Step 4: Mast and Rigging for the Portable Wind Generator:

Designed to fully take advantage of gusting wind conditions, the wind generator has an unusually large tail fin, as well as a ball bearing fitting on top of the mast. This enables the unorthodox device to quickly seek out and turn into the next wind gust, with the flywheeling blades always ready to harvest the often erratic and meager winds. The large tail fin also stabilizes the device during furling, holding the wooden body straight-and-true, into the wind.

A lightweight, but strong, 24" long stainless steel mast-pivot tube was cannibalized from an extendable shower curtin rod, from a local hardware store. The tube is a sturdy thin-wall construction, internally butted with plastic sleeves on the ends, providing a low-friction pivot that slips perfectly over the 1" diameter fiberglass mast.

The generator, Aix-X blades, wooden mount, tail fin, stainless steel mast-pivot tube, and power cord all weigh in at 9-1/2 pounds, total, and mounts lightly on top of an extendable 10 foot tall fiberglass mast pole (actually a modified tree pruning pole), in perfect balance. 4 guy-lines and hardware mount complete the rig.

I have recently replaced the original 10 foot tall mast, with a 15 foot tall extendable fiberglass mast (also a tree pruning pole), providing much better wind exposure, but the rigging needed to be refined to handle the increased stresses on the mast:

- Four additional guy lines were attached to the mid-section of the mast and tied to the four original ground stakes.

- A ball&socket plastic water shut-off valve was modified into an articulated ball&socket base for the mast.

The setup of the portable generator and mast is now greatly simplified by the ball&socket base:

- A plastic stake is fully driven into the ground, for the mast.  The stake is then carefully pulled out and the special, custom made ball-topped mast stake is pressed in its place.

- The looped end of a white nylon rope, with a red mark @ 13 feet, is slipped around the round shaft of the ball-topped mast stake, and the four anchor stakes are driven in, exactly 13 feet from the ball-topped mast stake.

- The non-looped end of the 13 foot white nylon rope is drawn taught and tied  to the ground stake that is downwind (leeward) of the mast.  This holds the ball-topped mast stake firmly in place for the set-up and take-down side stresses that will follow.

- The 15 foot mast is fully extended, with its internal wire connected to the wiring of the wind generator.  The wind generator is then slipped onto the top of the mast.

- The socket base of the mast is snugged onto the ball of the ball-topped mast stake.

- The upper rigging (4 guy lines) is attached to the mast, and 3 of the guy lines are attached to the ground stakes EXCEPT the 4th guy line that is upwind (windward) is NOT attached to its ground stake.

- Firmly grasping the 4th guy line, standing above the upper mast anchor, gracefully pull up the wind generator and mast, while walking back into the wind, and attach the 4th guy line to its ground stake.

- The entire rig will now be in its vertical, perpendicular, position and requiring only minor adjustments.

- Attach the lower 4 guy lines to both the lower mast fixture and ground stakes.  Carefully tension all 8 guy lines until the slender, flexible mast is straight and true.

- Take-down of the wind generator / mast is simply the reverse of the above.

The generator, from shaft arbor tip to tail, measures 45 inches. The power cord is routed through the ring-shaped ball bearing fitting, and inside the hollow, fiberglass mast. A standard RCA audio jack, used as an electrical connector, slips easily through the 5/8" diameter hole in the ball bearing fitting of the mast and down through the hollow mast. A slip ring (rotating electrical connection) is not needed, as a portable wind generator only pans a total of about 270 degrees, on a typical day.

The rigging attaches to a square piece 5" x 5" plywood, 11/16" thick, and glue mounted (PVC glue bonds well on both surfaces) to a PVC pipe which slips over the 1" diameter fiberglass mast. A thumbscrew tightened ring was fitted over the radial-cut end. 4 angled, thin plywood braces will later be added to the underside of the 5" x 5" plywood, for reinforcement.

The 4 guy-lines are firmly anchored into the ground with 17" long, heavy, steel "cork-screw" stakes.

The entire rig is easily set up and taken down by one person.

A side note:

I was recently invited by a local ham radio club to set up my portable wind generator, for their international ham radio day.  I was quite impressed with their portable 24 foot antenna masts, made from interlocking U.S. military surplus antenna mast poles.  These sturdy (2 lbs each), inexpensive, 4 foot long composite (resin impregnated glass fiber) mast sections can be purchased on ebay.  The mast sections have an outside diameter of  1-13/16", an 1/8" (.125") wall thickness, with a 3.5" long male/female coupling end.

Also, standard military surplus composite 4-point guy line attachment rings can be purchased, which slip on easily between any of the 4 foot section joints.  The guy ring is 5-11/16" diameter, drilled with four 3/8" guy line holes, with a 1.531" diameter center hole.

These pole sections not only allow for taller and stronger portable wind generator masts, it also makes the reality of truly portable 500 watt (500 watts rated = 75 watts typical) wind generators not only possible, but much simpler and affordable.       
<p>Hi, great article, I am very interested in the automatic furling part of it, but I cant quite make out the layout of it, any chance of more pictures and details about this part as I would like to use it in a generator that i am in the process of making.</p><p>please could you contact me </p><p>email : tyntopnohj@hotmail.co.uk</p><p>regards </p><p>martyn </p>
<p>I've been concidering building a wind generator, the thing I want to know is how do you stop it from spinning around and winding the lead out wires</p>
<p>For a permanent installation, you'll need to install a slip ring (rotating electrical connection).</p><p>But for portable, temporary use, a slip ring is not needed, as the wind generator only pans a total of about 270 degrees, on a typical day.</p>
<p>Nice work!</p><p>I'm thinking about rebuilding my old wind generator. Was going to buy commercial, but I don't like what is available and think DIY are just as reliable.</p>
<p>I highly recommend this site for PVC blade design. I am quite pleased with the performance of these blades. http://www.windandwet.com/windturbine/tube_blade/index.php </p>
I&nbsp;don't understand how the furling device works.&nbsp; When the wind picks up, what makes it pivot out of alignment with the wind?<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Thanks
The motor is off-center, and mounted on a hinge on-centre, so strong winds will push the blades sideways, which reduces the surface are into the wind. If you google &quot;windmill furling explained&quot; there is a good explanation on the-back-shed web page.
This is nice. A slightly more information on the build itself would be nice but the furling and bladesize info is worth a lot. I look forward to more instructables. :)
Thanks for posting this - I've looked everywhere for furling devices for homebrew / DIY wind, but the only thing I found was a $350 tail vane kit over at WindyNation! <br> <br>If you feel like it, I bet you could sell furling tail vane kits (various sizes.)
please send me instructions and steps through my email: flores_sony@rocketmail.com<br><br>Thanks a lot,looking forward for your favorable responds..
I just want to ask the electrical connection from generator to battery charger then to the battery to supplied appliances.<br><br>do i need battery charger or i can directly connect to the appliances.<br><br>i want to build portable windmill,can suggest me in order realize my plan without any expenses.?<br><br>i want 12V or any suitable for light bulbs only that can able to supply my house lightings.
where did you purchase the motor at
How far from the pole are the anchors placed?<br><br>At what heights are the guy wires attached?
The distance is already stated the instructable, but is always dependent on the height of the mast, so I'd rather not state an exact number here.<br><br>But a good rule of thumb is to place the upper guy wire hook-up as high on the mast as possible.<br><br>And for the distance for each of the four anchor stakes from the base of the mast, the guy ropes should be at a 45 degree angle, both from the ground, and the upper guy wire hookup.<br><br>But if you're setting up on sand -or on solid ground but with high winds, then 30 degree / 60 degree angles will provide better stability for your rig (30 degree angle from the ground / 60 degree from the upper guy rope hookup).<br><br>And for a mast taller than 10 feet, especially a slender, flexible mast, you will need to add a lower guy wire hookup, about one-third to halfway down the mast, and anchor those lower ropes to the same four anchor stakes. The exact positioning of the lower guy wire hookup is best fine-tuned during high winds, carefully observing what position provides the best bracing and rigidity of the mast.<br><br>And don't hesitate to add yet a third guy wire hookup, if you're really ambitious and building yet a taller mast than my 15 foot version.
Cool idea!
Looks great aestethic wise and it is a Great product im thinking of making a miniture version !
Go ahead and build it. Looking back, I designed on the side of caution, and made it a little too heavy and sturdy. You could actually build this wind generator much lighter -and use the same generator. I may also do just that, and mount a new generator, with 50% more power, on my existing wooden rig. As for the over-all design, I tried to give the wind generator a pleasing profile, with classic lines. A habit I developed early in life, with balsa model airplanes, with a zero-tolerance for weight.
So How do I buy One *** ??? Miles Of Smiles Sundialing eagle_services@verizon.net
Would it be practical at all to construct most of the fins and possibly some of the blades of this style generator out of Lexan or some other acrylic sheet? Nascar uses Lexan for their windshields so it should hold up in this use well enough. UV may be an issue, but there is also UV protected Lexan. Using the Lexan would fairly-well make the blades and fins disappear or at least blend into the background better and possibly be less obtrusive. Just my $.02 DC
Lexan/polycarbonate, yes. Acrylic, no. While acrylic looks like polycarbonate (Lexan), they are very different. Acrylic will break and shatter very easily; it doesn't have the strength. Polycarbonate does. I would be wary of invisible blades being dangerous.
Sure, it could be designed, with Lexan, to function well. Just don't design the blades to be invisible, for safety reasons -at least for a portable wind generator. I've noticed that hobbyists and tinkerers tend to plan and build their projects with the most expedient means and materials at their disposal. For example, I was quite intrigued by a post about a wind generator that a hobbyist had put together: It was fairly easy for him to sand-cast an aluminum mount for his generator and quickly machine it down, to snugly fit and bolt into place! What someone on Instructables.com REALLY needs to do is re-design my generator, with graphite composite frame for the vane/fin, with a nylon fabric tightly stretched over it. The weight of the generator and blades are pretty much set. But the over-all weight of the portable, furling generator could then be cut 30%.
I have 12volt stepper motor it generates 103volt ac how I recharge my 12volt batteries.
&nbsp;awesome try going smaller for like a altoides pack&nbsp;
Wow! Thanks for showing those detailed pics of the furling system. I have been trying to find a simple way to make a furling system for a week now. For some reason a spring loaded hinge did not occur to me. I have already built a small turbine that charges NiCd AAs and I'm working on a bigger one. My next step is to try this hinge idea on the little turbine first.&nbsp; Thanks again.<br />
you would get more power if you use a gear box or a sheaves
I initially considered a gear-up, with my first set of orthodox, but crudely made PVC blades.<br /> <br /> But I wasn't wild about the idea of the energy loss in the transfer, not to mention the additional weight, complexity, and maintenance issues that are inherent with going in that direction.<br /> <br /> You may have noticed that my devices appear, at first glance, quite simple and obvious.&nbsp; But I&nbsp;prefer to put a lot of sweat, research, and field testing into these things, and generally feel that the end product is worth the time and effort.&nbsp; But none of my projects are never really finished, as I sometimes tend to re-visit them a year or two later and the compulsive tampering process begins anew. &nbsp; &nbsp; <br />
SWEET. Is there any way of building the blades for real cheap cause I don't want to buy one. 5 out of 5!
Yes! I&nbsp;just figured out how to make<strong> bamboo wind turbine blades.</strong> They are very <strong>easy</strong> to make, they perform well and unlike <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyvinyl_chloride">PVC</a> they won't kill you with liver cancer; so I think they are pretty nice. <br /> <br /> <a href="../../../id/Wind-Turbine-Blades-from-Bamboo/">https://www.instructables.com/id/Wind-Turbine-Blades-from-Bamboo/</a>
There may be a way to quickly and cheaply scratch build a set of high performance blades, matched to the generator, but this subject, in itself, would be an involved and time consuming research project, but an excellent post for Instructables.com, for someone to attempt. But I simply determined that I just don't have the time to go in that direction. I simply bought a set of 3 Air-X matched blades, for $ 100.00. They appealed to me because they were off-the-shelf, and, luckily, had the tried-and-proven performance characteristics I really needed. Another advantage is that I could quickly buy some more of the same blades, if one of mine became damaged. And after I received them, I seriously doubt that I could easily build a set of blades, this well designed. Really, some of these manufactured blades are amazing. The Air-X blades, for example, have a slight swept-forward cant, from hub-to-tip (my sketchy plans called for more). And they're extremely stiff and rigid, with an airfoil cross-section (my rough plans had a thicker cross-section). And they would have easily out-performed my scratch built blades. To build these from a PVC pipe, or wood, or fiberglass, could be false economy, as the blades are just as important as the generator. And many of the homemade blade designs on the internet are poorly thought out, and there's rarely any information provided as to how much power is generated for given wind speeds, or how many rpm's are generated by those winds. "5 out of 5"? Thanks! (somebody tell my wife that)
How should I cut PVC?
There are numerous plans and cutting methods on the internet as to how to do this, but they tend to be be sketchy and incomplete. But if I were to build a blade from PVC pipes, I would only do a 2-blade design. 3-blade and 4-blade designs tend to falter when they attach to a simple flat disk hub, where the curve of the blades is distorted by the mounting bolts, creating unacceptable drag and a critical loss of performance and rigidity. A 2-blade design, made from one length of PVC pipe, eliminates the need for a separate disk hub and runs much cleaner, from an aerodynamic standpoint, as the blades angles are, simply, correct. First, draw a straight line down the length of a 4 foot length of PVC pipe, 6" inside diameter, 3/32" wall thickness. At the middle of the PVC pipe, carefully mark the point, which you will later drill out for the generator shaft arbor. This line will be the the trailing edge, of both ends of the finished blades. At each end of the PVC pipe, mark a 1 inch width. This will be the width of the tips of the finished blades, as well as the leading edge of the finished blades. 2 inches from the center point (arbor shaft) of your original straight line, and at a right angle to your original straight line, draw a 5.3125 inch arc along the outside of the PVC pipe. This will be the leading edge width of your finished blade. Repeat the process for the other side of the center point, but reversed. Using a flexible ruler as a "straight" edge, draw a straight line from the 5.3125" leading edge point to the 1" leading edge piont at the end of the PVC pipe. Repeat the process for the other end of the pipe, but reversed. This will be the leading edge of the finished blade. Using the same flexible ruler, connect the unmarked areas at the hub with a diagonal line, spanning the 4" area covering both sides of the center point, running from the 5.3125" width mark to 2" mark on your original straight line. Repeat the process for the other side of the center point, but reversed. This layout should produce a blade that will spin faster than most PVC blade designs, will provide more low-end torque, and will produce less high rpm drag. To cut out PVC blades, I use a Dremel, fitted with a small cutting wheel, and simply and quickly do a freehand outline cut. The edges are then quickly, and accurately, dressed out with a rough file or rasp. The back (leeward) side of the blades then need to be beveled, to improve the aerodynamics. But leave the outline of the concave (front) side of the blades absolutely sharp, holding to your orignally drawn dimension lines. To mount the 2-blade piece on the shaft arbor, you'll need to reinforce both sides of the blade "hub" with a front piece, and back piece, from the same PVC pipe, cut with an outline to match the hub of the blade. Glue and clamp. When dry, carefully file down both sides (concave front & convex back) of the "hub" until they're absolutely flat. If you have a drill press, this is easier, in that it can be, slowly and carefully, done with a wood boring bit, the same diameter as the shaft arbor washers, as a light "touch-bore". Next, drill out the hole for the shaft arbor. The glued "hub" must cure for at least 24 hours before testing the blade in the wind. Be advised that PVC blades should only be used on a generator (not the one I used) that turns at no more than about 350 rpm. Also, strong winds can bend the blades back enough to actually strike the mast. Also, cold weather can make the blades brittle and crack.
some of the other wind generator instructables have plans for PVC blades
Do you have any suggestions for places or devices from where a suitable charge controller may be salvaged? Love the project. Very well done.
You'll probably be better off just buying one of the new electronic charge controllers on the market, as they're becoming more economical, and portable, every year. But check out ebay and see what you come up with. You'll need, in all cases, an electronic charge controller. A simple diode will not prevent the wind generator from overcharging and burning out your lead acid battery. I purchased a "Chanyn" Model#CQ1210, for $ 55.00, on ebay. It has separate contacts for: Battery, Wind Generator (or Solar Panel), and Load (aka 12 Volt appliances). The charge controller will also prevent the battery from discharging too low, greatly extending the life of the battery.
Thank you for the pointers.
where can i get the generator? please give a web adress
The exact motor I used for the generator is: 370-350-00 PE24113G 48VDC They sell for about $ 300.00, through the medical parts suppliers, but I bought mine from USA WindGen turbines, Athens, Texas, as a surplus item, for about $ 50.00. He also sells on ebay, as "otter5555", and he just may still have some of these on hand. I think he received some flack selling these motors, since some of his customers complained that they rusted out. But the quality of this motor/generator is excellent. Since it's portable, just treat it as a fair weather friend. Stay posted, as I will soon build an aerodynamic, weatherproof sheet aluminum jacket, to fit over the generator, with aluminum pop rivets.
ah.. the moderm convenience of being rustic with nature. i'd add whistles to the blades so people would notice it.
Maybe 3 different sounding whistles would really whip things up !
And keep the monsters away !
For the benefit of our readers: I'm personal friends with "drbill" and we enjoy razzing each other.
The Air-X blades make a god-awful "hiss" that is clearly heard by anyone in close proximity to the generator. The blades are even made of black plastic, to appear serious, and dangerous. The spinning blades naturally appear and feel threatening to anyone who observes them up close. But from a distance, the wind generator is silent and is completely obscured by normal background sounds. Mounting a whistle on the blade tips would certainly affect the high-speed performance of the blades, as well as creating unacceptable noise in the vicinity.
you make me like it more. so i need whistles.
can the generator be used with a straight to inverter to provide AC for perhaps a small radio?
If you want to use a DC-to-AC inverter, you would have to hook it up to your 12VDC battery pack, and not directly to the wind generator 12VDC output. But precious electrical power will be lost in the conversion process, even though DC-to-AC inverters are more efficient (and "smart") these days. For good example: A typical UPS system (computer backup power system) is a heavy, bulky unit that will only power a 120VAC desktop computer for a few minutes, just enough time to logoff and shut down. And I rated my portable wind generator at "17 Watts" to give, those who build one, a good range to carefully select the 12VDC appliances they'll need it to power. And I mean carefully select your appliances. For example, a 12VDC-to-19VDC converter may be needed to power a laptop. But a basic research into such a purchase will reveal that 12VDC-to-19VDC converters have wildly different 12VDC current draws. That is, two 12VDC-to-19VDC converters, of the same brand name, will power a laptop, but one model may cost twice as much as the other, but consumes only half as much 12VDC power from the wind generator's 12VDC battery pack. Electrical appliances should be appropriate for the wind generator/battery pack. In other words, 12VDC appliances should be used with a 12VDC generator/battery pack. And to do otherwise would be false economy. And 120VAC appliance manufacturers seldom have portability in mind when they build them. There are plenty of small, portable, and efficient 12VDC appliances on the market that were designed to squeeze the maximum output, with the least current possible.
Iv'e often thought of building a vertical blade system using venetian blind blades. I don't know if they are rigid enough but can be built to any practical length and don't need to worry about wind direction. It could be clipped to a campervan as a backup. I have these ideas but never do anything. anyway what do you reckon?
I reckon you give it a try. It's always fun to see what people on Instructables invent. But venetian blind blades seem too flimsy for power generation for a typical RV, although they could possibly be used on tiny, low power science fair projects.
what is an automatic furling device?

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Bio: Industrial Arts, Appalachian State University. Recession has dried up my field (commercial printing & packaging), but have found new work in staging, lighting, sound systems, sets ... More »
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