Introduction: Efficient DIY Wind Turbine
For full tutorial and extra content, please visit my website: http://www.greenenergy-projects.com/
This Instructable shows you how you can build your very own fully functioning 'DIY wind turbine'. The wind turbine you create may be very different from the one that I built as the blades, generator, tower height, etc. May be very different. Nonetheless, hopefully it will still provide a throrough and detailed tutorial on how to build a powerful off the grid energy source.
Before you begin with your project, building the wind turbine, remember to go read through the info section and the FAQ section as well as the background knowledge. All of this will help to build a better wind turbine, as well as gaining a better understanding of the process before building the turbine.
Building a DIY wind turbine can be a challenging task - finding the right pieces, drawing the right measurements, creating the right design, assembling it properly etc. One way to make this whole process easier is by taking the example which I have provided for you and doing something similar as it is too difficult to create an exact replica of the turbine which I created.
This does not however mean that the wind turbine which you create will be any worse, it only means it will not look exactly the same as the materials I have found will not be the same as those you are able to acquire. Before beginning the process, make sure you read through the background knowledge section of this website to help gain the knowledge needed before commencing with this process -- as it will help you get a better understanding of what it is the turbine does, how much electricity is produced, how it is produced, etc.
My website: http://www.greenenergy-projects.com/
My website provides all steps in much more detail, including: more images, sources, tips, background knowledge and useful websites.
Step 1: Materials Needed
Large metal pipe - 110cm in height
Cement - mixable with water*
Large piece of wood such as timber - 5x15x85cm
Large bucket* - Heavy duty - 12 to 14 litres
Piece of metal for the fin - 22x36x0.25cm
Permanent magnet alternator/DC generator
Metal hub in center to connect blades together
screws and bolts to connect blades to hub and to connect metal pipe to wood and generator to wood.
Strong paint which works on wood, (only if you would like to paint the body of the wind turbine)*
Finding the right materials for the turbine is usually the hardest part.
Good places to start looking: www.ebay.com
Both amazon and Ebay have a good variety of different resources and materials.
Personally, I bought my generator from Ebay which worked very well, and usually this is also the cheapest place to buy it. Amazon sometimes also sells generators, but is usually rarer. Besides the generator and metal blades, all of the materials can be bought in any regular DIY store, such as B and Q in the UK or Homedepot in the USA, but otherwise any DIY store will work just fine for buying materials such as the metal pipe, wood base, cement, bucket (or metal foot), screws, bolts and drill bits. DIY stores work best in looking for the materials needed for building the wind turbine, as it gives a better impression of how big the pieces actually are.They also usually have a larger range of materials that work for building wind turbines than on Ebay or Amazon for example.
*Cement and bucket are not needed if you already have a foot to connect the long metal tube to keep it standing. This is usually a better option but also harder to find a good fit for the metal pipe.
*Painting the body of the wind turbine can be beneficial in protecting it from damage from the weather
Step 2: Designing the Wind Turbine
After gathering all of the needed materials for the turbine, you will need to design your wind turbine. This stage of the process is very important because without a clear image of what the wind turbine will look like it will become very difficult to actually imagine what the actual turbine will look like and will in turn make it much harder to build it as you will not be able to properly put it together without the designs.
1) Begin by drawing out an overall sketch of the wind turbine, make sure you label everything: tower, generator, wooden base, blades, and the hub which connects the blades together.
This image presents an example of a diagram of a wind turbine, this picture is a good example of what the drawing should look like. The circled words are the parts which should be included in a good DIY wind turbine, as the diagram is of a professionally manufactured wind turbine.
Drawing a diagram of your DIY wind turbine does not have to be incredibly detailed as this is not necessary. The diagram should be used for an overall view of what the placement of the different parts of the wind turbine would be, and how it would look like in the end stages. Remember to include all necessary details of your wind turbine in your diagram/drawing.
2) After drawing the diagram of your wind turbine, you will need to come up with the right measurements of your wind turbine. These measurements will include the height, length and width of you wooden base which connects the generator and tail fin to the tower and will keep everything together. You will also need to figure out the right measurements for your tower, which will be the metal pipe or PVC pipe, depending on what materials you decide you will use. The measurements of your tower will include height and diameter. Other measurements will be for the tail fin: height and width and the blades: length and width, and diameter(not very important, but may help in your process). These measurements are incredibly important as they determine the size of the wind turbine. It is also important to have these measurements on hand when buying your materials, write them on a piece of paper when visiting your DIY store.
3) After you have drawn your rough draft sketch for your wind turbine and recorded all measurements, you will need to create a final drawing which will be the one you will follow when proceeding with the 'building it' stage. Your final drawing should be as neat as possible and include all parts of the wind turbine, and also include ALL measurements recorded for your wind turbine.
4) Finally, you will need to purchase/acquire all materials required for your turbine, all the materials need are listed on the 'materials' stage under the 'DIY wind turbine' section of this website. Remember to use your recorded measurements when purchasing your materials, and take into account that the listed measurements are the ones that I used to build my wind turbines.
Step 3: Building It
1) Begin by sawing the wood to fit the required measurements you created during the 'design' stage. Make sure when you saw the wood, mark the measurements on the wood using a pencil to stick to the measurements. This is important as making mistakes when sawing the wood could create problems later on for your wind turbine.
My measurements for the wooden base: 85x15x5cm
2) The next step is to connect the metal pipe/tower to the wood using screws. To connect the metal pipe to the wood, you will need a foot on the pipe with holes in it to connect the screws to the wood through, without it you will not be able to connect the pipe to the wood. Remember to screw the metal pipe onto the wooden base as tightly as possible. When the wind turbine is finished it will need to be as stable as possible due to the effects of harsh weather such as very strong wind, rain or storms. It will also improve the efficiency of the wind turbine, as it will be easier for the blades to properly capture the power of the wind, without the structure moving around needlessly.
The foot you use to connect the metal pipe to the wood will need to be able to allow the wooden base to move freely in the wind. If this is not possible then, worst case you will need to turn the turbine manually to face the turbine into the wind for the blades to rotate.
3) Next, you will need to connect the whole thing: Metal pipe tower with wooden base connected to it, onto a foot. This foot is EXTREMELY important, without it the wind turbine will not be able to stand properly without falling over as the weight of the turbine will make it very unstable. The foot will need to be relatively heavy as the whole wind turbine will need to be stabilized by this foot. An alternative to the foot (which may be cheaper) as stated in the 'materials' section, is to fill a regular 12-14 litre bucket with cement and place the wind turbine in that. Although it may be cheaper it may not necessarily mean that it will be more stable, and you will also need to hold the turbine in place while the cement dries (this could take up to half and hour). Another option is to connect the wind turbine to the ground. This is the cheapest option, but may also be the hardest option as you will need a good bit of land to dig a small hole for the wind turbine to be placed. You will also need some sort of platform to hold it in place in the ground. The option which I went with, was using a foot and placing the turbine in it. The foot I used was a regular metal Christmas tree foot, with bolts to tighten the metal turbine in place, like you would with a Christmas tree.
4) The next step is to attach the generator onto the wooden base, this is pretty simple. If your generator has holes to screw it in place, all you need is to do so using regular screws which aren't too long to go all the way through the wood. If your generator does not have any holes to screw it in place, you could use some strong metal wire to tie it around the wooden base.
5) After this you will need to attach the tail fin onto the wooden base. The tail fin is the thin piece of metal at the end of the wind turbine. This piece of metal will help the wind turbine to stay facing the wind and will also keep it stable. The tail fin will also help to balance the weight of the wind turbine, as the generator along with the blades make the front of the wind turbine incredibly heavy, this will help to even it out a little.
6) The next step is to attach the metal blades to the hub. The hub is the centre part of the wind turbines, which connects them together. The hub needs to very strong as this will keep the blades connected, if the hub is weak, the blades may come off or it will not spin properly which means a loss in energy produced. The hub needs to be made of a strong material, such as metal. The centre hole in the hub needs to be able to fit onto the generator shaft. You will need to use the right sized screws to connect the blades to the hub.
If it does not fit (a mistake which I made when building the turbine) you will need a screw driver with the right sized drill bit to drill the centre hole larger.
7) The last step is to connect the blades (with hub) onto the generator shaft. Screw the hub connected with the blades, onto the generator and spin it using your hands to make sure it spins without any problem. Make sure there is no chance of the hub coming out of the generator shaft. This could prove fatal, if the hub comes off it may break the blades. You may need an axle or small metal disc to keep the hub in place.
- This is my finished wind turbine, after completing all of the steps.
Step 4: Video Guide
Step 5: FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
How much will it cost me? The price of building a wind turbine can vary drastically, typically a wind turbine built by yourself will be much cheaper than buying one premaid, the cost varies by the generator used, tower height and other materials available. The wind turbine which I built, cost me around 150 £ (228$).
How long will it take to build a wind turbine? The time it takes to build it, is not nearly as long as the time it takes to source the materials, plan it and design it. Constructing the turbine should take a maximum of 3 weeks. If you have all of the parts ready and a clear vision of what it will look like it will take much less time, around a week.
Is it less efficient than a pre built wind turbine? This depends whether or not you have built your turbine to a good standard, usually it will be hardly any worse than a pre built turbine. A number of factors will also affect this, these are: tower height, materials used, and the generator used. Therefore, if you complete the steps provided well, then there should be no problem in achieving the same amount of electricity as a pre maid turbine. On the other hand it will most DEFINITELY be cheaper than buying a pre built turbine.