Introduction: Wind Turbine With Bicycle Wheels

This instructable uses bicycle wheels to create a wind turbine. Some construction ideas come from A Home Power Plant - Wind Power Generator Revised
by bhunter736
Making a simple Savonius wind turbine
The timber frame idea comes from wind turbine by faroun
Faroun Savonius Wind Turbine
plus other net published constructions I can't remember plus some original bits.


Step 1: Make Base and Top Frames.

Create two 700mm square frames
These frames to hold the axle bolt and make the whole construction simpler. I used 25mm pipe. Add an angle iron section across the the centre with a hole drilled at the centre able to take the wheel axle.
Fortunately I have a mate with a welder and is much better at it than me. Thanks Chris

Step 2: Add Bucket Base Anchoring Pieces

I used wheels from an old off road bike past its used by date. I have recently read that a ratio of radius to height of 6-8 is most efficient so wheels from a BMX would probably be better, but I used what I had. To hold the Savonius bucket base to the bicycle wheel fix two pieces of wood on opposite sides of the wheel to hold them. I made these the same width as my bucket base, but if you were using a full circular base you might want to use four of these. I used 35mm square timber. I actually used 70x35 framing pine which was ripped down the middle.
Drill through the rims and secure the timber to the wheel at each end with 50mm timber screws.

Step 3: Create Bucket Base and Buckets

I made the buckets by screwing the bucket templates to the base plate then screwing flat sheet metal to the templates to construct the buckets.
I made the base plates out of 18mm exterior board 330mm wide. 650mm accross. Draw centre lines on long and short axis. From the centre created by this intersection draw arcs from each end long axis. I used a pencil on a string to create the arc and cut along this arc with a jigsaw. If you use a full circle base make the circle of radius 325mm.
Four bucket base templates are required. I used semicircles but you could change this shape to increase the efficiency of the bucket. Read a few articles and you will get a few more ideas. I made them from an old 20mm pine shelf but chipboard would probably do in dry area or 18 exterior board if getting wet.
Fix the base templates to the base such that the flat sides are along the long centre line. I over lapped the the semicircles 80mm. I used three self tapping timber screws to hold each as well as contact adhesive glue. Next one I build I won't glue just use more screws as this will allow me to "play" with the bucket shape.
Cut a 50mm hole in the centre to allow the axle to come through.

Step 4: Fix Metal Sheets to Bases to Form Bucket.

Cut 2 flat galvanized steel sheet to form buckets. The thickness of the metal does not need to be heavy as the curvature of the metal stablises the bucket when the ends are secured to the templates.
My buckets are 900mm high and 450mm around the template. The circumference of the templates is 470mm but I had a sheet of 900x900 so used what I had cut in half.
To fix the tin to the templates I predrilled the templates then marked the holes on elictrical tape which I ran around the template. I then applied the tape to to the end of the sheet metal and drilled the holes in the sheet metal.
I fixed the sheets to the templates using 25mm self tapping screws with the outside edge "flush" to the outside edge of the template and the inside edge short.

Step 5: Fix the Bucket to the Wheels and the Wheels to the Top and Bottom Frames.

Attach the wheels to the bucket. I used two 50mm self tapping screws into each of the four pieces of timber screwed to the wheels in step 2. Take care here to centre the base plates on the axles. This is where the marked lines on the base board help in alignment.
If you intend to use the rear wheel cogs to drive generator or pump etc make sure the bucket rotation is correct. If it isn't correct turn the bucket upside down and it should be turning in the correct direction.
Bolt the end frames on to the wheel axles.

Step 6: Construct Mounting Frame.

I made the mounting frame by creating half width walls and bolting them to the metal frame top and bottom.
Each wall was 350mm wide. I made 8 35x35x1300mm posts by ripping 70x35mm framing pine in half.
Cut 4 320x1200mm pieces of 9mm B grade exterior board to brace the posts.
I then ran the router down the edge of each post to remove a 9mm section for the braces to sit in.
Take two posts glue and nail or screw the brace into the section cut out by the router.
Bolt the frame sections one on each side of the metal frames. I used 50mm self tapping roofing screws for metal roofs but predrilled the pipe the take up easier.
Make sure it is on the metal frames such that the wind is not blocked. ie that when the bucket is across the frames will be covering the back of a bucket. I saw this frame design on another project but I didn't keep the reference to acknowledge it. I am sure if you are looking you will find where it came from. Alternatives might be to use steel posts and fencing pipe clamp connections . Either way this turbine can be dismantled and reassembled fairly easily.

Amazingly for my first try it does work!!
How much power I get when I hook the chain drive to my generator is yet to be seen.

Check out the video set up on my veranda.