Instructables

Soup Can Savonius

Picture of Soup Can Savonius
Here’s my first venture into writing an instructable. I’m not creating much new here, just giving people a cheap first step into making Savonius styled wind turbines and trying out some new ideas. Most of the materials can be found right in your own garage if yours is as filled with junk like mine.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Getting started

Parts to buy or have laying around:
2 Glass sliding door wheels– purchased at Menard’s for about $3
6 Magnets – need to be N and S poled. Purchased mine cheap (about $.60 ea. from Menard’s) Rare
Earth magnets would have been better but I’m cheap.
¼” threaded rod about 24-36” long (depending on your soup can height)
¼” hardware including washers, lock washers and nuts
Clear silicone sealant or epoxy or resin or glue, etc.

Probably have laying around:
2 same sized empty soup cans
Paper
Pencils
Rulers, tape measures etc.
Jig saw, scroll saw or band saw
Drill or drill press
Tin Snips
1/4" –3/8” plywood X 3 disks– Thicker would be fine except very heavy. Thinner would be fine except for the bottom layer. Most soup cans will have a finished turbine diameter of less than 8 inches.
Misc. screws, string and other scrap wood for framing and other last minute MacGuyvering.
Glues of various sorts.

Step 1 – Soup is Served
Eat some soup! Just about any sized can will do. The bigger the better. The cans I used were from some large tomato soup. The were about 4” diameter and maybe 6.5” tall. Measure yours. It’s best if it doesn’t have the rounded bottom as it makes it hard to cut off. With a regular bottom, you should be able to just use the can opener on the bottom. Once it’s all cleaned out, place it on a blank sheet of paper. Trace a circle around the base and place soup can to the side. Fold resulting circle in half and mark where the fold line meets the edge of the circle.

Place soup can back over traced circle and mark where you marked the half folds. It’s easiest if the soup can already has a line on it from the manufacture (seam line). Mark top and bottom and use a ruler to connect the marks. Use tin snips to cut can in half. Be careful since sheet metal edges are razor sharp. Best to use leather gloves for this part.

You should now have two soup cans cut in half now. I chose to run the grinder on the edges to make them slightly less sharp but that is optional. You can also tape them by folding some duct tape over the edges. As mentioned before, sheet metal is very sharp and should be handled with care and leather gloves.
buteman4 years ago
I was at a builders yard a few days ago.
Saw some plastic guttering. All sorts of sizes.
Maybe these would be a safer option than cutting cans
and as a bonus will not rust.
DeanC9935 years ago
Hi Very well done 5 stars!!!! what did you use to cut the cans?
gumbytig (author)  DeanC9935 years ago
tin snipps. Not the best but i didn't have a bench vice and cut wheel at the time. Left some pretty nasty sharp edges too. Be carefull.
ok i will thanks (:
ncblu5 years ago
are you going to show how the coils should be connected ( star or wye ) and have you had any problem with cogging. i'm curious. i build primarily savonius style turbines and have several made to produce small amounts of power. usually when you use steel or iron with the coils, you offset the number of coils to the number of magnets so that all the magnets dont 'home' in on the coils . for 6 magnets you could go up one more coil for single phase power or use 9 magnets for 3 phase and wire the 3 phase through a 3 phase rectifier/capacitor assy. another design if you're serious about it is whats called the Sandia Savonius design. try this url for more reading or general help http://www.vawts.net/index.spark or just do a search on 'savonius', 'sandia', 'vawt'. savonius designs or vawt's have seen a bit of a explosion lately because people are willing to tinker and experiement to try and better the efficiency level which is in the broad area of 25%. good luck with it
gumbytig (author)  ncblu5 years ago
Actually some stuff has come up in the last several months about jobs and relocating and then holidays etc. so I haven't really been tinkering since I was unsure of how soon we'd have to move or whatever. Now that that's all over, I'll probably get my seeds ordered and planted and space set up for my garden and then begin tinkering again. Thanks for the link. I'm definitely interested in new ideas to tinker with Savonius styled wind power since it lends itself to easier home tinkering than other options. As for the savonius I built with the soup cans, my lack of attention to it sitting outside has led to it beginning to rust. I think it will be a lesson learned and move on to my Water Heater Savonius next. I also need to tinker with coil winding options and how to produce them quickly (because I have a short attention span) but better quality than on my sewing machine.
ncblu gumbytig5 years ago
gumbytig (author)  ncblu5 years ago
That's great. Thanks for the links. Gives me something to do when it's too cold here in Illinois to work in the unheated cramped garage.
gumbytig (author) 6 years ago
Ok here's what i did. I tried spinning the coil on my sewing machine's bobbin winder but there wasn't enough speed control so it's pretty much full blast or nothing. So i quickly hand wound (sloppily i might add) a coil out of 22 guage wire (i know it's not very small). Remember bad cheap magnets too. So since it's blowing wind nicely but also pouring down rain i brought the thing inside and hooked it up with the one crappy coil and gave it a quick hand spin. Got about 12-15mV. Not much but crappy coil and crappy magnets i'm happy to have gotten a reading. Pretty steady digital multimeter reading too with the 6 magnets. (AC by the way). Definately getting better magnets for bigger ones and practicing on thinner wire and bigger coils off the end of a drill.
bhunter7366 years ago
Well written and clear instructable. I cant wait to see the next version you build. Just an FYI, the difference between power from ceramic magnets and rare earth magnets is as exponential as their difference in holding on to things. : )
gumbytig (author)  bhunter7366 years ago
I kinda figured. I didn't want to spend next to nothing on this turbine and then go and spend $30 on magnets that get glued in when it's just an experiment. I'll deffinately use Rare Earth Mags on the bigger ones.
DonQuijote6 years ago
how fast does it spin? how much power does it generate?
gumbytig (author)  DonQuijote6 years ago
It spun pretty good yesterday while the storm was whipping in. it's at ground level and we have a lot of trees in the yard. It seems here that we either have storms or calm so that's all i can check it in. If i get it way up in the air (40-50ft) i can get above the house and most the trees. But that's another day and another paycheck for a huge tower. As far as power generation, i got lazy with that part since i've got a water heater skin and refridgerator i'm scrapping for the sheet metal in my garage tripping me up so i decided to start working on those. I'm very ADD and they were calling my name. My next instructables will probably be a water heater savonius and then a refridgerator skinned for an Involute Spiral design like the one site i listed at the bottom of the instructable here. If i can dig out the sewing machine to wind some coils maybe i'll throw it on the one soup can savonius and see what happens. I am curious about the output with those cheap magnets.
faroun6 years ago
very well written, easy to undestand and nice pics .. you are a Savonius Membre. good job. i wounldt mind seing a qiuck movie! regards
gumbytig (author)  faroun6 years ago
Do i have to youtube it and then link it for video? I'm not sure how to put the video in otherwise.
LinuxH4x0r6 years ago
Great job! I plan on making a larger one out of an oil drum this summer
Cool! Great Instructable! Well Done!!!! A + Thanks Joe