To begin with , i always liked to see windmills and stuff that works with the wind and so i tried to make something on my own . In the begining I just made a small wind turbine with no other purpose but to spin freely . Then I thought why not making something that can use the wind energy and convert it to electricity , so I ended up making a wind powered generator ....
After some research on the internet i found a lot of ideas to start and since it was summer i had plenty of time to spend on it .
Step 1: The Tools and the Pieces Your Are Going to Need
THE TOOLS : well basicly you are going to need a lot of tools and propably as you go on will find out that they are not enough .
- a saw
- a mechanical saw
- a drill
- various drill bits
- a fretsaw
- sand paper
- a file
. . .
THE PIECES: you can change most of them to suit your needs (not paintjob or inner frame material here)
- a pvc pipe (10 atmospheres will work best ) the diameter of the pipe depends on the diameter of the rotor and blades and also the number of the blades .
- a smaller pipe for the tail that make the wind generator face the wind
- fitings to reduce the the diameter of the main pipe to the tail pipe
- plexiglass for the tail
- a circullar disk from a durable material for the rotor
- screws and bolts
- metal and elastic washers
- a very durable screw for the base yaw mechanism
- a small metal wheel with a punched bearing inside
>These are the basic tools and materials and tools you are going to need ( and lots of patience... )
Step 2: Making the Blades
To begin find a place where you can hold tightly the pipe or you are going to have a hard time cutting it .
1) cut the pipe to the lengh of the blade you have choosen ( i made the 80 cm )
2) make a mark on one end and count from that 80 degrees and make another mark .That is the blade width
3) each time you cut one i recommend then mark the other because this way you have less chances making uneven blades .
4) after finish cutting the basic shape then you must make them aerodynamic
5) drill the screw holes as closer to the corner taking in mind that the place you have to put them must be durable
6) sand every corner and every rougth place
7) try to make the blades as even as you can
8) put them on the rotor to admire them and be proud of them :)
Step 3: The Rotor Where the Blades Are Held
To make the rotor you have to be a little creative since it is not so easy to find durable circullar disks ( it really was difficut for me )
1) find the center of the disk and make a mark ( if the disk doesn't have one some geometry would be helpful )
2) then count 120 degrees from a random point and make a mark , from the new mark repeat the same process. ( this is for 3 blades if you put more you use this => 360 / nub. of bla. = how many degrees away is one mark from the other )
3) make a line from the center crossing each mark you've made till the edge of the disk
4) from the center calculate the distance of the blade holes and make 2 marks of them
5) then calculate the distance between the 2 holes ( if you used a design with more holes the procedure remains the same)
6) drill hole of the the exact diameter of the screws that you're using . ( if the holes are a little narrower use a file )
7) when you finish check if everything matches
Since the rotor i used was of low quality plastic i sandwiched it between 2 pieces of wood and secured them with 9 screws .
Another problem i had was that i made the blades and rotor in a way that i have to put the rotor first on the axle and then the blades rather putting it as a hole .
Step 4: Making the Inner Frame ( Tools and Pieces )
THE TOOLS : the basic tools can be found in a plumber hardware store :
- a blowtorch
- borax flux ( to keep the pipe clean )
- pliers ( to position the pieces or put them in the water to cool down )
- a pipe cutter or a fretsaw
THE PIECES : the frame is made out of copper because i didn't have enough tools to use other material .
- 4x 90 dgr angles
- 4x T connections
- 2x coupling sleeves ( for the rotor axle )
- a sheet of copper for the base
- a bigger pipe to make a housing for the generator
- a pipe for the other connections ( and more uses )
## THIS FRAME IS OPTIONAL ##
Since i didn't have quite right the materials i needed, i had to come up with this plan .IF you have a durable and steady generator you can connect it directy to the rotor .
With this set up the power convertion i get from wind energy to electricity is is about a mere 7 - 10 % so in a short trem i will update the built with a decent generator and another frame set up .
Step 5: The Built of the Frame
To begin and have an easy time soldering the pieces it would be benefitial to do that in a well ventulated area , also some fire-bricks and a bucket of water would help .
1) Choose the lenght of you pipes an cut them as more percice as you can
2) Order the the cut pieces and prepare them for solder
3) Start by soldering the front pieces ( keep in mind to have the hub for the axle on the right angle )
3,5) Before soldering the pipes always put flux to have the metal clean or else the solder won't be strong enough
4) Be aware of the order you have on the connections or you may solder something that later you will have to unsolder
5) When you solder the second hub it is a good idea to put the axle across them to have them inline
6) Check all the solder cause' you need them durable
7) For the motor housing be careful when posisioning
8) Drill 3 holes and thread them in order to put screws to hold the generator in place
9) drill a hole to connect the main body to the vertical pivot point
Always put flux between the connections so the solder will atach .
Step 6: Finishing the Frame
After finishing the previous steps it is time to start working on the axle .
1) position the generator in its housing and secure it
2) Solder the end screw cap that conncets the main body with the rotor
3) Cut the pipe so that when you place it to its position the generator axle and rotor axle will have a 4 mm gap
4) Make a hole on the edge of the generator and rotor axle
5) Drill 2 holes on the hub keeping in mind the 4 mm gap
6) Connect the 2 axles and secure them with secure pins
Step 7: The Yaw Mechanism
This how the wind generator is connected to the pole and has the ability to turn to face the wind . This mechanism needs to be durable .
To make it i needed a heavy duty bearing and the easiest way for me to get one was in a heavy duty garage door rail wheel .
For the connetion with the pole i notised that my pole had screw threads on one corner so i buyed a female threaded hub and attached it to the wheel .
Step 8: The Housing of the Frame
When i made this genrator because of limited budget i had to use the remaining pipe as a housing for the frame . You can use any diameter of pipe that you want but be aware that they shouldn't be bigger from the rotor .
1) Cut the pipe to the desired lengh ( keep in mind to have it balanced and leave some space for the tail reducer parts )
2) Put the frame inside and drill a hole for the base screw
3) Take the frame of and start gluing the reducer parts
4) Start drilling holes as in the picture #1#
5) Ckeck that everything fits fine
Step 9: Making the Tail
The tails function is to face the wind generator always towards to the wind , it was for me the most time consuming design cause' i wanted it to look cool .
1) Design a aerodynamic( better ) or not(poor) shape on a plexiglass sheet ( this is were you get to show the artist inside you : ) )
2) Cut that spape
3) Take the smaller pipe and cut it where you feel the generator balanced
4) Cut the pipe as shown to the picture
5) drill holes to connect the pieces
6) screw them together
7) Ckeck that everything fits fine
Step 10: First Assembly
Ok now that all the parts are finished now is the time to put them together . If everything works fine then it is time to move on to the paintjob .
The first time you put everithing together check for anykind of fail
A good way to do this is first by looking on the parts then listening for craking sounds
Also ask a friend to hold the generator so you can see it spining .
Step 11: Paintjob ( Tools and Pieces )
THE TOOLS : The tools you are going to need
- a brush
- a fine brush
THE PIECES : I meen the paints : ) ( well for the color you can choose whatever you want but i reccoment to use white because it doesn't warms up with the sun )
- prmer paint for PVC pipe
- another color of paint for decorationion
Step 12: Strarting With the Primar
First it a goog thing to go and paint outside cause the paint doesn't smell well or is good for health. Also use somekind of protection so you won't spil paint everywhere.( it is good to have prepared some hooks to hang the pieces immediately after painting).
1) Take the primar open it and start mixing it so it will be even
2) Start painting the pieces one by one ( you want an even distributed paint for the best results )
3) Hang the painted pieces to a place where the sun and air can hit them ( i leave in Greece and believe me i have plenty of those : ) )
4) Wait for the paint to dry
THE SECOND HAND : basicly repeat the prievious process but keep im mind to give more aτtention to the finish of the paint . For each layer leave it for one day to dry .
Step 13: Decoration Paint
Ok i don't think there is anything particular to mention here exept, if you are going to place the generator to a place where it is shown to public then don't overdo it with extreme designs because it may look cool but not everyone thinks that way .
( if you want to do just stripes as i did then use tape to limit the paint . )
Leave the pieces about 6 to 7 hours depending on the weather ( just feel the paint if it is solid enough ) then remove the tape and leave it even more time to dry .
Step 14: Second Assembly
Ok after finishing all the paintjob it is a good thing to put together all the pieces to see if they fit right and eliminate any miscalculations .
When re-assemble the generator keep in mind not to damage the paint also remember that part that were fit together tightly now with the paint the might need some work to fit correctly.
Don't forget to put elastic washers to the screws that go on the blade and on the base because they will protect the paint and prevent strain on the blades and rotor .
It is a good idea to hold (if possiple) the generator in front of the wind with a voltemeter too check it's performance .
Check also that the rotor is spining without any flaws because that would destroy all the built .
# After finishing with all the ckecks you are ready to start building the base and the cable anti-twist mechanism and the electronics.
Step 15: The Base
For the base there is not particular plan . Design something that will fit your needs.
Useful tips :
- Find a steady and strong place to put the generator . ( concrete works best )
- The taller the best ( well i don''t meen to make a skyscrapper but the taller the generator is the more faster air it can receive )
- Try to put it somewhere without any obstcles
- Put it close to your house so you can do its maintenance and have an eye on it
-leave space around the generator to put somekind of secure wires ( not necessary ) put it would reduce a lot of vibrations .
For my setup i was lucky because i have a sturdy wall to work on .So i used 3 holders screwed into the wall .
Another feature of these holders was that they had elastic in their inner part making them good for absorbing vibrations.
Step 16: Cable Anti-twist Mechanism
So if you put the cable to connect the generator and it starts spining for a long time to the same direction it will snap eventually . To prevent that you need a mechanism for this purpose .
There are many mechanisms on the internet so find that suits you best .
I had to use a mechanism that was outside of the generator cause' the bearing was to small.
# the mechanism i use is similar to the way that the brushes of a motor work #
Step 17: SAFETY
Safety is a very important part exept from functionality . As i was searching the internet i found a very reliable looking machines to warn that the generator vribrates too much .
Also must be taken into consideration that the faster the wind the better is not such a good moto so putting somekind of braking system is not such a bad idea .
Another good idea is to make a base in a way that is easy to lower the generator
Finally remember that the better you maintain the generator the more lifetime it will have and less chances of making an accident .
THE PICTURE -> when the turbine start vribrates the ball will fall off and trigger an alarm by cutting the current of electrecity .
Step 18: Usefull Links
Here are some sites that can provide you with plenty of information and give you a ton of ideas to work with .
> this site can provide you with a lot of knolwege about the wind industry and all the physics behind the wind generators . you can also find some very helpful calculators.
>in this site you can ask everything about the physics in wind generators
> The PDF can provide you with some usefull info about the blade design
For additional info just post a comment : )