DIY Wind Turbine





Introduction: DIY Wind Turbine

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This instructable will demonstrate how to build a power generating wind turbine. My inspiration came from seeing other wind turbine instructions online. I hope to simplify the process with clear, easy to follow instructions.

Thanks to mdavis19 for his instructable How I built an electricity producing wind turbine which really sparked my interest in wind energy.

Step 1: Parts & Tools

Battery - - - $58
Battery Box - - - $8
Battery Connectors - - - $2.25
500 Watt Inverter - - - $45
Generator - upcycled treadmill motor - - - $0
Tail - scrap metal - - - $0
6'' PVC pipe 10' length - - - $30
Bolts & Screws - - - $5
1'' Iron pipe 60'' length - - - $14
Pipe Nipple - - - $2.50
Pipe Flanges - - - $8
Pipe Swivel Connector - - - $3.50
16 Gauge Wire (already owned) - - - $0
Black spray paint (already owned) - - - $0

Total - - - $176.25

Power tools
Drill & drill bits

Jig saw

Table saw

Belt sander

Hand tools
Various screw drivers
Tap set
2 pairs of Channel Locks
Measuring tools (I used a tape measure and a caliper)

Step 2: Motor

The most important part of this project is the electric motor. Luckily, I had a nonworking treadmill in my garage just waiting to be scrapped out.

DC motors, when turned, will generate current. Be sure the motor you plan to use is DC powered, and it's helpful if it has a flywheel attached.

Step 3: Blades

Another vital part is the blades. I cut mine from 6 inch PVC pipe with a jig saw and table saw.

Cut a 2 ft length of pipe, split it in thirds, and then cut the shape from each third. The jigsaw was used to rough cut the shape, and the table saw to straighten them. My cuts were less than perfect, so I had to sand them down for even weight and size.

Step 4: Backbone

There will need to be a backbone to connect the motor to the tail and the stand. Mine already had a section of square iron attached.

At this time, add the tail and find the balancing point. The balancing point will be where it attaches to the stand.

Drill, tap, and install the pipe flange.

Step 5: Flywheel

To prepare the flywheel to accept the blades, you will need to drill and tap holes in 3 spots. I used 1/4"-20 thread machine screw for my blades.

Drill and tap the first, measure 120 degrees around, and repeat. You should now have 3 holes evenly spaced across the flywheel.

Drill 2 holes in each blade.

Screw the blades into the 3 holes you just drilled and tapped on the flywheel.

You should currently have the blades screwed on with only one screw, so that they can pivot. Measure the distance between the tips of each blade. Once they are all even, mark your 3 additional holes on the flywheel, making your marks through the second hole you drilled in each blade. Drill and tap at each mark, and screw your blades on with an additional screw.

Step 6: Assemble

Paint the parts. Assemble everything together and take it for a test drive. I wanted all the bugs worked out before it was in the air, so I strapped it onto a trailer and took it for a whirl.

For the turbine to be most effective, the blades and flywheel should all be in balance. To be sure it's well balanced, spin the blades several times, marking whichever side ends up on bottom. The marks should all be spread around randomly. If they are all in one spot, you need to lighten that side by sanding or drilling away some material.

Step 7: Wiring

The test drive and balance tests were a success, so it was time to wire everything together.

The negative wire from the inverter and from the turbine both connect directly to the negative battery terminal. The positive from the inverter connects to the battery with a fuse in line. Connect the positive wire from the wind turbine through a diode and a fuse.

The turbine can be mounted on a portable stand (as pictured) and held with guy lines, or mounted to a permanent structure. I plan to permanently install mine on a marker post at the corner of the property.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions please post them below, I will be glad to answer them.

Don't forget to vote for this instructable in the Remix contest.



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    Won't the wires tangle if the thing turns toward the wind all the time? Just curious as how that is to be handled.

    I built one of these myself. I put the wires in the pipe. They do not get tangled up like you think.

    I'm planning to leave the wires fairly loose so they won't get twisted too badly. The turbine won't make full circles often, usually just partial rotations

    And this is the very reason you don't need to worry with slip rings. The chance that the wire would twist enough to snap is near zero.

    I would install a swivel connection inline on the wiring. While it won't spin constantly around the post, it will eventually twist your main cable until it breaks. Otherwise, great Instructable.

    Easy-Peasy, as some kids say; either use slip rings (better), or rotation-limiting hardware and a wire leads loop.

    I like what you did here and this is one of the best explanations I have seen! Nice!

    We have a mini version that is more of a model for the classroom.

    photo 1 (1).jpg

    great job, that's really neat. I might have to build a mini turbine too

    hello there !, a bring a question from santiago de Chile.

    about the wire, how do you deal whit the full rotation of the wind turbine whitout tearoff the cables from?

    ps: nice work by the way

    I suspect you have found out already by now, but you can use a 'capsule slip ring' which allows the current to flow through it without twisting the wires.

    Slip Ring 15A.jpg