Build the prototype of a wind turbine blade with fiber glass, cardboard, software, tools and affordable or free materials.

Beware my friend, it's a loooong and detailed instructable since professional wind turbine have many parameters to take in account.
After that we'll jump, and backflip like ninjas with file formats to land in 123D Make and finally build this blade.
With all this you're (almost) ready to start manufacturing wind turbines :)

My goal is to show that a high tech industrial product can be made with a few tools, limited material and some knowledge (tricks?) and I hope to physically help make this kind of development in some parts of the world where you can't afford to buy such high end products but need them to generate green energy for local community development.

If you find this project green, worth a laser cutter, simply useful or beautiful, please vote for it by clicking on the "vote" button at the upper right corner of this page. It's really appreciated.

Materials needed:
Cardboard  (or MDF) of the same thickness and in good condition (not pressed or compressed) 594x840mm minimum.
A wood stick of section 30x30mm and 600mm long minimum.
Laser cutter or brand new scalpel or knife, to cut properly and without compressing cardboard (or scroll saw for MDF).
Laser cutter or table saw for cutting wood stick (or jigsaw).
Non permanent spray adhesive (in DIY store).
Fiberglass: Roving 500g / m² and 200g / m², with carbon fiber if possible, or designed for wind turbines ideally
Epoxy Resin (laminating epoxy to prevent vapors from polyester and to master drying).
Printer and paper (or layer).
Calipers (just to measure some thickness).
If using a scalpel, a cutting mat to make precise and clean cut.

Software requirements (to be installed on your computer):
Heliciel (proprietary, http://heliciel.com)
jCAE 0.16 (open source, https://sourceforge.net/projects/jcae/files/jcae/0.16.0/)
Visorium (french, freeware, http://5axes.free.fr/Visorium3D.htm)
Autodesk 123D Make (freeware, http://www.123dapp.com/make)
Adobe Reader (version 10 minimum to print posters)

Step 1: Local wind data

A wind turbine is designed to operate at full capacity at a specific wind speed.

This designed speed, will define the shape of the blade helped by Heliciel (french software, now translated to english): a software that will help to understand and choose the right shape (even NACA profile) according to your location.
It is therefore important to know the exact wind speeds where you would install your wind turbine to get the modal wind speed (the most frequent, NOT the average) of your location.
Heliciel website is full of information and here's a link to some international weather data for different cities.

Just select your closest weather station, for instance: "Montpellier (LFMT)" in France.

Go to "Custom" tab and select a year. Unfortunately you can't select more than one year at a time (but you can copy paste afterward).

At the bottom of the page you can download you data in .csv
I replied through messages but I prefer to add it here to be clear: <br>Heliciel is bilingual, as you can see in screenshots in this instructable. <br>If you installed it in french, simply open menu &quot;Affichage&quot;&gt;&quot;Selectionner language&quot; and select &quot;English&quot;, then reopen it. <br> <br>Visiorum is only in french. But it's just used for one step, if you find another free english software doing the same job (or better from igs to stl), please let me know.
Updates: <br>- Added the 123D Make model in 3D view on first page (you can download it by clicking on 123D logo) <br>- swf screencasts files are visible within Instructables by clicking them in steps 7, 10 and 16.
<p>Bonjour Philippe,</p><p>ton materiel est interessant. Mais trop de logiciels qui demandent de licence! Pourrais-tu ajouter le fichier pale.igs quand meme? Merci.</p>
<p>I know it has been a while since you posted this, but would it be possible to get a copy of the STL file to play with?</p>
<p>Yeah, it's getting old. STL is 71Mb (step 11) and I didn't keep it because I couldn't finalize it without a laser cutter :(</p>
Wow u guys are good somebody like me have no clue.
wonderful instruct-able, well written and great results. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks!<br>English is not my mother tongue and I didn't ask for revision so I really appreciate.
You deserve it!! <br>
I looked at the software from http://heliciel.com. But it is too expensive. Isn't there a freeware version of it?
If you find a free (OS, freeware) wind turbine design software, feel free to share it with the community.
Please note that I added the PDF at the end so you can still print this blade. I also wanted to add the igs file but no luck.<br>Look closely on Heliciel website you might find an interesting deal :)<br>What's the price in US$ ?<br>
MDF is extremely heavy. Try using balsa sandwiched between layers of fiberglass. I used to be QC at Modular Wind Energy and that's how we made the ribs and the skins.
Thanks spyder550, <br>You're right, what I had in mind was more basic material for a prototype. Something found anywhere, I have hard time to find balsa wood except in hobbyist stores. <br>Did you also worked on molded blades by chance?

About This Instructable


459 favorites


Bio: I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad. I got sunshine, in a bag. I'm useless, but not for long. The future is coming ...
More by phmanzano: Free professional wind turbine blade Alternative Hack for FM transmitter Make an electronic device in the street (IR Pen)
Add instructable to: