Bicycle Wheel Windmill




Here is something that's fast, easy, and cheap and still works surprisingly well. A few years ago I learned about this while reading a research paper and decided to make one of my own. The video got quite popular, and now after way too long, I've finally gotten around to including it here!

- A bicycle wheel that still has spokes (and maybe the hub and bearings)

- Tape

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Step 1: Make It!

If you would like to check out the original research I found, please go here: Bicyle Wheel: A Surprising Wind Turbine

The idea is simple: You use tape, metal strips, fabric etc. in between the spokes of a bike wheel to create blades which will catch the wind. Then you put it somewhere where it will spin! Watch the video for a look at it in action. I'm still looking for peoples ideas on how to use this setup to generate power. I have a few ideas of my own that I haven't had time to fully test. Feel free to message me or comment with any questions or if you have any thoughts about improvements or small scale power generation.

Thats it! Check out the video!

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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    How do you mount the wheel on the pole, and how does it turn, to catch the wind?

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    In this case, I just used the threaded rod and the nut that were already on the bicycle wheel and bolted it onto a hole at the end of the pole. As for the question of how it turns to catch the wind, this one doesn't but if you take a look at the video (not sure if you can see it it the instructable or not) you can see that it really doesn't need to turn to catch the wind, it will almost always be spinning.

    I did get it to turn into the wind by using two L brackets and a caster from the hardware store. Then I used a piece of coroplast sign, and a fiberglass rod used to mark driveways. I know those aren't very detailed answers, but if you want more clarification and are planning on building one, feel free to ask and I can send you a few more detailed photos.

    Good idea. You may just use a hub dynamo. You will have a lot of power, even at low speeds.
    What about using a front bicycle fork and a flap to let it be self oriented to the wind?


    5 years ago on Introduction

    If you used a rear wheel you could use the chain sprocket to drive your generator. If you used one from a track bike you wouldn't need to worry about removing/ locking the free wheel mechanisum up. Removal is quite simple it just requires a splined tool available from most bike shops.

    Thanks! I've bought one of those bottle shaped ones, but I'm worried that this may not have enough power to spin it fast enough to get good voltage. Also, its not necessary to take the tire off the wheel, but I took mine off and now I have no good way to attach the little generator to it. Maybe if I pull out the hub and the bearing and use the generator in its place...