Introduction: Wind Turbine Blades From Bamboo

"...bamboo. It's strong, it's light, it's beautiful and it's free!" -tdem

*** Hey! Instructables gave me a 3 month Pro membership for my ninja purse but I already won a pro membership so...
A FREE 3 MONTH PRO MEMBERSHIP GOES TO the first one to post their bamboo bladed turbine in the comments below. Yeah.

These are really easy and require pretty much no money, no skill, no precise measurements, nor attention to detail.

And they work nicely!

Seriously, try it out and see. This project is doable with almost entirely salvaged materials so it's a perfect first foray into mid sized wind projects.


Step 1: What You Need

-Big bamboo (about 4 inches wide and 4 feet long)
-Measuring tape
-Saw (circular saw recommended)
-Angle grinder with sanding disk (maybe you could use a sanding block)
-About 1 hour per blade.

Step 2: Cut to Length

Cut your bamboo to length. In my case I cut it to 4 feet.

Step 3: Cut Into Thirds Lengthwise

Divide circumference by 3, and cut.

Step 4: Cut the Leading Edge

This part needs a cut line.

Mark 6 inches (15cm) from the base on one edge (the top edge in this picture).

And mark about 2 inches (6cm) perpendicular to the other edge at the tip (up from the bottom edge in this picture).

Step 5: Sand Into Shape and You're Done!

Now spend some time sanding in an airfoil shape.

First sand the nodes flat. I still had some unevenness on the concave side at each node but whateva'

The leading edge is simple; just round it off

The trailing edge is also simple; sand from the concave side only to give the blade a standard airfoil shape.

The tips can be a bit thinner. I think they will spin faster if the ends are lighter plus they will have less resistance when they are thinner. Also you will notice that your angle of attack is different at the tip than at the base.

Step 6: Nothing Fancy But It Works!

Now fire them onto the front wheel of an abandoned scooter and you're off!

Actually, reinforce the base of the blades with some metal first (see image note).

Concluding thoughts:

I was inspired by some other instructables like this one https://www.instructables.com/id/EDXXV4R4SLEP286NHD/ but PVC is really unhealthy to work with and I didn't like the thinness of the design so I thunk up this here design with a deeper curve at the root.

The point of these blades was to see how little care and how much inaccuracy I could get away with. Word on the street is that a perfect airfoil and a crappy airfoil only differ by about 20%. So you can probably get 80% of the result with only 20% of the effort!

Also bamboo is cheap/free in my neck of the woods so...


And remember to ask me to clarify any points that you don't get.

Comments

author
BonneyG (author)2016-02-12

very interesting! i am a wind turbine enthuiast,with alot of experience with wind turbines,i know bamboo is tough enough to make such blades...hey what about trying coconut branch,the stalk that attaches to the trunk,the dry one....

author
GregoriNiculitcheff (author)2012-03-04

cool :)

author
ensoarts (author)2009-11-04

Can you go into more detail about the construction of the hub, mounting, generator etc.   I love the blade design but i want to know more about overall construction.  (or is is basically the same as the pvc turbines on here?)

author
snotty (author)ensoarts2009-11-04

Sure,

I intended for this instructable to focus on the bamboo blades so I glossed over everything else.

The hub is the front wheel of a motor scooter. I tore out the speedometer parts and bolted the axle to a 2x4. It's really that low-tech. The blades didn't attach very well because I had them temporarily mounted with a single bolt each so they all ended up wiggling loose.

This is because there is no generator yet. I want to use an axial flux alternator but I'm having a hard time sourcing the parts. Long story.

When I get the generator, I'll mount the blades properly.

The yaw bearing is the headset from a bicycle. The forks are drilled and bolted to a steel pole and the bike frame is drilled and screwed to the above mentioned 2x4. This works pretty well.

And the tail uses the standard Hugh Piggott furling system. Except I used a door hinge which seemed too weak and flimsy but it works fine thus far.

The real details are available on www.otherpower.com and www.scoraigwind.com

author
Funk_D (author)2009-11-03

Good work! There is a ton of bamboo behind my house and every year it invades the yard and we just end up pulling it all up aside from a little patch. Now we finally have something useful to do with it!!!

author
rimar2000 (author)2009-10-15

I think the bamboo is lighter than PVC for the same strength (orstronger than PVC for the same weigth).  Good design!

But warning, that horizontal wood board behind the turbine generatesturbulence. You should avoid it.

author
snotty (author)rimar20002009-10-15

Yes, bamboo is awesome! Thanks.

The horizontal board is too long on the left side. I will cut it offwhen I get around to it...

On the right side I will use the board as a brace to mount the statorfor an axial flux generator. That's what they use in this design(Spanish version for you) http://www.bajatec.net/manuales/manual_generador_eolico/hugh_piggott_2005.htm

author
masterochicken (author)2009-10-14

 Very cool. 5 stars.

author
baudeagle (author)masterochicken2009-10-14

In what way is bamboo a composite material?

author
snotty (author)baudeagle2009-10-14

Ah yes, you might have noticed that I called bamboo "the world'scoolest composite material evar!"

I called bamboo this because it is:
-cheap/free, grows like a weed
-is light and strong
-is rot resistant (depending on who you listen to)
-non toxic, environmentally friendly
-looks cool
-naturally shaped in a variety of useful dimensions.
-is free around here (it's worth saying again)

author
snotty (author)baudeagle2009-10-14

Good question. Bamboo is a composite material in that it comprises oftwo distinct materials that compliment each other for greater strength.

Usually when I think think about composites other things come to mindlike carbon fiber plus epoxy, or fiber glass plus polyester resin. NowI'm no expert but some googling tells me that there are biologicalcomposite materials too. I'm pretty sure wood is one of them. Wood ismade up of cellulose fiber glued together with a plasticy materialcalled lignin. Bamboo is also made of cellulose fiber bound togetherwith lignin. These experts say so: http://api.ning.com/files/nQPHGlr1FmYBjgPC8hFnpzp3Bij9sL8762pKj64JNAiC7BcIxGwONHtOOboFf1z6*1zMB9etZQGwXUegOvxduiO4Z2YZWDNq/Bamboofunctionallygradescomposite.pdf


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Bio: Careers: documentary filmmaker, DOP, engineering student, practical environmentalist, idealist. Loves: bicycles and when weeds grow in the city. I'm from western Canada, Yukon, Japan ... More »
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