How To- Wind Turbine Made From Scrap Metal...




About: a maker, creator, tinker and wiz ... i like to get my hands dirty skills included - Welding - Metal work - Woodworking - Electronics (construction and my favourite 'deconstructing') - Spent childhood t...

This is my first Instructable so bare with me.

This following Instructable is for A Wind Turbine that i Designed and Made out of Salvaged and Recycled Materials

Because of the nature of the materials,everybody building them this way will all be different,
don't let how i made this turbine affect how you make yours. build it with what you got.

Wind turbines are not only Great to make but if made right can be good source of electricity.

The way i will be using this Electricity is this.
The Turbine will produce a current that will be all over the place and that i will run through a 'Regulator"
to Convert it into a usable and steady 12v, this will charge a bank of batteries.
from this i will use an inverter to convert that battery power into a usable voltage (240v). from there its pretty straight forward. (lights. etc)

This is a simple wind turbine Design that i built in less than 1 day.
This is what it is made up of

MATERIALS(I cant really give any specific lenghs and sizes because... everybody is going to be different ... Its all Relative)

Blades (salvaged From an AIRCON)
Iron Rod (for extending wings)
DC Motor (salvaged From Treadmil)
Swivel Deck (i got it from a salvage yard. i think it it a wheel mount for a ride-on lawnmower)
Mast (Steel Pipe) (Pre-Loved ...of course)
Steel RHS (Motor Will be mounted onto this ... this will also be welded to the swivel deck
Directional 'WING' (sign writing material board) (aluminum Plastic Composite Panel)
BOLTS ( for mounting Motor to RHS)(and mounting 'wing to the mounting Angle)
Angle iron (for mounting Directional Wing)
Power Cable
Galvanising Spray paint

(ill keep this instructable just about the turbine for now so at this point i wont include all the batteries and
instruments like the inverter or the voltage regulator)

I should also mention This Turbine Project Costed Me 'Little to Nothing'


I used Basic Tools In building this Wind Turbine

Grinder (cutting disks and polishing/sanding disks)
Shifting Spanner (wrench)
Cable Ties
Spit and grit and a Whole lot of Duct tape
Portable Welder
Multi-Meter (Electronics testing meter)
Drill Gun
Drill Bits
Hammers (for hitting)
Tape Measure (For Measuring)
(basic tools needed for dismantling all material holding items)

This Has Been My Entry into the Instructable 'Green Living & Technology Challenge'
So once you have rated this instructable don't forget to VOTE

This Wind Turbine is Not only Effective in Producing Electricity it has been made at LOW (if Any) cost

Stay tuned for Power Output Readings


So i ended up not getting a tool for measuring how fast the wind was going, but on an average day is.
between 15-18 Volts and and up to 28-32 volts on a more windy day. ranges between 400 and 750W depending on the wind....

Being that it is relatively low. i feel this is a good effort for the height, but will start to build a bigger pole to put it on, Probably 25-30 feet or around 10 metres which gets it in the sweet spot.
where i work and the building surrounding creates a kind of wind tunnel that is perfect, i just need to put it high in the sky and watch it fly...

Step 1: Blade

i cut blades from an aircon.. i then welded them to a piece of steel rod which then welded to the center washer setup. 

Step 2: DC Motor

Thls Motor is from a treadmill Workout machine that was Destined for Scrap metal

When this Motor Spins it easily Produces power and with a Regulator ill just keep it at 12volts..

Step 3: Joining Motor to BIade Lt Is Simple As Just Welding the Two PiecesSetup

lts simple as Just welding the 2 together

Step 4: Join Motor to Swivel Deck.


Step 5: Mount Wing

Mount wing.(use Bolts)

Step 6: Extend Pipe Mast

Extend Pipe Mast by Welding more Pipe to the end of the short Piece.

Step 7: Mountingl Welded the Mast

i welded the mast straight to a sea container roof structure.

Step 8: Conclusions

this project took Me less than a day to make. I think any Body can Build these things And the only thing limiting Design is your imagination.

 this has Been My entry into the 'green projects,' Competition.

I should also mention that I didn't pay for a Single thing. I salvaged it ALL!

Green Living & Technology Challenge

Second Prize in the
Green Living & Technology Challenge



    • Classroom Science Contest

      Classroom Science Contest
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge

    98 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Well done Push. Impressive..most impressive... :)


    Question 7 months ago on Step 8

    Fascinating. Thank you.
    Can you please tell more about the regulator, and how you converted this energy for use? Or is there another post for that somewhere?


    1 year ago

    good my neighbors said that it looked great in my back yard


    3 years ago

    Only just found this project and I think it is great. You mentioned a regulator, do you have any brands/models you could name as I'd like to build something similar to trickle charge a caravan 12v leisure battery. Thank you.


    3 years ago

    Thanks for the simplel, uncomplicated approach. In my 6 decades i've observed that the more technology gets thrown at stuff, the more inclined things seem toward breaking down. Then - you need to hire a specialized expert or replace specialized equipment at greatly excessive cost.
    Keeping it simple makes repair, replacement, or improvements so much easier.

    And how do you beat that free part?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    That 's a KISS (keep it simple stupid) project and i like it also, cool for distant islands.

    Thanx for sharing it


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Could the same thing be done with a car alternator?

    What do you use the turbine to power?

    Thanks for sharing :-)

    10 replies

    i find that 'permanent Magnet DC Motors' (like the one i have) work better.
    ive tried and failed with the car alternator (unless you find a super efficient alternator)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Generators and alternators have similar efficiency when driven off a power source that can always turn them above a minimum RPM (eg. car engine). I think the problem is that the blades here are too small to turn an alternator directly, perhaps running the power through a gearbox would help, or maybe there is just too little power to do this, as an alternator uses a steady amount of power for it's magnetic field. One thing to note is that an alternator does require power to make power, it relies on electromagnetism to generate power, as there are no permanent magnets inside. If you turn an alternator and it doesn't have power at the field terminal, it will create NO power, no matter how fast it is turned.

    I suspect that if you were to run a bit more voltage to the field terminal (if it's a separate terminal, some are linked to the output terminal internally) the efficiency would be greater. This would require extra parts and a bit more know-how to build a DC/DC voltage converter, or lose some efficiency running an AC/DC transformer/rectifier. Just a thought, and it may be incorrect too.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Alternators are very efficient and can produce a hell of a lot of power if setup right. To get it up to speed, you can use gears, belts, etc.

    All you need is a little 9v lamp or so such as the indicator lamp to show the alternators getting power when you turn your ignition in your car - connect that to the positive terminal on the alternator, and the output to a battery you want to charge, then connect the case of the alternator to ground (battery negative terminal). When spun to a certain speed (not very fast) you'll see the lamp go out which indicates that the alternator is powering itself and doesn't need a power source to excite it's magnetic field on the rotor any more.

    I thought of an idea where if you have a resistor in series with a relay, so that lets say, if the battery voltage drops below 12v, it'll turn off the relay since it cant get enough power, so then the alternator will charge the battery back up. This is just a suggestion.

    And yes, with an alternator you still need a battery to make it self-excite, but at least it generates a hell of a lot more power than what you put into it.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Power (12v DC) to energise the Alternator comes from the auto ignition switch, from there to the ALT light on the instrument cluster, then to the FLD terminal on the alternator. If the bulb in the ALT light burns out, then there is no power to the field terminal and the Alternator won't work. After the alternator starts turning and starts producing power it is self energised by the internal voltage regulator, and the light on the instrument cluster goes out. To learn this cost me a bit of money. Replaced the alternator because of a burned out bulb.
    I have not measured the voltage or current after the bulb reduced them by acting as a resistor. Can't be much though. Most electronic devices such as the internal voltage regulator, operate on 5 volts DC.
    A 6 volt lantern battery and a push button (momentary on) switch will energise the alternator field. If the wind stops, the field will need to be re-energised again. Maybe some reader can come up with an automatic solution.
    I saw on another site where the fellow had made large blades for his "windmill" generator from 4 inch PVC thin wall pipe. He charged his auto batteries from the wind on a high Arizona Desert. I don't have the computer skills to add his website address.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm an automotive technician and have never seen the setup you describe. I'm curious what year/make/model the vehicle is. Typically the bulb and/or fuse can be removed and the alternator will continue to charge. The bulb in my truck has been burnt out for years and it charges fine.

    The field terminal requires at least a few amps (10-15 amp fuse is typical, although I have never actually measured the amperage, so lets say 5-8 amps) to generate any appreciable magnetic field, which simply cannot flow through an in-dash bulb, typically a 194 style or similar bulb, which use only about .25 amp when lit at full brightness.

    The charge indicator lamp has key-on power, and the "ground" is connected to the alternator. When the alternator is charging, there is battery voltage to both sides of the bulb, and therefore no current flows. If the alternator stops charging, the voltage regulator grounds the bulb, illuminating it. On some newer vehicles the light may be controlled entirely by a module that senses the actual battery voltage, and have no direct connection to the alternator.

    I would be extremely hesitant to connect 6 volts to any electronic device that was designed to run on 5 volts. Even a very small over-voltage condition can take out electronic devices. In cars, 5v means 5.0v , 12v usually means anywhere from 9v to 16v (I have seen a defective voltage regulator charge at 21v (yes, twenty one) on a 12v system and no electronics were harmed, although the battery was boiled just about dry and the case was bulged out). All electronic modules have internal voltage regulators that usually turn the system voltage into 5v, although I have seen some Chrysler vehicles that use 8v computers. Another thing to note is that on the vehicles that have 5v input to the alternator, it is almost always a pulse-width modulated signal that tells the alternator what duty cycle to run the field at. I don't think most are designed to run at 100% duty cycle, 90% is the highest I have seen. I would be curious to know what vehicle supplies 5v to run the voltage regulator as well. in my experience, the voltage regulator receives switched 12v (from the ignition switch or the BCM/PCM, etc.) which is internally regulated down to the 5v it runs on.

    As far as an automatic version of your idea, it isn't hard to do. All you need is:

    -A second, very small rechargeable battery - a few amp-hours should be enough (for simplicities sake, lets say the same voltage as the main battery(ies)). This battery would be isolated from the main battery using a diode, unless the designer of the circuit opted to add over-discharge protection to the main battery, which would make the second battery and diode unnecessary. I personally prefer to have the option to run the battery completely dead, should the need arise.

    -A microcontroller IC, such as the Atmel Atmega 168 or 328 (used in Arduinos), BASIC stamps, PICs... whichever one you want to use.

    -various electronic components (resistors/capacitors/transistors/voltage regulator, etc.)

    -very small DC generator (we only need voltage, there is almost no amperage required here)

    -wires/perf. board/other hook-up stuff

    The generator would be mechanically connected to the same turbine as the alternator.

    The circuit would consist of the small DC generator being connected to ground and one of the analog inputs on the microcontroller, a resistor connected in series with the generator, and a zener diode (like a pressure relief valve) to ground between the resistor and the microcontroller, in the event that it generated more than 5v. A transistor (like a digitally controlled switch, or a relay with VERY low current on the control side) would be connected to one of the output pins, which would go to the field coil. The program for the microcontroller would basically be this: (pseudo-code)

    if (analog input 1 is greater than X*)
    then turn on output 1

    * X would be the value that you calculate the generator must make in order for it to be worth turning on the field coil

    Basically, all that program is saying is "if the generator makes more than X volts, turn on the field coil." The voltage on the generator is proportional to the RPM, so with a bit of experimenting and some precise measurement devices, we could make the field coil come on only if we'll be generating enough power to run the field coil AND charge the battery.

    Hopefully I'll be moving somewhere that I'm allowed to construct a wind turbine fairly soon. When/if I do, I'll be making the controller I just described (and experiment with using alternators instead of generators) and I'll make an instructable detailing the project. Another good thing about the microcontroller is that we can also turn off the field coil if the battery voltage becomes too high, all we would need is one more wire, two resistors to divide the voltage to something that doesn't take out the analog to digital converter in the IC, and a bit more code (no pun intended... is that really a pun? I laughed proofreading is, so I'm saying it is!). We could even modify the circuit/code to use the small generator to help charge the battery. Or we could vary the pulse width modulation on a compatible alternator so the alternator doesn't stop the turbine from spinning in low wind conditions. Everything needed for the controller should cost less than $15 (rough guess). Pretty cool things, electronics :)

    Also, I did a quick Google search for "PVC pipe turbine", and found this, I think it's the page you were referring to.


    the problem wiht a car alternator is that most dont have in a permanent magnet, you would have to desassemble, take the coil off the rotor and then replace that with a permanent magnet from a speaker or something


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Just seen the second reply from jriley-4. Thanks for all the details, there's lots to learn about.


    This claim " ... 400 and 750W ..." if true would "break the laws of Physics".

    How much else does I know not.
    At 10 m/s or about 20 kph a square metre of swept area at 100% efficincy give 600 Watts. This unity would be VERY lucky to give 20% = 120W at 1 m^2. I'd est area at about 0.5m^2 = 60W at 10 m/s.
    To get to 400W increase is 400/60 = factor of ~= 6.5. Power rises as V^3 so V is ~+ 1.9 x as high (actually 1.8 m/s calc ) or about 66 kph or 42 mph. That's i an extremely high wind. Lethally high in this case.
    It may spin and it may make power and it's fun, but nowhere near as 'powerful' as claimed.