Introduction: PVC Pipe Blades and Rotor for HAWT From Scrap.

About: no longer active.....

NOTE: This was a proof of concept project, just to show that it is possible to use the casting from an old washing machine to make a rotor, This project is now on hold until I finish my VAWT and other projects I am working on.

I recently had an idea for a horizontal wind turbine.  The idea came to me when I dismantled an old washing machine to get the stainless steel drum to make a patio heater.  I discovered that the drum was mounted on a aluminum casting that had chunky bearings that though would be perfect to make a wind turbine with, the rotor of any turbine is the hardest part of the build and to find some thing this perfect I just had to see if it would work.

I had a 1mtr length of 6" PVC sewer pipe left over from my VAWT  built and decided that i would use it to make a set of blades to see if my idea was valid enough to continue to build a horizontal wind turbine.

For the video the rotor is mounted on a test stand with a clamp.  I already have my brain in gear and a rest of the turbine is already taking shape.

The results speak for themselves, you can see that the blades catch even the slightest breeze.

I may even put my VAWT build on hold for now to work on this turbine as I think it has more potential to get me to the goal of charging batteries for an electric bike project sooner than the VAWT.

I will be continuing work on the turbine and once I have the various stages finished I shall post the Instructables.

Thanks for looking and I hope this gives you some ideas for your own projects.


Step 1: Marking the Pipe

The first thing was to mark out the pipe.

I first used a length of angle iron to mark a line along the pipe, by using angle iron you get a perfect line and all your lines will be parallel.

Once the first line was marked i measured the circumference of the pipe and devide it by 3 to give the spacing for the other lines.  I marked the distance on the back of the tape measure so i could wrap the tape around the pipe for a more accurate mark.

Once you have the equal distances marked use the angle to mark a lines.

Step 2: Cutting

Once the pipe was marked out i clamped it to the bead of my wood lathe for cutting.

I used a jigsaw to make split the pipe into the 3 segments. each segment would make 2 blades so i would have 6 blades from this pipe.

Once the first cut is made rotate the pipe and clamp again, after the second cut a segment will be removed from the pipe. The pie then was able to be pushed down onto the lathe bead where it sat nice and steady for the final cut.

Step 3: Marking and Cutting the Segments.

I marked each of the segments 1 1/2" in at each end and used a chalk line to mark a line along the segment. the chalk line did not show up to good so I used a sharpie marker to redraw the line before cutting.

I was able to use the bandsaw for cutting the segments.

Step 4: Sanding and Finishing.

Once the segments where all cut i picked the 3 blades that where the best looking of the bunch.

I sanded the blades on the sanding table and removes any fine burs with wire wool to give a smooth edges.

Step 5: The Rotor.

The  rotor came from a washing machine drum and is attached to the drum with press in rivets. to remove these either split the aluminum tube the rivet is pressed into or grind the top flat and center punch it and drill the rivet out.

I marked the holes on each arm 75mm center to center and drilled with a 6mm drill bit.

Step 6: The Bearings.

The bearing casing is moulded into the plastic drum of the washing machine and need to be cut free. you can either smash the tub up or cut it out if you have a use for the rest of the tub.

To remove the bearing case from the tub I used a angle grinder to cut into the segments on the base of the tub, I also did the same on the inside of the tub too.

I then used a a hand axe to hack out the bearing case but not totally destroy the tub, I plan to use the remainder of the tub to make some kind of planter.

Step 7: Attach the Blades and Add the Bearing Cage.

I clamped the blades in position on each arm and drilled the blade for the outermost holes first.

Once all 3 blades where attached I lined up the first blade and drilled the hole for the second bolt.  i then used the the tape measure to make sure the tips of the blades where at equal distances. Once all the blades where set i drilled the rest of the holes and bolted the blades on to the rotor.

I was now able to test the rotor to see if the blades worked. They worked very well, so well that I decided It would be much safer mounted on a test stand than me just holding the bearing casing.

The blades will need some sanding here and there to make them perfectly balanced, I will do this in the tweaking stage before I mount the turbine on a pole.

I hope you like my idea for a scrappy solution to the problem of making a rotor for a wind turbine.