This instructable will demonstrate how to build a power generating wind turbine. My inspiration came from seeing other wind turbine instructions online. I hope to simplify the process with clear, easy to follow instructions.
Step 1: Parts & Tools
Battery – – – $58
Battery Box – – – $8
Battery Connectors – – – $2.25
500 Watt Inverter – – – $45
Generator – upcycled treadmill motor – – – $0
Tail – scrap metal – – – $0
6” PVC pipe 10′ length – – – $30
Bolts & Screws – – – $5
1” Iron pipe 60” length – – – $14
Pipe Nipple – – – $2.50
Pipe Flanges – – – $8
Pipe Swivel Connector – – – $3.50
16 Gauge Wire (already owned) – – – $0
Black spray paint (already owned) – – – $0
Total – – – $176.25
Drill & drill bits
Various screw drivers
2 pairs of Channel Locks
Measuring tools (I used a tape measure and a caliper)
Step 2: Motor
The most important part of this project is the electric motor. Luckily, I had a nonworking treadmill in my garage just waiting to be scrapped out.
DC motors, when turned, will generate current. Be sure the motor you plan to use is DC powered, and it’s helpful if it has a flywheel attached.
Step 3: Blades
Another vital part is the blades. I cut mine from 6 inch PVC pipe with a jig saw and table saw.
Cut a 2 ft length of pipe, split it in thirds, and then cut the shape from each third. The jigsaw was used to rough cut the shape, and the table saw to straighten them. My cuts were less than perfect, so I had to sand them down for even weight and size.
Step 4: Backbone
There will need to be a backbone to connect the motor to the tail and the stand. Mine already had a section of square iron attached.
At this time, add the tail and find the balancing point. The balancing point will be where it attaches to the stand.
Drill, tap, and install the pipe flange.
Step 5: Flywheel
To prepare the flywheel to accept the blades, you will need to drill and tap holes in 3 spots. I used 1/4″-20 thread machine screw for my blades.
Drill and tap the first, measure 120 degrees around, and repeat. You should now have 3 holes evenly spaced across the flywheel.
Drill 2 holes in each blade.
Screw the blades into the 3 holes you just drilled and tapped on the flywheel.
You should currently have the blades screwed on with only one screw, so that they can pivot. Measure the distance between the tips of each blade. Once they are all even, mark your 3 additional holes on the flywheel, making your marks through the second hole you drilled in each blade. Drill and tap at each mark, and screw your blades on with an additional screw.
Step 6: Assemble
Paint the parts. Assemble everything together and take it for a test drive. I wanted all the bugs worked out before it was in the air, so I strapped it onto a trailer and took it for a whirl.
For the turbine to be most effective, the blades and flywheel should all be in balance. To be sure it’s well balanced, spin the blades several times, marking whichever side ends up on bottom. The marks should all be spread around randomly. If they are all in one spot, you need to lighten that side by sanding or drilling away some material.
Step 7: Wiring
The test drive and balance tests were a success, so it was time to wire everything together.
The negative wire from the inverter and from the turbine both connect directly to the negative battery terminal. The positive from the inverter connects to the battery with a fuse in line. Connect the positive wire from the wind turbine through a diode and a fuse.
The turbine can be mounted on a portable stand (as pictured) and held with guy lines, or mounted to a permanent structure. I plan to permanently install mine on a marker post at the corner of the property.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions please post them below, I will be glad to answer them.
Don’t forget to vote for this instructable in the Remix contest.