Instructables

PVC pipe blades and rotor for HAWT from scrap.

Featured

 

NOTE: This was a proof of concept project, just to show that it is possible to use the casting from an old washing machine to make a rotor, This project is now on hold until I finish my VAWT and other projects I am working on.

I recently had an idea for a horizontal wind turbine.  The idea came to me when I dismantled an old washing machine to get the stainless steel drum to make a patio heater.  I discovered that the drum was mounted on a aluminum casting that had chunky bearings that though would be perfect to make a wind turbine with, the rotor of any turbine is the hardest part of the build and to find some thing this perfect I just had to see if it would work.

I had a 1mtr length of 6" PVC sewer pipe left over from my VAWT  built and decided that i would use it to make a set of blades to see if my idea was valid enough to continue to build a horizontal wind turbine.

For the video the rotor is mounted on a test stand with a clamp.  I already have my brain in gear and a rest of the turbine is already taking shape.

The results speak for themselves, you can see that the blades catch even the slightest breeze.

I may even put my VAWT build on hold for now to work on this turbine as I think it has more potential to get me to the goal of charging batteries for an electric bike project sooner than the VAWT.

I will be continuing work on the turbine and once I have the various stages finished I shall post the Instructables.

Thanks for looking and I hope this gives you some ideas for your own projects.

Andy.

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
iFirefly3 years ago
Suggestion: Won't your blades be more efficient if the ends are the wider part of the blades? Having the larger width at the center is somewhat of a waste, as the "clean" wind at the outer ends are what drives the blades most, rather than the inner portion, which is "dirty" wind flow interrupted by the hub assembly itself as well as by the inter-blade "wash" affect, all of which combine to make the inwards part of the blades almost useless in terms of thrust potential. That's why some very efficient and simple designs have NO inner blade surface area. I realize that doing it this way could preclude the use of PVC because the skinnier part of the blades won't support their own weight, depending on the type/gauge of the pipe (schedule 40, 80, etc.) I need to get a workshop going...
Dr Qui (author)  iFirefly3 years ago
I don't know to be honest, this is all experimental.

I thought that the tips would be narrower as the further from the center you get on the blade the faster the blade is moving the center may be going only a few mph but the blade tip is going closer to 100 mph

It would also put all the weight to the end of the blade, not really where you want all the weight in something spinning at speed.

Also , why do all commercial wind turbines have blades with narrow tips? Its best to copy an idea that is know to work.
Dr Qui, you have written a very clear, concese, Instructable on your "Experiment". Some of the readers haven't dabbled in a lot of subjects as much as you have.
On the subject of the shape of the blades, you almost hit the nail on the head on your answer above. The real object of the blade, be it powered as in an airplane propeller, or a helicopter rotor, or wind driven like in your blades, is to have the air pressure equal along the length of the blade. The tip speed is greater so it is narrower and flatter, producing X power. As you take power measurements closer to the hub, the blade in that spot is turning slower relative to the wind and the blade is pitched more, thus producing the same power as at the tip. The same is true at all stations along the blade.
Now if I could just find what diameter and thickness of pipe you started with.....!!
Dr Qui (author)  Horsehockey2 years ago
Its 6" standard sewer pipe.

I think 1mtr is a little to long for this, I had planned to cut them down to about 18-24" and re balance them, bad health etc stopped me from taking that experiment any further, but as the Ible says it was only a prof of concept and I hope that someone out there has taken the idea to the next level.

The home made plastic pipe blades have a decent enough pedigree on small scale turbines from the research I did, they will break in high winds but then this is a safety feature of sorts as its better to have the blades that cost a few pennies snap than kill your whole turbine.

Most of the stuff i found online was for pipe blades of about 18-24" for small portable turbines.

Good luck with your own experiments.
iFirefly Dr Qui3 years ago
You have a good point; however those designs ar as old as aviation itself - over 100 years. Current technology "tune" every dimension to the projected load, speed and consistency of the wind source. An example of the necessity of using tuned rotors may be found at the Carter Copter site, where they are the first and only to use a slowed rotor with weights on the ends to achieve some amazing results. The leading and edges of their rotors are extended into a delta shape containing the lead weights and the trailing edges have a larger delta (empty of weights) to distribute the Aerodynamic Center toward the end of the rotor blade. The measures of efficiency in this design are demonstrated to be 27 times more efficient than the higher-speed operation. Lower speed+higher mass=efficiency in this case.
Dr Qui (author)  iFirefly3 years ago
This is not aviation. a wind turbine is not trying to move air and give lift but to be moved by air to convert wind energy into torque.

Also in power production higher speed gives more power.
iFirefly Dr Qui3 years ago
My inference was to rotor effectiveness in propelling mass and moving air, which is equal in its capacity to be affected by movement of air; an economy of one use infers the other, and most certainly in the case I mentioned (Slowed Rotor). If less movement is required to maintain the same level of energy output, it is more efficient (exponentially, in the SR's X27). As far as your speed=power assertion, I belief Dr. Torque may have a difference of opinion. My motorhome makes maximum torque at only 2300 RPM, yet the best super bikes aren't happy under 9000.
btop iFirefly3 years ago
Stop twisting everything he says, he clearly said "in power production" nothing to do with combustion engines, another totally different set of principals.
That blade is for a autogyro, which is a completely different configuration.
sorin03063 years ago
how many power can produce with this "turbine" ?
Dr Qui (author)  sorin03063 years ago
1.21giga watt
what, giga????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 giga wat = 1000000000 wat is impossible for this turbine, with this dimension to produce so many power .
Seriously! Where are you going to find 1.21 jigawatts? The only power source capable of generating 1.21 jigawatts of electricity is a bolt of lightning, Unfortunately, you never know when or where it's ever going to strike!
Dr Qui (author)  Spaceman Spiff2 years ago
Its obvious that a joke relating to a movie that was released the same year as you where born is totally wasted on you.

Watch the movie, and you will find that you can tell when lightning is going to strike and that lightning is not the only power source capable of producing 1.21 giga watts, a Mr Fusion machine can, but then that will not be invented until 2015.

Perhaps if you had read the instructable rather than the comments you would have seen the bold type that said that this was just a proof of concept project to see if the reclaimed casting could be used to build a functional rotor for a HAWT

The purpose of this instructable was to show other people who dabble with homebrew power  how to use reclaimed parts to build a simple yet effective rotor for almost no cost.




Failure.
He is joking, sorin0306. This is a quote from a movie.
no no if you use a motor from washing machine for this project you get a unstable output voltage. you can use just a DC motor or a synchronous motor for generate stable output voltage. The motor of a washing machine is asynchrony
did you ever see back to The future???
Dr Qui (author)  sorin03063 years ago
Did you even read the instructable, I said this was only to see if the washing machine part could e used to make a rotor.
in really not is possible to use a washing machine part motor for the turbine generator.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjCRUvX2D0E
LOL
sam D Dr Qui2 years ago
Win, doc!
Dr Qui (author) 3 years ago
sailorbob3 years ago
Is that your back garden ? Have you ever thought of having a clearout and growing veg. for the family. it would be much more profitable than trying make a windmill
Dr Qui (author)  sailorbob3 years ago
troll
martzsam Dr Qui3 years ago
Haha. He be trollin.
RonaldoNZ3 years ago
take a look here for good research details. http://www.thebackshed.com/windmill/Contents.asp and for sorin0306 re: "in really not is possible to use a washing machine part motor for the turbine generator." http://www.thebackshed.com/windmill/fp2a.asp I think 300 watts from a washing machine motor says its very possible, sorry.
Dr Qui (author)  RonaldoNZ3 years ago
Indeed,

The "be nice" comment policy stopped me from replying to that one how I would have liked to. ;-)

I'm glad to see that some people actually do think outside the box and dont limit them selves to what the science books say.

It is possible to use a standard motor if you replace the electromagnetic armature with permanent magnets, not the most efficient way but its a start. I have one of those direct drive motors featured on your link that I may use on a HAWT at some point.

I'm in a state of project overload at the moment and the shed also needs cleaned out to be honest before I do anything more. This was purely a proof of concept thing and will most likely stay on the back burner until the rest of the parts for the build show up.

I want to finish the VAWT project more than anything as there are just to many safety issues with HAWT systems that I am less than keen on.




richhummel3 years ago
love it!
Dr Qui (author)  richhummel3 years ago
cheers, I'm in the R&D mode now for the rest of the build.
R.Blakely3 years ago
Metal tubing can be used similarly. PVC is not as good for vibrational stress as metal. For example, aluminum irrigation tubing should work instead of PVC.
Dr Qui (author)  R.Blakely3 years ago
PVC blades may not be a s strong, but they are much much cheaper. 1mtr of PVC pipe is £5 but i don't think you would git much aluminium pipe for that.

PVC will also fail sooner than aluminium, I don't mind the fact that the PVC blades will fail if the wind gets very strong, I would rather replace a cheap blade than have a metal prop spinning out of control.
Airplanes are not made of PVC because it is incredibly heavy and quite weak since it fatigues (cracks easily). Scrap aluminum is available at scrap metal dealers. Each blades should have a pivot at its mounting point. Helicopters use such flexible blade mounts to help prevent blade over-stressing.
Dr Qui (author)  R.Blakely3 years ago
Have you priced even scrap aluminium.

Aluminium is harder to work and is x amount more dangerous to have spinning at several hundred rpm. to add pivots or flexible joints makes the build to complicated for most diy guys.

I work on the KISS system. Keep It Simple Stupid.  I am trying to design a no cost or ultra low cost wind turbine that can charge a few 12v batteries and run a few low power devices. I want something that McGyver could knock together with only his Swiss army knife.

I chose PVC pipe as it already is a a tried and tested method, and also for the fact that it WILL FAIL in high winds, its better to replace broken blades than to rebuild your whole rig.
Check out a gyrocopter rotor. Opposite blades are rigidly connected yet both blades can pivot together. This allows the gyrocopter to be safe yet easy to control. Also, aluminum sheet could be used by rolling the sheet first and then cutting the blades out. I have a rolling machine made in Tiawan. Having a rolling machine helps, but you could use the services of a metal working business. Aluminum is almost as easy to cut as PVC. Most importantly, PVC is not safe because it will fail by cracking like glass. This is evident if you use it in winter.
Dr Qui (author)  R.Blakely3 years ago
You are totally forgetting one point, that this was a proof of concept project, a project to build a wind turbine from salvaged parts for a small a budget as possible and also be built by any DIY guys with the standard tools most people have.

I'm using cheap easily worked PVC because I know it will fail in high winds, from the info i have seen on other peoples use of PVC pipe I have gathered that some like the idea of having a failsafe built in to your design especially when you are doing a first time DIY build from salvaged parts.

Please remember that this is Instructables not NASA that most of the DIY guys don't have bottomless budgets and fully equipped workshops.
doctoral3 years ago
I love the way your yard is layed out everything is within reach, my dream come true.
Dr Qui (author)  doctoral3 years ago
It will be allot better once i get all that scrap timber cut up, I attack it now and then but ti never seems to get smaller.
burwuro3 years ago
I'm a bit confused on how you made the marking/cutting of the pipe. How did you cut it to get that nice curve in the blade? Was it just a bending weight? Thanks
Pro

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?

close

PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!