Dandelion Wind Turbine




We were given a project to design a wind turbine with an aim to generate as much power as possible (with 24W motor). In this instructables page we will show you a step by step process to build our turbine.

Step 1: Materials

Materials Needed:

-3mm sheet thermoplastic
-MDF, various sizes
-Sheet Aluminium
- 1 x Steel Block (50 mm diameter x 50 mm height)
- 1 x M8 threaded poles  (0.6 m long)
- 2 x bearings ( 6mm inner bore, 22mm outer diamter)
- 2 x M5 bolts and nuts
- 4 x M8 nuts
- Various screws
- 2 x Gears (inner bore diamter 3mm)
- 1 x Bucket (approx 30cm diameter or wider at opening)

Tools and manufacturing process:

-laser cutter (alternative to hand drawing)
-band saw
-hot air gun
-chemical adhesive
-glue and painting

Step 2: Making Blades

There are two options for making the blades:
1. Take the illustrator files and using a laser cutter, print them out in 3mm plastic (or draw the design onto the plastic and cut out manually

2. Spray paint the sheet aluminium, then using a laser cutter etch the blade patterns into the aluminium and cut out the design by hands. 

The results should be similar to the pictures attached. (all blades should have the slots, this eases bending)
You should make either 3 or 6 blades.

Step 3: Bending Blades

The fan blades must now be twisted.

If made of sheet aluminium, grab the tip of the blade and spin clockwise, twisting the shape of the blade. The aluminium is malleable enough to withstand this.

If the blades are made of plastic, a hot air gun must be used. Heat a plastic blade and again twist by hand (remembering to wear safety gloves!). When the desired shape dip into cool water to re-harden. Do this one at a time.

When twisted the the blades should look like the image.

Step 4: Joining Blades

If the blades are made of plastic, align the blades into a circular pattern with the bore holes lining up.

Now that you can see where they should line up, using a plastic adhesive join the blades together. (the order is irrelevant as long as the bores match)

Step 5: Nose Cone and Coupling

Using the PDF provided, create the pieces using blocks of steel.

In the PDF there is two separates plans, the upper 2 drawings is the coupling and the bottom 3 is the nose cone.
The nose cone should be produced using a metal lathe.

The bore diameters given are diameters of threaded holes, you must compensate for this if when drilling. 

Step 6: Base, Nozzle and Stand

Cut a base of MDF 345 by 460 by 20 mm. This will be the platform for all other parts to join on to.

Take the bucket and draw a line approximately 40 mm from the open end. Saw through this line so you are left with a tapered band of plastic.
Take another board of MDF. (approx 440 x 400 x 20 mm). On this you want to remove a circle (Do not throw away)). The circle should have a diameter just slightly bigger than the smaller side of the bucket. (so it can be glued inside the circle edge)

Nail this support into the base. On the edge with length 460mm.
Glue the plastic band inside the circle, creating a nozzle.

To stop the stand falling over, Using the removed wood, create a block of  65 x 150 mm. Separate this block into two triangles by cutting a diagonal. nail the triangular supports into the stand and base.

Step 7: Shaft Support

Cut a piece of MDF 60 x 28 x 245 mm thick. This will have the shaft threaded through.

Using a drill, on the 60 x 245 mm face (the 245 is vertical) make a 8 mm hole all the way through. The hole is centered horizontally and is 20 mm from the top edge.

Now centering on this bore, use the drill to make two holes of 6mm depth and 21mm diameter (one hole each side)

These holes are for the bearings, sand out the hole so the bearing will fit into the slot tightly.

(Optional) To provide extra support for this stand. Cut two small triangular blocks of MDF. Using wood glue, attach these triangles to the lower half of one face with bearings.

Using PVA glue, attach the shaft stand and its supports onto the base, they should be centred, bearings and triangular supports facing the nozzle. The back of the stand should be 88 mm from the opposite edge (back) of the base.

Screws should also be put through the bottom of the base into the stand to provide maximum stability

Step 8: Shaft (needs Sizes + Pic)

To make the shaft, cut a piece of metal rod (127 mm long) .  In order to have the shaft at 3 different diameter's (the biggest to go through the nose cone, then the ball bearings and the smallest through the gear), it must be lathed.

All of the dimensions are shown in the image.
The next step is to thread (M8)  the largest diameter 16mm long.
Finally, the shaft can be connected to the blades and nose cone.
The shaft goes through and screws into the centre hole on all of the pieces.

To tighten it, fix all pieces together with M5 bolts into the two offset holes and screw with nuts.

Now the shaft should be fed through the two ball bearings (and the stand). Once through the first (biggest) gear can be attached to the free end of the shaft and tightened using a grub screw.

Step 9: Motor Housing

Cut two perspex blocks 45 x 60 x 140 dimensions, using a band saw.
Cut the remainder of the M8 screw thread into two pieces each of length 290mm

Take one of the blocks and remove a circular section (through the 140  60 face) this is for the motor to sit inside. Again cut slighter smaller and sand for a tight fit.

The next step is to drill two holes on both perspex blocks. They should be on the 140 x 45 face.  They should be 8mm diameter and located 30mm from either 45mm edge. (centered in the other direction) and all the way through.

Step 10: Attaching Perspex Block to Main Board

Drill two other holes into the base MDF located 40 mm from the centre (centre line taken from middle of nozzle and stand) and 22.5 mm from the back of the board in order to fit the threaded rods through.

Put both threaded rods through the holes and attach using super glue. (make sure they are vertical)

Next, put the first perspex block (without the motor hole) onto the threaded rods and secure to the board using double sided tape or alternatively use super glue for a more secure hold.

Put two nuts onto the threaded rod x mm up from the bottom perspex block.

Then put the second perspex block onto the threaded rods, this will sit at the level of the nuts. 

Finally, secure with two more nuts and put the motor through the bigger hole in the second block. This should fit securely

The height of the upper perspex block can be adjusted. This allows (when the motor is inserted) for alignment of gears

Step 11:

Finally attach the smaller gear to the motor, securing with a grub screw.

Move the shaft (with the bigger gear ratio) back onto the smaller gear ratio and adjust height of the perspex block if need be. 

Attach wire connections from the motor to a load.

Lubricate gears and finally test your wind turbine!

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    27 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Hey, nice design! It's a great start, and with some imagination, it could be the basis for some pretty cool things. Yeah, like a few people below have said, there's room for improvement, but ya know what - we're still improving upon many things Mr Edison built almost a hundred years ago.

    I could see this whole thing being mounted on a swivel with a tail, so it's always pointed in the right direction, maybe even a with something akin to a jet engine's casing around it to make it aerodynamic so it'll turn into the wind easier.

    I used to ride BMX, and had friends into freestyle - one of the things we'd have were brake cables that would allow our handle bars to spin 360 degrees without limitation. I can't quite visualize the design any more, but using something similar for the power cables, with this being DC, even just the positive power and use the post itself as negative, might be enough to give the full motion.

    Or even using it as a beacon light, maybe with an on-board battery, solar PV panel, and some LEDs, something like this could be used at the top of high buildings and towers. Or for a Cabin in the Woods Disco :D

    p.s. I know this is over 3 years old, and if the comments below hadn't discouraged you, some of my ideas might have even crossed your mind. I don't even know if you'll get an email alert for this any more. But, maybe you havn't been discouraged, and maybe you will see this. and a little something for the haters: \n!m -_- m!n/

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Hi cignal,

    A corded drill (cheap nowadays), a dimmer switch, some clamps, a small stack of scrap lumber, and a relatively inexpensive set of metal lathe blades is a low-cost lathe replacement. A handheld hacksaw can easily replace a bandsaw, just takes more time and "elbow grease". Taps and dies are a sticky point, but you could start with a threaded rod in this case. Gears are nice but in this level of power you could get away with a rubber band "belt".

    Try not to be so negative, lack of tools is a challenge, not a handicap.

    Often the tools used for the effect are less important than the thinking that went into the effect itself, the constructive steps, the "inside view". This project was done as a school project, with specific criteria and available tools. Many people have places like TechShop or a Hackerspace or even a local community college where these tools are available.

    So, relax, read, do what you can do now, dream what you can do later, contribute ideas and learn for WHEN you DO have a machine shop in your garage.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is going to be the future of electricity for everything in the future.The time to start learning how to build one is now. Someone needs to fiqure out how to get tv without cable.

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    If you've got a computer, and enough bandwidth, you have virtually every bit of access to television. On my way home from Mount Laurel, NJ, I watched a few episodes of some shows I missed during the week on a Greyhound bus. Now, the connection dropped a few times, but I was on a Greyhound bus, after all. Here in the comfy confines of my own home, I can work through my morning constitution while catching up on the night's news, and taking a peek at the weather.

    I don't mean to be snide. Well, I guess I do, but all in good fun.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Interesting project. Well done description on how to build the small wind turbine.
    I wonder if your turbine would be more efficient if you used square tips on the blades and had them just inside the nozzle with just the minimum clearance necessary to allow them to spin free. Next step would be to streamline the supports.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    is it just for bend-ability, or does this add spin?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    a bit of both! from testing, our cut blades performed better than those without

    I have a question. I am a huge advocate for micro power generation. It all adds up, ya know?
    Anyway, why can't something like this be installed in forced air heating/ac systems to help offset the energy required? I know the system itself couldn't use it, but a powering station for electronic handhelds would be a great place for the energy to be put to use.

    Any answers?

    2 replies

    Because it would not "offset the energy". It would be a load on the heating/aircon system, and in order to get the same amount of airflow, you'd need to up the fan speed or size, this would take more power. At best you would break even. This is not to say that it wouldn't make sense in some situations, but it wouldn't be efficient.

    Using it for the exhausted air from heating/ac systems was actually one of our market ideas. We eventually settled upon something different, but that was a contender. We unfortunately have no expertise in that particular area, but if it could be done, Then as you said it all adds up

    uncle frogy

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I must be dense or I am missing something. I see no "generator" in this project I see just an armature with a three bladed "propeller" attached.
    What am I missing?
    uncle frogy

    1 reply
    zamiller1uncle frogy

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    For the project we we're given a motor, the motor is sitting inside the perspex block. It was re-used to generate power


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I must be seriously stuck on stupid today - I just don't get the point of the cone thing in front...

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    This turbine wasn't tested in an open air environment but in a small, restricted wind tunnel, the nozzle was to pick up the speed of the air a small portion and to try to reduce the turbulence of flow as it fitted the tunnel dimensions exactly.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Hey, that is a nice piece of economic!I It looks nice and with your permission i am going to make one.Take care and welldone!!!!!