Introduction: Windy the Small Wind Turbine
"Every accomplishement begins with the decision to try"
The wind was actually one of the major nature forces that led the man to the highest civilizations and the most important discoveries including the new world -America- without this nature element there would never be conncetion between the continents nor ships or planes ! An yet wind is still able to provide even more than what you may imagine: A clean and renewable energy !
Now for me, being an electrical engineering student and at the same time a nature/environnement defending citizen I was directly involved in renewable energies, so I decided to start making projects such as wind turbines and solar PV. The easiest option to me was the wind turbine since every part of it can be build at my dad's garage, to be more precise and efficient I chose to make of it my school final project so I co-worked with my Proffessor and my schoolmate but the good thing about it is that anyone who's actually passionate by this kind of projects can build a wind turbine at home ! this step by step can help besides I'm happy to provide more informations and help if you're attempting to build your own wind turbine.
Finally I would like to share with you this funny video explanning how controversy and missunderstood was the wind. here is Mr W .
PS: Please excuse me for not having a good grasp of the English language, it's the fourth language I speak.
Step 1: The Prototype
Before starting to build anything it's important to write down what you exactly need and how you want your project to look like. Start drawing it and every part of it. While you're drawing try to imagin the materials and tools you're using on that !! For me this was the prototype ! the most important thing here is the rigidity of the mast, a flexible rolling and the lowest possible machanical drag.
The different parts of the wind turbine I made where:
- A Tower 1.8 meters high.
- An orientation system bearings & Tail.
- A pulley system instead of a gear box.
- A car alternator as a generator.
- Wooden Hub.
- A car battery 12 V 45AH.
The characteristics of this Wind Turbine are:
- Model: Hugh Piggot Wind.
- Number of blades: 3.
- Maximum power: 650W.
- Height of the mat: 1.8 m.
- Rotor diameter: 1.5m.
- Wind speed required to start: 8m / s.
- Rotation System: Bearings &Tail across the nacelle of the wind.
Step 2: The Tower and the Orientation System
I actually brought the tower from the scrap metal It was Ideal for my project: 2 meters high with a diameter of 6.5 cm and a fixation to the ground. So I just baught it and added to it's top small cylinder weld with bearings to make my orientation system.
I was actually amazed by the result after trying it for the first time, the orientation system worked really good, before I was afraid of this because I knew that this is one of the delicate parts on a wind turbine.
As I said before: You can find very good pieces at the scrap you just need to cut, weld and adjust them to your need.
After putting all the pieces together; the tower, the springs you should test your orientation system.
You have to make sure that:
- The tower is vertical and that it is not curved and that it's fixed easily to the ground and stay fixed when you put weight on it.
- The orientation system is very smooth and flexible and rolls by a simple finger knock.
- The Tower is painted with an anti rust.
- You can paint it again with any colour you want, I have chosen the white colour to make it look like the big wind turbines ^^.
Step 3: The Generator
Some studies must be done here because you need some informations such as the speed of the wind in your region and the power you need to get from your HAWT* and also the diameter of the rotor** to make the right decision about the best generator to use, for me I have chosen this alternator of cars a MAGNETI MARELLI, 14v, 55A.
If you want to use another genarator rather than the one I used, just make sure that its power is equal to the power that can be delivered from the rotor (it depends on the diameter of the rotor and the wind speed in your area)
HAWT* : Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine
Rotor**: The three blades attached together are the rotor of the wind turbine.
Step 4: The Blades
"Three keys for perfect blades are: The material used, the size of the blades and the way the blades are curved (the angles)."
- The size of the blades depends on the type of the wind turbine selected: HAWT or VAWT*. The power of the wind and the generator are included in defining the blades size. Here's a relation between the diameter of the rotor and the maximum power delivered by the wind turbine - Knowing that the diameter of the rotor is double the lenght of one blade-
- 50 to 100 W => 1m.
- de 500 à 1000 W => 3m.
- 250 à 500 W => 2m.
- 1000 à 2000 W => 4m.
- 1000 à 2000 W => 4m.
- The material to use: You can actually use either wood, aluminium or resin. For me it was easier to use resin because it can be worked to obtain any shape you want even that I started making my blades with PVC but it was very hard for me to shape them so because there's a lot of work behind. So for your resin blades you need to make a mussel. So I took a 1m x 10 cm beam of wood and shaped it into a blade that is flat at the bottom and rounded on the top, the shape is approximative and exactly calcuated but that gives you a nice blade if you shape it good, the good thing about the mussel is that it gives you three identical blades with the perfect same shape size and weight which is a capital factor for the aerodynamic equilibrium.
- The shape of the blade: there are many shapes for the blades depending on the speed of the wind, the power generated and other factors. On This link you'll find a website that provides a whole scale of blade shapes.
At the end of this step I had 3 identical blades with 75cm lenght and .... weight.
VAWT*: Vertical Axis Wind Turbine.
Step 5: The Rotor
Once the blades are finished I had to assemble them and connect them to the pulley system.
I fixed each of the three blades to the pulley bar with a U shaped piece of alluminium.
The three U shaped alluminium pieces bearing the blades where fixed in the bar of the pulley with 120° between each one and another.The advantage of a U shaped alluminium is that by screwing it in the pulley bar you can adjust your blades at any angle you want, depending on the wind force.
I took a cubed wood and shaped it into a wooden hub using both electric and manual saw. Make sure that the hub fits between the blades with difficulty because that makes it stick well.
Using glue I fixed the wooden hub in the center of the rotor. The rotor is now finished.
Step 6: Nacelle
We now have the rotor which converts the kinetic energy of the wind into a mechanical work and the tower that carries the nacelle.
I simply did grab this heavy metal plate and:
- Fixed two align bearings to supply the bar of the pully.
- Fixed two align L shaped bars to carry the alternator. Very important: The alternator pully and the big must be perfectly align and attached with a strap. That's why the alternator is pulled up with the two L shaped bars.
- Fixed the alternator to the L bars using bolts.
- Attached the alternator pully to the big pulley with a strap, first the strap was too small so the pulley weren't rolling easily but then my proffessor grab a stew-pan joint and it fitted there perfectly !
To cover the nacelle, you can use a plastic or PVC plate and hitting it a bit then shape into a box.
For me I made both of the cover and the tail of the nacelle with alluminium sheets but I didn't fix them because they were a bit heavy !
About the pulley system: the alternator requires a high speed to generate elecricity while my wind turbine and from where it is located it cannot provide that high speed so I used the pulley system to amplify the speed of the rotor the big pulley is 3 times the size of the alternator pulley so that the whole pulley system triples the speed which makes the alternator generating elecrtic power at low wind speed (4 to 8 meters per seconds).
Step 7: The Battery
I used a car battery 12 V 45AH since I have already took a car alternator as a generator.
There in the picture below is the description of how the alternator is connected to the battery. Make sure your battery is charged before, not fully charged but has some power because the alternator before generating electrical energy absorbs some of it from the battery otherwise your battery will unload and won't be loaded again.
The cables used here are for currents around 50 A. don't choose fine cables choose the cables that support the maximum current delivered by the battery.
For me it was easier to place the battery on the nacelle but you can extend the cables and put the battery wherever you want to !
Step 8: The Tests
Now that all the parts of my wind turbines were finished I had to make sure every part works well then assemble them !
I first tested the alternator, I unfortunately don't have the video but you have the description before of how it's connected to the battery. Anyways, I put the hand-drill wick into the alternator pulley and turned it in a sense, using a multimeter the
The second testwas for the rotor. I had to know the recquired speed for my wind turbine to start producing electricity. With the help of my proffessor and my schoolmate I put my wind turbine in front of bellows and started increasing the air speed from the bellows slowly untill the rotor rolled.
This video showes this test I made on the mechanical laboratory! But if you're lucky to live in a wind-bent area then you don't need a laboratory or bellows to try your wind turbine.
Step 9: The Assemblage
Now that every part of my wind turbine works well I can assemble them.
All you need for this final step is some vices, bolts, hand-drill, pliers, nuts, hammer and painting pumps.
Step 10: The End ? No .. Still Work to Do !
"Every Accomplishement begins with the decision to try"
After a hard work I made it ! Yes it wasn't that easy at all for me, especially when the tools and materials are not found, but the juice is worth the squeeze besides isn't this the concept of the instructables and the BRAVE THE ELEMENTS Contest ?
Yes there's still a lot of work to do but I'm very ready for it and I'm very proud for what I have already accomplished. I would be a liar if I said that this is my made 100% I have to say that some people helped me on that: My dad, my proffessor and my schoolate. It has been such a great experience ! I am attempting to finish it and convert the energy issued to be equivalent the the electrical energy on the national grid. I will share with you other instructables as soon as I get finished with my Windy project.
It first seem impossible until it's done :)
PS: If you think that this project is worth voting for at the brave the elements contest please vote for me because I always dreamed of having a Go Pro !! If you want the pictures and videos of my next instructables to be good and clear please vote Windy x)
Participated in the
Brave the Elements Contest