Paper Coffee Cup Wind Turbine




About: One day I shall own a Delorean.

ok so when submitting my water pump instructable i saw the competion for paper coffee cups, this gave me some ideas but the closing date is the 9th, today is the 9th (at 2.26am) so i dont have time to get hold of a bunch of paper coffee cups and i dont think it would be in the spirt of the thing just to get a load and waste them. so i have done some diagrams to demostrate my idea.

when i was in school back when i was 16 years old i was asked to design a wind mill for charging batterys, it was a spectacular failure, since then i have thought how it could be done much better. this challenge has bought me back to that idea.

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Step 1: You Will Need

you will need

a bunch of paper coffee cups

a 26 inche steel bicycle wheel

some sheet steel

a steel rod

a large steel washer that will fit over the rod

and an alternator

you will also need some cutting tools and also a welder, a hot glue gun, and time

Step 2: Make the Housing

to make the housing refer to the picture, you will need to cut out the shapes in the template, the solit black lines are cut lines. you will need to drill the holes to match up with your steel rod, they should be slightly larger so the rod fits in well.

you then need to fold where the dotted lines are, in part A you need to fold sections 1 together so they are at right angles to the base.

then folder section 2 upright, it should it in the middle of the housing.

in section C sections 1 and 3 should remain flat with section 2 at right angle to both of them.

part C should now be the same length as part B, weld section 1 of part C to the square section of part B

now weld part B to the bottom of part A, the whole of the square section should be welded to part A with the top edge inline with the top of Part A so that the holes are in line, these will house the rods vertical and horizontal to each other.

Step 3: Adding the Drive Shaft to the Generator

Weld a long rod to the generator (part A)

then slide the washer (part B) down the rod and weld it a fair bit away from the generator this will stop the housing sliding down.

once this is welded in place, slide the housing over the rod

Step 4: Prep and Attach the Wheel

we now need to prepare the bike wheel by taking the spindel out and replacing it with a slightly long rod and welding to the wheel so it doesnt spin independantly.

now slid the rod in the housing, put a angled cog (45 degrees) on the side the generator is attached.

and a nut on the other end to stop it slipping out the housing.

another angled cog (45 degrees) should then be attached to the generator drive shaft.

Step 5: Add the Cups and Mount the Turbine

No you need to add cups at a slight angle to catch the wind so it pushes the wheel round.

hot glue these on to the wheel and also to the cups on either side of each cup.

the fin on the back of the housing will turn the wheel so it always faces the wind. the wind is caught in the cups and turns the wheel which turns the cogs and turns the alternater and generates electricity :-) the wheel will spin around without getting in the way of the generator regardless of which direction its facing.

once this is set you can mount your turbine, it would be best to mount this on a pole, run the cables off to a battery, car battery or leisure battery and use it to run your projects or charge your phone.

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    11 Discussions


    5 years ago

    if you used a rear wheel you wouldn't need to modify the axel you could take the drive straight off the sprocket a fixed wheel for a track bike would be best but a free wheel mechanism drives one way

    pratod roy

    8 years ago on Introduction

    hey i am not getting this whole thing printed should i do that???


    9 years ago on Introduction

    The advantage of this configuration on a VAWT is that here you can put a windscreen on top. Well, now I realize that if one adds to the VAWT a tail with a windscreen, obtains the same result. It will Improve the performance, to avoid the wind affecting the "bad side" of the turbine. Pardon my English, say me if you don't understand.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    A windscreen is a screen or courtain that intercepts or redirects the wind. If you avoid the wind on the upper part of your turbine, it will functions more efficiently. You can redirect the upper wind toward the lower part, it will be better.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    ok just so everyones aware i was basing this windmill on the same design as in the pic below, there could be improvements agreeded such as water proofing, which if you think about it you dont have to do too much as a car alternator does get wet even if it is under your bonnet.

    anyway, as i said this is basically a mod of the idea in my head, which is what is pictured below, using coffee cups to fit the comp


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Whilst I am fairly sure that this would work, I am also sure that it could work better.

    Why not make it VAWT?  Do away with the fin and simply fix the wheel of cups directly to the alternator?  No losses from friction at the gears, no worries about wind direction.

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    i realised that today your right, but it was 5am when i did this so i was lagging a bit and prehaps not thinking as straight as i could have been, this one does look cool though


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    It does look cool.

    In my head, I see it at the top of a tall, skeletal tower, like those windmills used in the mid-west to raise water for the fields.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    yeah i totally get what your saying and it would be a hell of a lot easier , oh well it was just a thoery at least i didnt waste time making it to find it out lol