Introduction: Building a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine ( VAWT )

Picture of Building a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine ( VAWT )

When building this turbine we will be using some powertools.
If you are not used to working with powertools ask someone who knows how to use them.
After building this turbine you will still need you fingers so.

Step 1: Tools and Parts

Picture of Tools and Parts

- Jigsaw and or band saw
- Hand saw
- Lathe
- Drill press or hand drill
- Drill bits
- Screwdriver
- Tab tool
- Ruler
- Pencil
- Compass
- Sanding paper
- Vise ( it makes work more easy)
- Wrenches
- 2 clamps

- PVC pipe
- Waterproof wood "concrete form plywood is the best"( if you don't have that you will have to protect it with a coating )
- 2 Bearings ( bottom one needs to be able to handle a load )
- Grease nipple
- Wire rod ( 2 sizes ) ( 1 big one and 4 small ones ) ( Stainless if possible )
- Bolts and washers ( 2 sizes ) ( Stainless if possible )
- A piece of 40 mm round aluminium ( Alloy ) ( it will hold the bottom bearing )
- 2 Angle irons
- 3 eye screws

Step 2: Let's Get Started

Picture of Let's Get Started

First thing you will do is measure your PVC pipe and cut it in 4 equal pieces. ( mine was 2 meters long so that was 50 cm a piece )
When you have done that you will cut it over the hole length.
Now you should have 8 pieces ( they should be exactly the same size! )

Step 3: Making the 2 Disks of the Turbine

Picture of Making the 2 Disks of the Turbine

Take 2 pieces of waterproof plywood ( 12 mm )
Measure in 2 directions to get the middle of the plate and mark that point.
Take your compass and make a circle of 40 cm diameter.
Grab your jigsaw and cut them out.

Step 4: Divide Your Circle in 8 Pieces

Picture of Divide Your Circle in 8 Pieces

Here is a link i have found to do this job quickly and precise.
You only have to do this on one plank.
In the next step i will explain why.

Step 5: Cutting the Slots for the Turbine Blades

Picture of Cutting the Slots for the Turbine Blades

The way i did it was to draw the lines on 2 of the planks and then mark all the bows that i had to cut.
This i would not do again! I think its better to mark only one.
The bows you draw like this: take one half pipe and hold it against one of the 8 lines you drawn before. Draw a line on the inside and the outside of the pipe. The one where you marked the bows on you put on top and then you clamp them together. When you cut them they will be exactly the same. I used a sawblade thats normally meant for cutting metal. That saw blade just a fraction thinner then the blades.
On the side of the 2 disks you make a marking that runs over both of them. This way when you are assembling the turbine the disks will line up perfectly.
What you also should do when there still clamped is drill the centerhole to the size of your big wire rod and the 4 holes for the small rods. Divide the 4 rods equally over your turbine as you can see on the picture below. Stay about 2 cm away from the bows. That way you can still place some washers on your rods without them touching the blades. Take the clamps of and mount the turbine blades and the 4 smaller rods as shown in the last picture. It needs to be a tight fit !

Step 6: Making the Center Wire Rod to Size

Picture of Making the Center Wire Rod to Size

First you mount the top of the turbine just as you did the bottom in the step before.
Pay attention to the markings you made on the sides of the disks when they were still clamped.
This way the same cuts will be nicely on top of each other and the turbine will wobble less after its finished. You might want to use a hammer and a little piece of wood to not damage the blades or the disk when you hit it. Make sure the blades fit tight and the 4 little rods are in the right place. It was not a easy job. Good luck. hehe

Now we will fit the big wire rod with the necessary bolts and washers.
What were going to do now is mark where we will cut of the wire rod.
The first picture is a view from the bottom disk.
I put 2 bolts there and they will rest on the bottom bearing.
I left the wire longer there so i can connect a generator of some sort there.
The upper disk is the second picture and the rod will be cut shorter.
On that side we will only have a bearing to balance the turbine when its in place on its frame.

Step 7: Turning the Wire Rod Down to the Right Size

Picture of Turning the Wire Rod Down to the Right Size

If you have a lathe this is a pretty straight forward job.
I made the rod 10 mm thick on both sides.
The pictures show the bottom side of the wire rod.
Make sure it fits nicely because this will determine how smooth your turbine will run.

Step 8: Making the Holder for the Bottom Bearing

Picture of Making the Holder for the Bottom Bearing

The bearing i used is made out of 3 parts as shown on the first picture.
This bearing is made to cope with vertical weight.
If you watch closely you will see that the 2 disks don't have the same inner size hole.
The disk with the biggest hole ( the one on the right ) is the top part of the bearing where the turbine will rest on.
I cut the hole out on the lathe just the diameter of the bearing. Do this according to the size of the bearing you will use.
Don't make the hole to deep!
Make sure that the top part of the bearing is just sticking out of the holder.
The reason for this is that the top ring will spin together with the turbine and would otherwise rub against the inside of the holder and would slow your turbine down and wear it out quickly.
You will also have to drill a hole through the bottom of the holder so the wire rod can fit through.
Make it slightly bigger then the size of the rod so ones its mounted it will not tough the sides.
You have seen that this bearing has no grease in it so we will have to install a grease nipple.
Use a thread cutting tool to do so.
First drill a hole according to the tread and the nipple size you will use. Mine was M6.
Use some cutting oil because your cutting in aluminium and otherwise it will get all rough on the inside. Run the cutting tool for about 1 turn and then run it back for half a turn. This way the metal is cut inside and you will not brake your tool. Use the 3 stages of cutting till you reach the right tread.

Step 9: Making a Frame Around Your Turbine

Picture of Making a Frame Around Your Turbine

First you get two pieces of wood that are exactly the same length.
Make sure they are wide enough so you can make a strong structure.
Look for the center of both of them and make a hole the size of the bearing holder for the bottom one and the size of the top bearing for the top one.
I was lucky i had a big drill to do so. If not take your biggest drill bit and drill it out and then cut the rest out with a round axe.
For the bottom one you have to drill the center of the hole trough with a drill one size bigger then the size of the big wire rod that will fit into the bearing. For the bottom one you will have to cut out a little slot so the nipple can fit inside and that you have enough space to put in the grease pump. You can see what it should look like on the pictures.
Take two more straight pieces of wood for the sides. ( I had some plywood so i used that )
Take the bottom piece with the bearing holder inside and put it on a flat surface.
Use one of the side pieces and screw it on there. First drill some holes in the side so the screws will go in better. Make sure its perfectly square. ( 90 degree angle )
Do the same thing for the other side.
Now take your turbine thats completely assembled and lower it into the bottom bearing.
Now you take the top piece and slide the bearing over the big rod. Measure on both sides of the turbine and make sure you measure the same distance, that way your frame will be perfectly square.
The movie shows how well it spins. ( by hand of course )

Step 10: Building the Support for the Turbine

Picture of Building the Support for the Turbine

This stuff i did not really measure.
I made sure that everything was in perfect line with the axle of the turbine.
Just build it as you can see from the pictures.
Just make sure its strong cause there will be a lot of power on it.
I did not connect any generator yet.
Had no idea what connect to it.
I was thinking of a otherpower generator. ( coils and neo magnets )
Idea's are welcome
I hope you enjoyed building this turbine.
Keep me informed on your building

Step 11:

Picture of
As you can see on the little movies i connected some ropes to the turbine to hold it stable.
I used some old pins from a tent to connect the ropes to the ground and at the side of the turbine i used 3 eye screws. Works good.
When you put up your turbine make sure to have someone that can hold the turbine while you connect the wires to the ground.


yusra123 (author)2017-06-14

Please how much speed by meter per second that the turbine can rotate on it?

rikkiesix (author)yusra1232017-06-15

I don't know. i never measured that and the turbine does not exist anymore :-(

yusra123 (author)rikkiesix2017-06-15

Please do yuo use the turbine for any operation like irrigation by connect it with water pump ,or connect to generator to obtain electricity to operate electrical machines at home or any others

nono12 (author)2016-10-17

Very difficult install match dynamo but I can get power after installed diy axial flux permanent magnet for 12vdc to charge my battery bank.

Databanks (author)2016-07-20

For those who want to avoid guy ropes, what about building 3 or 4 and connecting their frames together for stability? Or incorporating them into a shed or cubby house for kids and mounting these on the corners? Use a stepper motor as a generator, add some storage batteries and you have free lights and maybe even TV in the shed

worldofsibin (author)2016-01-31

How much power can be produced?

shruti.gore.9 (author)2015-03-01

we have recently made a vawt and used 12 volt dynamo but its failed to produce output(0.6v) even at highest speed of rotation of pulley attached to turbine.may be high starting torqe is required to produce output

please suggest what should be the reason behind it?and what alternative we could use for it?

KevinB133 (author)shruti.gore.92015-11-22

How big is your wheel?
Have you tried a belt to a smaller size wheel and putting a dynamo on the smaller wheel? Or an other dynamo with a lower speed

Alhumaidi (author)2015-10-09

what if we used bycle wheel? Is'nt easier?

prakash341 (author)2015-02-01

i got it but small gen like what wattage PM or ?

rikkiesix (author)prakash3412015-02-01

Like a stepper motor or a permanent magnet motor out of a printer

zigzagchris (author)2009-08-10

Verry nice and congrats on bein fetured. Is it powering anything? and how do these compare to horizontal axis?

JakeTobak (author)zigzagchris2009-08-10

It doesn't look like it's generating any electricity. It would be easy enough to make it though, just need to attach some magnets to the top and some coils above the spinning magnets.

rikkiesix (author)JakeTobak2009-08-10

Hi I will make that generator in a while. I just had some other things i was working on to. When i make the generator i will add it to this instructable. Thx for the comment. Greetings Erik

prakash341 (author)rikkiesix2015-01-31

bro what kind of gen did u used

rikkiesix (author)prakash3412015-02-01

Nothing yet. The turbine is not up anymore cause I moved an have no garden anymore. A small generator would be possible but anything big is not possible with this turbine. Greetings

rikkiesix (author)zigzagchris2009-08-10

Thx a lot. I did not expect to be featured on my first instructable. yay Its not making any power yet so i can't really say the diff also because i don't have a horizontal windmill to compare it to. When the generator is made i will add it to my instructable. You will know about it then. Thx for your comment. Greetings Erik

apicella (author)2013-02-08

As you see I have a very small stepper motor and when I put the drive belt on the turbine does not turn due to it not having the torque.Any ideas

zoakley (author)apicella2014-12-03

It looks like the drive wheel on your turbine is touching the wheel on your stepper motor. If you put a belt on while the wheels are touching, they will not move because the belt is trying to pull the stepper motor wheel counter clockwise while the turbine wheel is trying to push the stepper motor wheel clockwise

rikkiesix (author)apicella2013-02-09

Hey, very nice turbine :-) i like it
Does it spin well without the stepper motor connected?
You have to start by changing the ratio between the 2 disks
I tried that too before and my turbine did not have enough tork
Find some way to make it run very smooth.
Drag is a killer when it comes to these turbines.
Maybe a belt that runs around the outside of the disks.
Just make sure you change the size of the disk connected to the turbine
Keep me posted
I will keep helping untill it works :-)
Greetings from Belgium

OskarS1 (author)2014-09-13

is this still active?

mustfanoo1992 (author)2014-01-13

What's the bearing's diameter?
can I buy them online ?

Friiman (author)2013-03-16

Hi i really like your wind turbine.
I am trying to make one at home, Just finished it but the bearing i use is the same over and under, does a bearing that can handle weight do much for the spinning of the turbine? mine spins when i push it, but not so good by the wind =/ It was not as easy to build by myself as i thought =) have a nice day

rikkiesix (author)Friiman2013-03-19

I have not tried it before with a normal bearing so i don't really know but i guess it will help a bit.
Is the wood you used heavy?
I found the hardest was to actualy put it together :-)
Greetings and good luck

apicella (author)2013-02-10

Do you think that by increasing the length of the blades it will produce more torque.

rikkiesix (author)apicella2013-02-11

I supose that a bigger surface for the wind to blow on will give more torque.
Maybe you can connect a second one on top?
Good luck
Greetings from Belgium

apicella (author)2013-02-10

Must say there was not too much wind.
I have a 4 wire stepper with two rectifiers and all.That's why I had a large pulley to a small so that I was getting 6 to 1 ratio for the speed to get some voltage out of the motor.Maybe I will look for a smaller motor, all I want is 3 volts to light up 1 led.
The turbine looks nice in the garden any way.

apicella (author)2013-02-10

Well last night I connected the stepper motor directly to the center shaft of the turbine with some hose and with disappointment the turbine did not turn fast enough to even light up one led.

rikkiesix (author)apicella2013-02-10

Pity to hear it did not produce enough energy
How much wind was there?
How many wires come out of the stepper motor?
Maybe you can rectify more strings?

apicella (author)2013-02-09

With out the stepper it turns well as it is well balanced.
With the stepper motor there's not much joy.
Do you say I should put a bigger wheel on the turbine.

rikkiesix (author)apicella2013-02-09

No, When you have a small disk on the turbine and a bigger one on the stepper motor the turbine will have less trouble spinning it around
Maybe if you make them both the same size it might work too.
I hope this helps you

apicella (author)2013-02-07

Hi There, I made one using tour instructions and it works great, just looking at connecting a small stepper motor to it to charge 3 or 6 volts.South Africa

rikkiesix (author)apicella2013-02-07

Awesome :-)
Can you send me some pictures of it?
I'm really interested to see your wind turbine
Greetings from Belgium

bgravina (author)2011-11-03

where is the generator suited? and how much electrical power generates.. i what to build one in my garden. really nice work.

rikkiesix (author)bgravina2011-11-04

The plan was to mount the generator at the bottom
The turbine was not strong enough or i had to mount a really small one
I'm not using this turbine anymore
It was my first turbine
I'm working with my uncle on a new turbine
Greetings from Belgium

bgravina (author)rikkiesix2011-11-04

thanks for your help

leblebija (author)2011-01-09

Is there any news concerning the generation of electricity with the turbine? I like the turbines and is easy to produce, does not require much troškove.Da you dare to do PVC pipes up to 2 meters? What type of generator should I choose to maximize the wind with the turbine? Best regards from Serbia

rikkiesix (author)leblebija2011-01-10

Hey there
First of all, happy new year and the best wishes
I tried several generators on it but it never seems to be having enough tork.
I probably tried with to heavy motors connected to it.
If you keep the permanent magnet motor small enough i'm sure it will work well.
Just get the turbine high up.
I'm not sure if this design will have enough strenght to make it 2 meters high.
Ofcourse you can try it but i'm scared it might get a bit wobbly. ( unbalanced at higher rpm )
For now i'm working on a other wind turbine with my uncle.
We hope to get it up soon now, maybe this week or the week after.
We use a dynamo from a bicycle and it produces about 0,4 amps and 25 volt
If we connect it to a battery it will balance itself and go to 13 volts or so.
Greetings from Belgium

The Badger (author)2009-09-14

This is fantastic. Does anyone know what size generator you would need for a domestic system supplying 240v. Its a four bedroom house. Many thanks.

Goedjn (author)The Badger2010-10-26

Look at your electric bill. It should have kilowatt-hours used on it.
divide that by 30 days and again by 24 hours, and by 1000 watts/Kw.

That the average wattage you draw. I'd expect that to be between
1000 and 2000 watts. Since that's your average, you probably want
between 4 and 10 times that as your peak output, depending on how
regular your wind is. (author)The Badger2010-03-24

 Depends on what you have (electric heating, electric water heater, electric stove, ext.) your house is all electric so it is over a kilowatt.  You might ask your electric company, volts don't matter you get all kinds of efficient inverters, you just need enough watts to supply a whole home without over using it, to much is good.

Davedwin (author)The Badger2009-11-19

Well if you look at this other instructable (link below) there is a video of them building it that shows the system they have. You're going to be looking at a pretty big system if you want "full" power. Even if you want something just in case of an outage, it's a pretty big system.

dabombmaker (author)The Badger2009-09-21

It's not turning, not because of lack of wind, but because the wind can't get to it. Raise it higher I suggest using a telescoping pole for easy access.

thepaul93 (author)The Badger2009-09-20


rikkiesix (author)thepaul932009-09-20

Hi I'm not a aussie. I'm belgian. hehe Greetings Erik

rikkiesix (author)The Badger2009-09-14

Hi Thx for your comment. I'm glad you like it. I think it depends on what you want to power, just lighting and some small electrical things or everything in the whole house. If its only lighting and you have some good wind all year around you might be ok with something you build yourself. Otherwise you will need a serious generator i think. You can have a system that charges 12 or 24 volt battery's and then work with a inverter to change it to 240 volts. You also have generators that give 240 right away. Exact data i don't have but its possible maybe also with some solar panels together. Greetings from Belgium Erik

sixpackwill (author)2010-08-27

id get a bike dynamo (the generator you attach to your bike to provide electricity for the light on the front) they are cheap on amazon, but you might need a gear ratio to spin the dynamo fast enough to get a reasonable amount of electricity

SB2010 (author)sixpackwill2010-10-18

Someone with electronics background is needed here because the bike dynamo produces AC current. How do we charge batteries, etc.

rikkiesix (author)SB20102010-10-18

We use a rectifier for that to turn the ac current into dc current.

rikkiesix (author)sixpackwill2010-08-27

Thx, thats a good idea. I made a horizontal turbine with that kind of generator before and that worked pretty good. I will try that out. Good luck with everything you do. Greetings from Belgium Erik

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