appear to have good performance.Can anypne point me in the right direction for a solid practical design with output results?

RichardH162 (author)dallen202016-03-07

SteveMann (author)2016-03-02

This is really awesome!

My grandfather taught me how to make these kinds of things like wind turbines, etc., in my childhood, and usually we used an automobile generator.

It would be interesting to get a sense of comparison between these motors and automotive generators.

It seems for one thing there are lots of poles, and maybe that ratio helps....

offgridd (author)2016-02-15

Building green energy from scrap is always nice to see!

Can you tell me something about the magnets?

Is this 12 x North/South poled or 6 x Northt and 6 x South?

basharqabala (author)2016-02-12

how can get this machine i need it

ddavis662 (author)2015-09-26

What size diameter pipe did you use and what is the length of the pipe?

ddavis662 (author)2015-09-26

Cool idea/design of the blades! I'll check into that design on my next wind generating project

solemnraven (author)2015-07-26

Can I use a top loading washing machine?

mudita.reddy (author)2014-09-09

OK. I just made this wind turbine using washing machine stator and rotor. When I turn the wind turbine with my electric blower(for testing purposes) I can not even light a small (10 w) bulb. I tried it in 3 phase and 1 phase conection. What am I doing wrong? I hope some one can help with this project I have.

testacorsa (author)mudita.reddy2015-05-30

Did you rewire? Check this link:

ash.springer.9 (author)2015-01-16

i have just removed the moter from a washing machine seems to be a self exciting one as there is no initial torque to fire magnets up, (the washing machine was fairly nice grade a ++ but had a faulty pump and i have anothers sooo) it also seems to have a built in frictionless moter on the shaft it spins very freely its 220v at 6000 rpm so to produce even 12 v would be quite alot of gearing right? i cant wait to get a meter on it and give it a spin :D i was considering doing the whole inlet outlet for hydro but with such a good moter perhaps a vawt would be better !

If you haven't already found this, then check it out :)

TomR7 (author)2015-05-27

judgeyoung (author)2015-03-30

Very nice yard ornament. Why not build it into a HAWT and put a single PVC blade on it and see if you can actually make some measurable power with it? There is a reason the vertical axis turbines are so inefficient, and a reason that HAWT's have proven themselves better for hundreds of years. Probably not as artistic as your pretty unit, but much more powerful! Let us know if you produce any power.

rick.young.31 (author)2015-01-07

if you use a older Gm alternator then replace the regulator with a SE model (Self exciting) it takes no energy to start generating current. just spin it

bhvm (author)2013-08-31

How about using CAR alternators for the same? I guess they're MADE for power generation, right? What will be your opinion about car alternators vs washing mahcines?

DennisB2 (author)bhvm2014-11-23

Car alternators are dubious. They usually require your to charge up your rotor with an already supplied 12v. so if your output is 18v, you are really only making 6v.

So they are kinda wasteful.

You want a permanate magnet motor or alternator.

bjorleif (author)DennisB22014-12-28

Nonsense. You supply a small 12V (a few amps) to start, but get a LARGE 12V back (a few tens of amps). You get an old battery from the old alternator donor car anyway. :)

Residual magnetism in the alternator MIGHT also be enough to start the process, so you might not need a starting 12V. Test and see.

allhopswindgen (author)bhvm2014-02-09

Yes I have used car alternators BUT not Generators as the horsepower required is a little more than 'Wind Power' required for Generator not so for an Alternator.

NRG4UandMe (author)2014-12-10

looks like a ton of coils , likemore than 24 .. did you wire in a every 4th one into series and then rectify --- thin so not much amps but coudl be good voltage, you might want to step up shaft speed with a 3 or 5 to 1 pulley / chain gear system from the blades to the genny ... nice one , like your unique pvc blade configuration !!

drdrun11 (author)2014-11-09

I have a question about this project..

What do you think about using a belt drive system and one of these motors?

It's a motor from washing machine but very different then the one you showed here?
I am relatively new to this subject so i'm hoping that you will answer me..

dirizary (author)2014-10-01

I am dubious that such a small sail area can drive a generator of this size,

mmohd noor1 (author)2014-05-22

hello everybody, i need some idea for my engineering team project. i hope some of you could help me in generating the idea.thanks in advance

SIRJAMES09 (author)2013-10-19

Q: is it possible, to use different gears & such, to get a higher output from this type of motor? Or is this about as good as it gets?

I love this idea, & was thinking about applying it to my workshop for lights & other small applications...I know that power tools are out of the Question with this type of generator.

cgosh (author)SIRJAMES092014-04-28

@SIRJAMES09 -- Remember that your overall goal is to MATCH the torque requirements of a sensibly-spinning generator/alternator with the power available from your windmill. If your match is "too fast" the wind will overspin the generator (wasting energy and bearings), or "too slow" it won't have enough power to spin it in low winds. Imagine yourself pedaling a 10-speed bicycle and you should get the idea. In fact, a 10-speed bicycle gear/chain setup may be just what you need to get your desired ratio.

Many power tools today run on battery packs that can be recharged with off-grid power.

allhopswindgen (author)2014-01-17

Why buy all this when there are many old F&P 'Gentle Annie'washing mchines that can be had for nothing if you ask around .. people throw them away after they end there lives as washing machines because they become too exspensive to fix, BUT are still OK for a 'wind generator' or what ever energy you wish to drive then with. I am a Mobile Home owner and I have mine powered by a small engine all mounted as a unit under my old Bus-Mobile Home all silenced and can hardly hear it running. Charges my House Batteries and also my Starting Batteries if reqired. All connected to a Solar Energy System.

kcarring (author)allhopswindgen2014-02-09

those days are gone dude. long, long gone. the F&P's were 80's machines, its 2014, that's like saying why dont you just find yourself a little VW non turbo diesel with 100,000 miles on it and run it for 10 years. those were truths in the 90's not now.

allhopswindgen (author)kcarring2014-02-09

Dear 'kcarring', I do not know where you live but F&P still produce these machines in 2014 AND the linear motors are available brand new IF you are inclined to spend the money to buy a new motor. I am an Appliance Service Person so do have access to these older machines that are noy worth while repairing because of the cost and NEW MACHINES are quite competitive on the open market....
My Regards allhopswindgen.

allhopswindgen (author)kcarring2014-02-09

Don't know where you are from BUT Fisher & Paykel still produce these machines 'dude' they are not new technology BUT the washing machines back in the '80's had gear boxes these do not have a gearboxes at all --TOTALLY Electronic and internally computer controlled totally programmeable by the house wife OR operator !!!!!

allhopswindgen (author)2014-02-09

Just trying to pass on good and helpful comments on this suject as I have been in this field for over fifty years so should know what I am talking about qand as for the comment below ' We have a be nice comment policy'.Iguess you have taken objection ???

Please be positive and constructive.

nevrdun (author)2013-02-07

I just love the pipe vanes...gonna make just that part to whirl on a post by my pond. beauty instructions!

Treknology (author)nevrdun2013-02-08

One hopes that this does not develop great speed when running. PVC becomes more rigid and brittle in the weather and can shatter causing great damage and/or injury. PVC pipe is OK for prototyping but don't rely on it long term.

Yes Treknology PVC unless UV stabilised can deteriate very quickly and shatter.. I have opted for wooden propellor re:- an old aircraft one.. at least it is perfectly ballanced BUT not suitable for air worthiness as required for aircraft.. Ideal for wind generator though .......

Teslaphonics (author)nevrdun2013-02-09

The inspiration for the vanes came from a whirlygig I purchased a few years ago.

bhvm (author)2013-02-07

i would be pleased to know what Volts and Amps does it generate?
How much is the linearity with the wind speed? What are you using to stabilize the output to something stable?

Teslaphonics (author)bhvm2013-02-09

From what I could find, the motor was rated at about 400W. The original wiring is 3 phases from 115V, so each phase was probably only running a couple of amps. The coil wire dia. is 0.035in or about 20 AWG.

Teslaphonics ==Actually the Washing Machine motors are three phase 230 volts and can generate three phase 400volts at 400watts so can be quite dangerous in the wrong hands specially somebody not familiar with electricity..BUT on saying that a small modification and you can produce lower voltages in A/C power but rectified is VERY usefull for all sorts of applications, that is why I use it for my Mobile Home i.e. 24 &12 volts which my Mobile Home is powered by

foobear (author)2013-02-07

Why a washing machine motor only? What about some other motor, like from a vacuum cleaner or a weed whacker? Sorry if question is super dumb.

allhopswindgen (author)foobear2014-02-09

Sorry foobear not a stupid question -- BUT no they have wound statora nd armature windings not suitable for generators unless you do lots of modifications and am good at engineering

Treknology (author)foobear2013-02-08

The question is not "super" dumb. This particular type of washing machine motor allows speed and direction control, because it is basically a stepper motor and contains permanent magnets.

The type of motor found in a weed-whacker or vacuum cleaner is usually a "universal" motor that can run on AC or DC because it has no magnets and relies entirely on windings for both the stator and the rotor. The magnetic response is only present when electricity is already present. Without permanent magnets, they are useless as generators----however the starter motor or alternator from a motor vehicle has distinct possibilities.

tseay (author)Treknology2013-02-09

You are correct on the motor type. Stepper motors are unique and I think a dc output would be the best for charging rechargables.

foobear (author)Treknology2013-02-08

ic, interesting, okthx

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