About: A retired electronics engineer -motorola. delveing into new craft ideas and contest entries.

We all have to be aware of wasting energy,and this Instructable was forwarded to show you how to save energy by using throw-away plastic bottles. There is a lot of raw plastic materials being not recycled. It just goes into a garbage pile . I have used plastic drink bottles for whirligigs and also old CD discs which are also re-cyclable.The resulting devices I use in the garden or my trees as ornaments that twist and rotate in the wind.


Step 1: Parts and Layout

1-A couple of old cd discs can be used or any round piece of plastic about 1/32 thick.
Beverage bottles- I used a water bottle about 2 inches diameter and 8 inches long after cutting off the top . A scissors can easily cut down the length .I used a strong shears for cutting the bottom.
Best string is a 1mm dia.plastic cord I found in an craft store for under a dollar. It should be stretchable. Stretchable string gives a counter-rotation after the wind winds -up the string and stops.
Glue can be hotmelt but I used Goop Glue. It is slow in cure [one hour] but very strong. I also use fish line illustrated here.

Step 2: Preparing

This is a general description of the Step . The bottle should have the top cut off. I used a pocket knife. Clear adhesive tape also helps locate the bottom 1/2 bottle on the cd disk.Apply glue liberally.

Step 3: Assembly

Final assembly is straight forward. I use a pen to approximately draw 3 lines equally spaced.then I applied goop and positioned the bottom on the line. I taped it down, Remove tape later.Then add 1/2 bottles 2 and 3 , Add glue along the center axis all way to top open end.Add a second cd if you wish.This cd adds a little weight and keeps the spin even in a high wind. I added a wire but it is not needed.Just use a washer or a big knot in the plastic string.The string can be 1 to 3 feet long to hang from a tree or a hook rod. To add a cd You may have to evencut the three bottle ends and glue at interface to cd..


After the glue dries in about 3 hours for Goop, I applied semi-clear paint on the plastic outside .I also cut a cd into 1 in. squares and glued them inside of each bottle . This provides a mirror reflection at night time as the pieces reflect light from porch lites asit rotates in the wind.
Due to the concave construction the device will rotate in the slightest wind.
I glued magnets to top cd. then added LED light blinkers. I glued small magnets to the blinkers too.
There is no limit to the kind of Rotators one can device from plastic bottles. Large one or two liter bottles can give the device a high speed rotation. I am going to attach a small motor -generator to one of the large rotators and light LED lights on the top.This should be quite a sight at night.
I also made a two vane rotator [see picture] . Use only one bottle.



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    I got half way with one of these and gave up, so congrats on the finished job!
    They work a bit better with some over-lap in the middle, like Kiteman said Google for "savonius turbine" if you're interested.


    3 replies

    thanks L- I believe that would be an improvement as it would be more solid construction. My spot gluing seems to work in a 20mph wind storm tho for at least 5 months..

    added history;;
    Its been over 2 years now that my original model was exposed to the weather.
    Its still rotating .The swivel [used by fishermen] is still functioning.

    I should have maybe looked at plastic and glue, rather than metal-cans and screws... L

    Kinda interesting.... wonder if you could mount a small DC motor on this and make a small novelty wind powered generator.

    4 replies

    Yes, you could - google for savonius turbine or for picoturbine.

    vertically mounted plastic pop bottles work very good as they rotate  in wind of any direction horizontally. I am working on adding a motor generator. will publish  in Dec.

    woops- havnot  finished the new mg set addition- working on recycling  those ubiquitus  plastic bottles ...

    I am working on this. I saw the savonius turbine Ins, they feel that there should be more area to the their vane construction. I am going to do this by tandeming one set of 3 above the first one on one axis rod. Or use larger diameter bottles too. will publish if it works with a small VCR motor i have.

    I might enter the Led contest.. Let the motor-generator produce 5 to 10 milliamps at 3 to 5 volts and presto my LED would light up,

    clever! I like it as a use for an old plastic bottle