Introduction: Wind Turbine Model

Picture of Wind Turbine Model

This is a great way to understand wind turbines. It is simple, easy to make, and helps one build the confidence to build their own large scale turbine.

This is a great classroom model to show transformation of energy. Wind, Mechanical, Electrical, and Light are all shown in this one easy to make model.

We have ours in the backyard and it looks so beautiful glowing.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials


Marking Pen, Motor, Red LED, Wood or Plastic, 3/4 x 1/2 x 1/2 PVC Pipe Fitting Tee, 1/2” Union, Hot Glue, Drill with Bit, Blades, 1/2” Flange, PVC Pipe Cutters, Punch, O-Ring, Tape Measure, 1’ of 1/2” PVC Pipe, Wind ;-)

This seems complicated but really it is not. If you want to build your own, pull an old vcr or dvd apart and remove the motor. Easily make your own blades with spoons and a water bottle lid. You don’t need a pvc pipe cutter, any saw will do. See our other designs of wind turbines and complete instructions.

Step 2: Procedure Step 1

Picture of Procedure Step 1

Measure 1”, and 5” on PVC Pipe.

Cut at the 1” and 5” markings.

Now there are three pipes, a 1”, 5”, and a 6” pipe.

Step 3: Procedure Step 2

Picture of Procedure Step 2

Put the o-ring onto the front of the motor.

Hold the motor on top of the 3/4 x 1/2 x 1/2 tee.

Placing the o-ring just over the edge of the tee, mark the end of the motor.

This is where we are going to drill.

Step 4: Procedure Step 3

Picture of Procedure Step 3

Make sure your mark is in the center of the tee.

Use a punch or pick to make an indentation.

This way the drill will not slip around.

Drill the hole large enough for the red LED to go through.

Step 5: Procedure Step 4

Picture of Procedure Step 4

Take your red LED and your motor.

Find the long leg of the LED (the wire that sticks out of the light that is longer).

The longer LED is the positive and the short is the negative.

Take the positive leg (the longer one) and connect it to the + side of the motor.

Then connect the short leg to the - side.

Do this by placing the wires through the tiny holes.

Bend tabs or the wire to keep the wire in place.

Step 6: Stop and Check!

Picture of Stop and Check!

Put the blades on to the motor and blow really hard.

Does the light turn on?

Yes? Go on to next step.

No? Try blowing harder. Try switching the connection of the LED legs.

Step 7: Procedure Step 5

Picture of Procedure Step 5

Gently slip the motor and LED into PVC at an angle.

Line LED with the hole.

Straighten up motor while pushing LED through the hole.

Step 8: Procedure Step 6

Picture of Procedure Step 6

Holding the motor and PVC pipe in place, add hot glue.

Step 9: Procedure Step 7

Picture of Procedure Step 7

Once the glue has started to dry, set the tee and propeller to the side to dry.

Take the union and open.

Remove the o-ring found inside.

This will allow for the turbine to rotate easier.

Step 10: Procedure Step 8

Picture of Procedure Step 8

Take the union and 1” PVC pipe and place the pipe into the top of your union.

Please refer to the pictures for the “top” :-)

Press in firmly.

Step 11: Procedure Step 9

Picture of Procedure Step 9

Connect the union with the 1” PVC pipe and the tee with the motor and propeller.

Press in firmly.

Step 12: Procedure Step 10

Picture of Procedure Step 10

Add the 6” pipe as part of the tail.

Add the 5” pipe as part of the stand. Press in firmly.

Step 13: Procedure Step 11

Picture of Procedure Step 11

Add hot glue to the end of your 6” pipe.

Place plastic onto glue.

Press firmly.

Allow to dry.

Step 14: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Tighten or loosen the union depending on your needs.

Glue all pieces together if desired.

Paint for a finished look.


tantris (author)2015-06-18

Nice. A good alternative to the store bought wind-turbine science kit (which by the way uses a cheap motor and really sucks).

The T-connector gives it a perfect housing and the O-ring even works as dampener

Thanks so much for the comment. We agree about the store kits.

Splinter Sensei (author)2015-07-06

Even if i have Instructables account i never published anything on it. Oh well here are pics of my machine that i created years ago (i did lots and lots of modifications to it and always i find new ways to improve machine).

oh that looks so cool it looks like a instrument mast on a storm chasers vehicle p.s. and how did you bond the medal rods that hold this thing together

I apologize for not replaying your comment Sir. I provided some pics of
my new version of my meteorological machine. Well about your question
on that old version i used a TV antenna (2 stick indoor TV antenna). The
new version have few modifications. I switched the anemometer DC motor
with a brushless DC motor (old PC fan). I had no idea that the PC fans
operate at AC but use DC from motherboard and converted it to AC. So i
had problems to figure out how to wind up the Rectifier Bridge onto the
motor core. So now it produces AC that goes into Bridge Rectifier to get
DC current. Also the construction well i used 3 sticks that have
windings on them (it's like a screw but without it's head so to say xD)
How to say i am really good at improvising. When i need or don't have
necessary components for something that i want to build i just make
components from other stuff. I also had really big problem. I had to
find really small screws that will hold anemometer's cups but not to be
long screws or they will damage the winding of the machine from the
inside. So once again i improvised and it was worth it. Here are the

Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

farmhero (author)2015-06-28



Ryan MacKenzie (author)2015-06-23

Nice work, and well written. Thanks for sharing

Thanks! We are glad you like it!

Phoghat (author)2015-06-20

What would be needed to show wind speed? Volt meter, Ammeter?

akospenda (author)Phoghat2015-06-22

Since it's such a little blade you could probably correlate voltage output to wind speed but you'd need something like a arduino to calculate. But it would much easier to use a rpm sensor.

lroberge (author)2015-06-18

this is great, but several questions.

Are any Dc motors useful here?

Also, can I use a white or bright white LED?

Also what if you use a larger propeller blades or even try to make it using a VERITCAL BLADE ARRANGEMENT?

Are there any minimum requirements here?

I am eager to try these out.

Best wishes.


We understand that step-up motors work the best. We are using a red LED because it takes the least amount of energy to light up. A white LED will work. Vertical blades will work but that would look totally different then what we show here. Larger blades will spin in lower winds. We hope this helps.

dmhoke (author)2015-06-16

I would advise strongly against holding the Tee in your hand when drilling holes, etc. Those kinda injuries suck big time.

tantris (author)dmhoke2015-06-18

Second that. I got a few smaller injuries from re-purposed screw drivers and hand tools. I am now retraining myself to avoid these stupid injuries:

In what direction will the tool go if the attempted step fails? - Make sure this direction is away from your body & body-parts.

In step four: The punch will either go into the thumb, the index finger, or (less likely) into your palm. The last one can be avoided by limiting the movement of the right hand: putting the connector down and resting the hand on a board or book while pushing. For the drilling, the connector could be held end to end in a cheap clamp, or add a piece of pvc and hold on to that, so your hand is further away.

These things aren't as wise as using a vise, but work for me.

Cats Science Club (author)dmhoke2015-06-18

Yes, a vise would have been the smarter choice.

arvevans (author)2015-06-18

Possibly add a large PVC pipe cap to the motor shaft and covering the motor section to provide rain protection for the motor.

Make larger propeller vanes from slices of PVC pipe. This could provide more power generation at slow wind speeds.

Us output to charge cell phones as an off-the-grid phone power source.

Good well-documented Instructable.

Great suggestions!

firefightermeyer (author)2015-06-16

Really cool man

Glad you like!

Ronald Joseph (author)2015-06-16



dmwatkins (author)2015-06-16

Nicely done!

Thank you!

billbillt (author)2015-06-18

Where did you get the propeller?... Great project!... got my vote..

We got the propellers off ebay. We do sell a kit that is pre-cut and drilled at but if you have the parts it really is easy to do yourself.

Tangski (author)2015-06-18

Very cool! I do have a silly q...would this work to recharge anything, and if so, how could that work...I am thinking of an idea to use something like this when a teardrop trailer situation, or even tenting...? Set it up on a picnic table for emergency phone or ipod use? Any suggestions? This is a great project for a science class! VERY nice!!! Oh, I noted a comment about the propellers...are they sitting right? Idea of how to change that? I would have thought they were fine as yo blew on them to see how well they caught the wind? cheers and thank you!!

This would recharge batteries with a good wind. The red propellers are to small to get going in low winds. Please see our other turbines for some ideas and hopefully some wiser people then us will help answer your question as well. :-)

redrok (author)2015-06-18

Hi Cats;

The curvature of the blades are backwards.

The "Cupped" side should be toward the incoming wind.


mcfunworld (author)2015-06-16

I all ready have the motor from a DVD player and if I make this I would cut down the middle of the tail pipe and slide the tail down it

Absolutely. It looks really nice like that. We chose to make this as simple as possible.

DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-06-16

Nice turbine design.

Thanks! Took some experimenting till we got something this awesome. We are very proud of it.

About This Instructable



Bio: Science Geek! Been to Space Camp 3 times and want to go again!!
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