Introduction: Wind Turbine

Picture of Wind Turbine

I'm very interested in freedom,  and anything you do not have to pay for.

The wind is free ,  but turbines cost a lot ,  so here is how to build a ten foot diameter wind turbine on the cheap.

Step 1: Your Tower Needs an Anchor

Picture of Your Tower Needs an Anchor

Do not under any circumstances dig a hole more than 3 feet deep unless you have been trained to do so.  Small hole collapses kill more people every year and if you do not know what to look for you could be taking a chance with your life.  Respect the threat and if you are unsure find some one that understands the risks and can help.  

You don't want your tower to fall over,  so you will need an anchor.  I used over a thousand pounds of concrete that I set five feet deep in the ground.

I started by digging a five foot deep hole.

Step 2: Your Turbine Needs Wind

Picture of Your Turbine Needs Wind

Turbines need to be up as high as you can get them,  so to get as high as you can you will need a tower.

I made mine with 6x6's.   It's 20 feet tall.

Step 3: Turning on a Dime, or a Bicycle Down Tube

Picture of Turning on a Dime,  or a Bicycle Down Tube

Your turbine will need to be able to turn into the wind.  Bicycle parts can take a lot of abuse,  so I used them for all my moving parts.  Here is how I used a front wheel fork down tube and bearing housing for my turbine's pivot.

Step 4: Electric Boogaloo

Picture of Electric Boogaloo

I've been looking into a generator for some time.  I've read in a few places that this is a really great motor to use and I found it on my first try digging at the dump : )

I'd like to wrap my own coils at some point,  but for right now this will have to do.

Step 5: The Cutting Edge of Power

Picture of The Cutting Edge of Power

I've seen many websites that show how to cut blades out of pipe,  but I had never seen anyone use thin wall 6 inch pvc used.  My blades are 4 feet and ten inches long and they are cut to hold a 45 degree pitch from the hub all the way to the tip.

I'm very happy with how they turned out  : )

Step 6: I've Got a Nose for Wind

Picture of I've Got a Nose for Wind

The nose cone is really just for aesthetics.  I vacuum formed mine and my vacuum form machine's check valve had gone bad ,  so at some point I will need to make another one.  The next one will have a raised ring around it with a v shape to it,  and I'll put a v notch in each blade to hold it in place better.

Step 7: Enjoy the Freedom

Picture of Enjoy the Freedom
Now get out there and build a wind turbine !!!!

And remember ,  Be safe ,  Have fun and go green for the green.

It does not have to cost a lot to do great things your imagination is the limit ,

[[Video ( ]]

Flash Animation


seasonhappyman (author)2017-11-06

does the generator need to be right next to the turbine? could it be connected to the turbine, but on the ground? Again, thanks!

the SLT (author)seasonhappyman2018-01-08

With this design, it will be difficult. placing the generator right next to the turbine decreases the additional mechanical parts like gears you will need as opposed to if it was on the ground, adding a chain could work if your turbine has a fixed direction, but again additional parts can reduce its efficiency due to loss of energy.

seasonhappyman (author)2017-11-06

I'm soooo gonna build this (eventually). I love this project! But how can you hook this up to your home appliances? Thanks!

TusharD7 (author)2015-10-13

good one

but cant understand the generator

MutahirA (author)2015-08-30

How long was the wood?

reddnekk (author)2010-10-30

Could not see how you drove the generator/alternator. Belt drive? Chain drive? Surely you did not mount the propellor directly on the generator shaft, so that its bearings would take the full load. Please tell us.

if you look closer you will see the chain :)

powertothepeople (author)2014-05-17

Looks good.
My biggest concern is why are the blade set at 45 degrees? Wind turbine blades need twist with more angle at the center and less at the tip because the tips move faster. Your blade tips and roots will be fighting each other and it will not be very efficient.

masoon (author)2010-10-18

what kind/ size / make is the generator. I rent an industrial building downtown and have been thinking about setting a turbine up on the roof. I've seen an electric connection that allowed rotation without cords winding up, two rings one with two contact rings and the other with two sprung "brushes" if you will. Maybe that connection can't conduct the amount of current needed?

00MrNotWrong00 (author)masoon2010-10-19

If your really serious the only way to go is to wrap your own coils, every place I've seen where people are getting really good amounts of electricity , they wrapped their own coils. I believe there is a tutorial over at and I think there is an instructable as well.

I think there is also a tutorial for building your own slip ring (electric connection that allowed rotation without cords winding up).

Go for it !!!

masoon (author)00MrNotWrong002013-05-15

what type/size/make is the motor? is it possible to use an altenator from a car?

rowdy-outfitters (author)2012-03-28

Was looking up bicycle motors. Came across one that I would like ideas about. Do you think it would work?
36 Volt 600 Watt Planetary Gear Motor With Cooling Fan
36VDC 600W 21.3 AMP motor with built-in planetary gear reduction transmission and cooling fan. Gear ratio: 60:9 (6.67). Output shaft speed: 550 RPM. Shaft diameter where sprocket seats into is 8mm x 13mm with a dual-d bore. Includes 10 tooth sprocket for #40 or #420 chain. Powerful four brush permanent magnet electric motor design with 100% ball bearing construction. 12 gauge power leads. Shaft rotation reversible by reversing power leads. Mounting bracket measures 5-1/2" x 4-1/2" with 4 mounting holes. Mounting holes are spaced 4" center to center across by 2-1/2" center to center across. Weight 17 lbs.


dimtick (author)2010-10-19

Looking at the photo's it appears that your turbine has a lot of neighboring trees. Trees create a lot of turbulance with ground wind. if at all possible you should raise your turbine so that it's above the trees and can get clean air.

00MrNotWrong00 (author)dimtick2010-10-19

I went as tall as I thought I could without drawing to much attention. If no one complains in the next year I'd like to go ten feet higher, but having a turbine under 50 feet is kinda silly.

If you go to google maps there is an elevation option , if you choose it then you will see wind maps right next to the elevation map. On your wind map , everything in orange (I think) is sustainable for wind power harvesting. I'm right near a big orange spot , so I gave it a shot.

We had some heavy winds a few days ago, and yes the trees caused a lot of turbulence, she kept turning out of the wind because the wind that was hitting the tree behind her was coming back and pushing the tail from side to side.

She seems to do better in low wind. I would really like to see how she handles at fifty feet.

Your tail doesn't look like it has enough surface area. Which would cause the wobble you mentioned.

It's over four square feet and more than five feet from the pivot , and she lines up just right in low winds. The other day when we had all that high wind it seemed like it was coming from every direction. You could watch her line up then the big choke cherry tree behind her would swing back and as it did the tail would swing out away from the tree. It happened over and over.

She is really just much to low, and I think I have cut the blades wrong, I guess I'll be cutting out 9 more blades when I bring her down to change the gear ratio.

Can you believe I don't have a job? I can't. Where the hell are all the jobs? I should have people knocking on my door trying to employ me, but no. Why can't I find a job?

you cant believe you dont have a job!!!! maybe you ought to change your attitude, thinking you know evrything and walking off the jobsite and maybe youd still be getting a paychevk for doing nuthing

dimtick (author)00MrNotWrong002010-10-25

I think if you go taller, you may be easier to use a round steel pipe with diagonaly cable braces. you can get the height you needing a new heavy timber. just bolt the extention pipe to the timber frame that you've already built.

keep us posted on your progress!

carpe_noctem (author)2010-12-02

I haven't waded through the comments, so excuse me if this has been said before, but in step 3 you mention using a bike's "down tube". I'm 99% sure this should be head tube.

Randomj59 (author)2010-11-16

Great instructable,

If you live in a turblulent wind area have you considered making a verticle helix wind turbine, it catches wind from all directions and shouldn't be too challenging to make?

nowuknowjack (author)2010-11-07

Good observation on the number of blades. In industry they use as little material as possible to keep costs down, especially if mass producing hundreds/thousands of turbines. Example of this is the Altamont Pass East of San Francisco. Hundreds of turbines most of them use three blades. Of course they also use a lot of high tech stuff to trim the blades etc. Best of luck getting a job. I was on unemployment for 1 1/2 years. Got a job a year ago. I feel for you.

karossii (author)2010-10-14
In step 4 you mention, "I've read in a few places that this is a really great motor to use and I found it on my first try digging at the dump : )" - but you don't mention anything about the motor, what it comes from, or its specs... Could you elaborate on that just a bit?

Otherwise, this is a great 'ible! I've gone through a few dozen on various turbines and windmills, and intend to make my own some day; when I have the free time. Yours is definitely a good one!
00MrNotWrong00 (author)karossii2010-10-14

The motor comes from a treadmill , It's one of the 2.5 hp ones I believe they use rare earth magnets (not sure about that), but I have not seen one this size before. Most of the back yard builders use treadmill motors and it was shear luck that this monster fell into my lap.

Thank you for the compliment , It makes me very happy when people like the things I make, please check out my other instructables.

Concerning the blades, have you thought about the number of blades. After doing some research on wind turbines and watching students at my son's school perform in a Science Olympiad it seems that ONE blade with a counterweight is the most efficient configuration for small generators. Try googling pico turbine and efficient wind turbine blades.

I base my design on my breaker bar. The farther I am from the work = More work done. Also when catching wind , I think of parachutes , The bigger your parachute = the more wind you can exploit .

I've done a little research and most of blade configuration is based on turbulence. Because I'm not worried about what happens to the wind after it hits my turbine, I went with the largest amount of surface area I could.

Thank you for being interested , please check out my other instructables.

beehard44 (author)2010-10-23

when i heard 5 foot deep hole i first thought about Holes by louis sachar

NachoMahma (author)2010-10-18

.  That half second or so closeup in the video of how power is transferred from the turbine to the generator didn't provide many details. :)   How about a few close up pics? TIA.

I posted the best picture I can get from the ground there on the last step. I will take better pictures when I bring her down to change the gear ratio.

Firestorm_101 (author)2010-10-19

A thought occurs to me! Say one owned a large warehouse. The roof of such is a lot of surface area.... TO CATCH RAIN! It hits the roof, it runs to the large industrially piped gutters, you funnel all gutters into one, and down. Most warehouse roofs are what? 6 stories high? Several flows diverging into one from 6 stories high, a lot of pressure, mini rotational water wheel turning a turbine!!!! BAM! BLOWN YOUR MIND! Yea, its cool. I know I'm pretty epic xD. Tell me what you think.

NEVER MIND! Apparently its already been brought up before. :( I thought it was original too!

NachoMahma (author)2010-10-18

.  Fantastic!
.  I would like to know what your costs were. How much for lumber, concrete, pipe for blades, &c.
.  Please keep us up-to-date on your findings about how much power the rig puts out.

right now I have 500 bucks into her, If I could have held off until I found an old telephone pole it would have been less, but I really wanted to have it finished by my birthday.

The 6 inch thin wall dwv pvc was 18 bucks a piece and if I had gone with 4 foot blades instead of 4 foot 10 inch I could have done it with just two sections of pipe but I really wanted a full 10 foot diameter.

I think I used 14 bags of concrete, at 7 bucks a bag. If I had collected a bunch of big rocks and bricks to drop into my hole I could have used much less and still filled three feet of my 5 foot deep hole.

All my moving parts are found items , and all the plywood was leftover from other projects. I used 3/4 inch for the body in a T configuration and 3/8 for my tail rudder.

So there are lots of places to save money on this. I believe this could have been done for much less money. Maybe less than 200 bucks if you really tried hard.

dombeef (author)2010-10-15

What do you power with this?

00MrNotWrong00 (author)dombeef2010-10-15

I've only had her up for three days now and I have not yet figured out how much power she will make. I need to get one of those things that only lets electrons move in one direction, then I can set up a bank of 30 car batteries, from there I'll run an inverter to power my shop.

Dr.Bill (author)00MrNotWrong002010-10-17

A one direction electron thingie is a good idea. Rectifier.
Ya might try 2 to 4 batteries with an inverter. 30's kinda over kill.
A charge controller would be goo thing too.
Outside of that ..........
Very good i'ble.
I always like to see how people do their turbine blades.

00MrNotWrong00 (author)Dr.Bill2010-10-18

I will be taking more pictures of the blades when I bring her down to attach the new nose cone (as soon as that is finished).

I'd really love to use 2 fork lift batteries but even if I can get them for free they weigh to much for me to move, and they are to big to hide in the craw space. (author)00MrNotWrong002010-10-17

where do you get 30 car batteries, thats like 3000 dollars average and at least 2000, do you just have money to blow or special connections.

00MrNotWrong00 (author)jj.inc2010-10-18

There is a junk yard a few miles from my house that sells old batteries for 15 bucks a piece. I can refurbish them and they should work out fine.

dombeef (author)00MrNotWrong002010-10-15

Cool! if you are in the usa radioshack should have what your looking for, good luck!

Dr.Bill (author)2010-10-17

Only question I have is how do you attach the blades to the hub ?

00MrNotWrong00 (author)Dr.Bill2010-10-18

I attach my blades in a way similar to the ible found at this web address.

Dr.Bill (author)2010-10-17

I like the tilt tower too. (author)2010-10-17

Does your cord ever get twisted up

00MrNotWrong00 (author)jj.inc2010-10-17

Not yet, most back yard builders use the plug method , after about a month or two you just unplug it and let the cord unwind itself.

I will eventually install a slip ring.

ScottWeeks (author)2010-10-17

Nice man! that wind turbine is looking sweet! so what kind of current ans sutch are you getting from it?

carlos66ba (author)2010-10-15

And, btw, how did you do your electrical connection so that the cable does not twist over and end-up breaking as the windmill turns around?

Most of the home made turbines use a plug method. You just let it twist, then once a month or so you unplug it and let the power cord unwind itself.

At some point I will be adding an electrical pivot. I think there is a tutorial over at

3DMHuff (author)00MrNotWrong002010-10-16

You talked about using bicycles, why don't you use a gyro that comes off the "trick" bikes? You could just reverse engineer one and bulk it up a little. With that it will turn forever and no need to unplug.

00MrNotWrong00 (author)3DMHuff2010-10-16

I will look into that .

TOCO (author)2010-10-16

Wow up for 2 days and it already has 1,575 views. Thats amazing!

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