PVC Pipe Blades and Rotor for HAWT From Scrap.





Introduction: PVC Pipe Blades and Rotor for HAWT From Scrap.

About: no longer active.....


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.


Step 1: Marking the Pipe

The first thing was to mark out the pipe.

I first used a length of angle iron to mark a line along the pipe, by using angle iron you get a perfect line and all your lines will be parallel.

Once the first line was marked i measured the circumference of the pipe and devide it by 3 to give the spacing for the other lines.  I marked the distance on the back of the tape measure so i could wrap the tape around the pipe for a more accurate mark.

Once you have the equal distances marked use the angle to mark a lines.

Step 2: Cutting

Once the pipe was marked out i clamped it to the bead of my wood lathe for cutting.

I used a jigsaw to make split the pipe into the 3 segments. each segment would make 2 blades so i would have 6 blades from this pipe.

Once the first cut is made rotate the pipe and clamp again, after the second cut a segment will be removed from the pipe. The pie then was able to be pushed down onto the lathe bead where it sat nice and steady for the final cut.

Step 3: Marking and Cutting the Segments.

I marked each of the segments 1 1/2" in at each end and used a chalk line to mark a line along the segment. the chalk line did not show up to good so I used a sharpie marker to redraw the line before cutting.

I was able to use the bandsaw for cutting the segments.

Step 4: Sanding and Finishing.

Once the segments where all cut i picked the 3 blades that where the best looking of the bunch.

I sanded the blades on the sanding table and removes any fine burs with wire wool to give a smooth edges.

Step 5: The Rotor.

The  rotor came from a washing machine drum and is attached to the drum with press in rivets. to remove these either split the aluminum tube the rivet is pressed into or grind the top flat and center punch it and drill the rivet out.

I marked the holes on each arm 75mm center to center and drilled with a 6mm drill bit.

Step 6: The Bearings.

The bearing casing is moulded into the plastic drum of the washing machine and need to be cut free. you can either smash the tub up or cut it out if you have a use for the rest of the tub.

To remove the bearing case from the tub I used a angle grinder to cut into the segments on the base of the tub, I also did the same on the inside of the tub too.

I then used a a hand axe to hack out the bearing case but not totally destroy the tub, I plan to use the remainder of the tub to make some kind of planter.

Step 7: Attach the Blades and Add the Bearing Cage.

I clamped the blades in position on each arm and drilled the blade for the outermost holes first.

Once all 3 blades where attached I lined up the first blade and drilled the hole for the second bolt.  i then used the the tape measure to make sure the tips of the blades where at equal distances. Once all the blades where set i drilled the rest of the holes and bolted the blades on to the rotor.

I was now able to test the rotor to see if the blades worked. They worked very well, so well that I decided It would be much safer mounted on a test stand than me just holding the bearing casing.

The blades will need some sanding here and there to make them perfectly balanced, I will do this in the tweaking stage before I mount the turbine on a pole.

I hope you like my idea for a scrappy solution to the problem of making a rotor for a wind turbine.



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    68 Discussions

    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...

    7 replies

    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.....!!

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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!

    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.

    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 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.