Vacuum Formed Windmill



Introduction: Vacuum Formed Windmill

About: A mechanical engineer, instructor at Thaddeus Stevens College, and lifelong maker. Thanks Dad! A founding member of make717. Check them out at

This process was inspired by an Instructuble for a vacuum former:

Please follow the above instructable to create the vacuum former. And do some practice forms of random items!

This process will be used at The Lancaster Science Factory in the STEM series. March is for "E", Engineering.

Parts/tools Required:

  • all parts listed in Very Simple Vacumformer Instructable
  • hot glue gun
  • scissors

Materials Required:

  • modelling clay
  • plastic plates (or recycled milk containers)
  • hot glue sticks
  • 4 white K'nex rods
  • 1 white K'nex connector
  • 3d printed motor shaft adapter
  • small DC motor (I recovered one from a K'nex motor drive)

Step 1: Create Mold

I spent about an hour researching windmill blade design before I created this shape. Apparently, the ideal blade is close to this with a 90 degree twist in the transition from the larger to small part.

The point of this Instructable is to learn by trying and measuring the output, trying different shapes, angle of blades, number of blades, etc.

Children need to learn to experiment more...this is a project that hopes to spark that.

Step 2: Molding Blades

I added a perforated plate that was my first vacuum former to the original ekpuz authored instructable. I noticed a comment that suggested adding magnets. I might have to try that later.

Step 3: Assemble Blades

The hot glue gun is probably the most treacherous part of this careful hot glue guns produce hot glue... ;-)

Step 4: Final Assembly

You will notice in the video that I had a 3 blade system. But the white K'nex part is symmetrical with 4 blades.

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