Introduction: Easy Home Made Wind Powered Generator.

Lesson to put electricity to work. Just a simple wind powered generator you can make with spare wire from an electric motor. This is  intended this to be just a prototype for a much larger unit you would like to build. The magnet rotor is separate for the coils to make repairs or upgrades easier. This unit is not intended for high speed winds. Ages 10 and up.


To teach that moving a magnet over wire can create electricity.

To teach a basic or two about magnetism.

To educate that we can use natures own power instead of fossil fuel.

To understand why wind can be a force to help create electricity.

To compare student hypotheses with the actual results of the experiment

To learn to reuse what we have.

Step 1: Hypothesis.

When you pass a magnet by a wire it should generate electricity. That is what we are going to try to prove here. Furthermore we can use wind energy to do all the work.

Step 2: Materials.

12 small round magnets
6 beefy diodes. (aka high current/high voltage.)
Some 1/2 inch pvc pipe to be cut into 1/2 inch or so sections
Lots of magnet or motor wire. 12 * 14+ feet = 168+ fee the longer the bettert
Poster board
Jig to wrap coils

Cheap Dollar store magnetic compass.
A diagram of the generator to be made.
Drawing Compass
Plastic knife to cut the Styrofoam.
12 inch ruler

Step 3: Strategy:

Each student is to take the materials and then put together a wind generator. They will need to use a bit of geometry to make the plates. By testing the coils with a compass they can see how magnetism works.  They will also see the force of wind can be put to work. They will get some experience at putting a project together as an engineer might do with a prototype. Lastly see the unit they have built create electricity. For younger students the soil and magnet platform could be pre-made.

Step 4: Making the Platforms.

Each coil is about 1 1/2 inches, so I need a circle at least 12 *1 1/2 round or 18 inches.
You can not easily draw a circle of 18 inches.
Circumference is 2 Pi r or the radius is 18 / ( 2 * 3.14) or about 3 inches.
You can draw a circle with a compass set at 3 inches.
Now to place the magnets and coils we need to know where to place them.
A circle = 360 degrees. 360 degrees / 12 magnets = 30 degrees per magnet.
You will need to draw 6 diameters to get the points where to place them.

Now make a second board the same way.

Step 5: Install the Magnets.

I recommend only doing one or two at a time or you will never get the magnets to set. Drop a little glue on a couple of points on the board. Add a magnet so that the center of the magnet is on the circle or half way in or out of the circle so to speak (n-s n-s n-s etc order). Once you have those magets glued down and dried, add the rest of the magnets a couple at a time till you get them all done.

Step 6: Making the Coils.

Cut a half inch or so of 1/2 inch pvc pipe. insert that into the wiring jig, bend the end of the wire that you will hold on to till the wire is wrapped. Caution: you must wrap all the coils in the same direction or your generator either will not work or perform not at it's best.  Place the coils with the wire all going in the same direction around the circle like you did the magnets.
Note: you can add a battery to the coll and see how the compass reacts to the coil make sure all the coils are in the same direction.  You may have to scrape off of the enameled ends to get a good contact with the battery.
Secure the coils to the base.

Step 7: Wiring of the Coils Together and Making the Base.

We will have 3 sets of wire for 3 phase or three outputs from 4 coils each. by doing this the power pulses will be segregated and the power output will be more even. Three of the lines will be tied (soldered) together and the opposite lines will go into the diode
Though the signal should all be dc, you could add a bridge to make sure. You also need to regulate the voltage, especially if you are recharging a battery. .

coils > diodes > voltage regulator > fuse and switch > item to be powered

Step 8: Making the Wind Blades.

We sill use 4 cups made of Styrofoam to keep the weight down.  You will want to cut a window on one side of the cup. Do not cut all the way to the bottom or all the way to the top. That way they will be easier to attach and have a totally stronger frame.

Note You could add a second level with 4 more cups at a 45 degree angle from the lower level cups.

Step 9: The Frame.

We are going to use a 1/2 inch rod to suspend the magnet and wind blade platform. the coils will just sit on the surface below. Frame is make of 3/4 inch pvc. No specific measurements because each system will vary.. The metal rod was about a foot though. (one side used 1/2 inch pvc because that was what parts I had extra to use).

Glue the two cup levels together making sure the long bolt will fit thought them easily.First level and second level should be if forty-five degree off so the wind will catch all the cups at different times.  Let dry.
Put the long bolt through the unit and attach to the frame.

Step 10: Testing.

Set the base down.
Place the frame over the base.
Once the unit is put together use varying amounts of wind say from a fan  or by  the turning manually of the magnet. Record the results.
Remember the object is what you make and not what we have made!

Step 11: Perfomance and Conclusions.

Performance Assessment:

Have students read and discuss material about the magnetism, basic motors, and the use of wind as an energy.  Give students a pretest asking them to predict the outcome of what will happen if you waved magnets near coiled wires. What to they need to capture the wind to make an axle turn. Next the students create the wind generator.  Give a post-test to the students after the experiment is finished.  Chart all students’ results from the second activity on a class graph.  Discuss the graph with the class focusing on mathematical concepts.


The students should understand the concept of a magnet travelling across a wire can generate electricity. Then that using varying wind to move the magnets wind is can affect how much electricity is done. You can use other souces besides fossil fuel to power motors and or generators.


Marik I. (author)2013-02-18

How far away should the magnets be from the coils?

Computothought (author)Marik I.2013-02-18

Try to get the magnets as close to the coils as you can without danger of collision, Greater distance equals less results,.

Mk49 (author)2012-12-23

Nice me also want to build this one...

jgcnpcpalm (author)2012-09-28

yeah nice gif

Computothought (author)2012-09-21


mistic (author)2012-03-25

well done- I assume you will inform the students that there will be a post test and class graph? This will keep them alert I presume.

Computothought (author)mistic2012-03-25

Thanx and yes I will.

About This Instructable




Bio: Bytesize articles instead of a trilogy in one post.
More by Computothought:Coffeepot mealsEasy sun hatEasy cakes and pies.
Add instructable to: