Introduction: A Vertical Wind Generator From Washing Machine Motor

Have an old front-load clothes washer and some PVC pipe lying around?  Make a vertical wind generator and go GREEN the DIY way.

Step 1: Remove Motor From Washing Machine

This step was the most destructive using various implements to separate the motor assembly from the washing machine.  I'll leave it to your imagination and whatever tools you have on hand.  The output of this step should be the coil assembly and the magnet assembly.  Keep the shaft and bearings if you can also.  Mine were pressed into the washing drum and were difficult to remove without destroying them.  Keep the bolts from the coil and magnet assembly also.  You may want to use them for your new hub.

Step 2: Clean the Parts

Clean the magnets and coils, and remove any rust that may have built up on the ends of the coils.  Then put a light coat of oil on the metal parts or a light layer of clear coat to keep them from rusting again.

Step 3: Design a New Hub

This may be the most difficult part.  You need to design a hub that will space the coils in line with the magnets, and also have some sturdy bearings at each end.  I started out with a block of plastic used for an automotive brake rotor holding fixture.  You could make the same on a lathe, or build one up from layers of wood or other plastic, etc.

Step 4: Shaft Fit

I saved part of the original washing machine drum shaft where the two bearings were located and cut off the rest.  Then I added some threaded rod in the end where the original bolt was located.  The threaded rod will attach to my blade assembly.

Step 5: Hub and Coils

Here is the hub bolted to the coils with a cutout for some wiring.  At this point, I haven't rewired any of the coils.  There are many DIY generator projects on the web using these same washing machine motors and some describe various ways to rewire them for different voltages and currents.  Your application will define your wiring.

Step 6: Finished Generator Assembly

Here's a photo of the magnets and coils mounted on the new hub and shaft assembly.  At this point, you can spin the assembly and measure the voltage output, current output, vs. RPM.  These measurement steps, and a way to determine the required torque to spin the generator I will save for my next Instructable.

Step 7: Blade Design and Construction

My blade design is based on some vertical blades I've seen, and in particular, a spinning porch ornament I purchased a few years back.  The Idea is to have a cup-like section of the blade always in the direct flow of the wind.

Step 8: The Blade Design

First mark the cutting lines on the PVC pipe.  You can sand off the marks after cutting and/or paint the blades if needed.

Step 9: Cut Blades

I used a jig saw to cut the long flat cuts.

Step 10: Cut Blades

I used a hack saw to cut the rounded sections.

Step 11: Drill Center Hole for Post

I used a hole saw to drill the center holes for the PVC post.  The center post has caps on the ends to secure to the threaded rod.

Step 12: Completed Generator

Here's a photo of the completed generator ready for mounting on a porch, or in a tree, or wherever.  This motor was rated at about 400 Watts, so I'm hoping for 50-100 watts in a good wind.

I hope you've enjoyed this Instructable, See you all next time......

Step 13: Measurements

No load and full load torque was measured using a strain gage load cell mounted on a rod located one foot from the center of the hub.  Data was captured using a national instruments DAQ card and DasyLab daq software. No load was all wires open, full load was all wires shorted.  I tried to move the rod 90 degrees in 5 seconds at a steady rate manually.

No load torque averaged 0.39 ft-lbs, ful load torque was approx. 1.25 ft-lbs

Step 14: Measurements

Full load Plot.

Step 15: Part Numbers

LG Washer model WM0532HW

Sears Part Numbers
Stator assembly


Sensor assy
Call for availability
(800) 252-1698

Kenmore 41473 

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