home-built wind turbine

On my list somewhere other than the immediate future is building my own wind-powered generator.  It is on the same page of my ToDo List with a stationary-bicycle powered generator.  Meanwhile, the guys over at Instructables have published one that serves as a reminder these things don’t have to be expensive or difficult to pull off.

Picture of Simple Backyard Wind Turbine
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Want to generate your own power? Want to do it easily? Tired of “how to” wind turbine searches that end up not showing you how to actually build one? We are!!!

Here is a simple wind turbine that generates over 12 volts. Most of the parts can be bought at a local home improvement store and the other parts are easy to come by or made.

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
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Materials

Motor – Taken out of an old VCR player, old printer, old scanner, or bought on e-bay. We have found good ones from each place.

PVC Cutter – Use to cut 5′ 3/4 and 5′ 1″ PVC pipe down to size

3/4″ PVC Pipe – 1′ long or cut to your desired size

3/4″ PVC Pipe – 3″ long or cut to your desired size

1″ PVC Pipe – 1′ long or cut to your desired size

1″ to 3/4″ PVC Pipe Fitting Reducing Tee

3/4″ PVC Pipe Union

Plastic – We used an old CD case

Stand – We used a flange

Wire – We are using 22AWG

Wire Stripper

Make or Buy

Blades

We bought some quick propeller blades from Amazon – Link

There are amazing ideas all over that will be better, just look around.

Our best ones we made ourselves but blew away in a storm. We used a pop bottle lid and a McDonalds large drink cup. Cut it, bend it, glued it and sprayed it.

Step 2: Prepare the Pieces

Cut all the PVC pipe to size.

Remove o-ring from union. The o-ring will prevent the union from swiveling easily.

Wrap the motor in electrical tape till it fits snugly into the 1″ to 3/4″ PVC pipe fitting reducing tee.

Cut and strip both ends of the wire. Make sure you have plenty of extra wire as it does get wrapped up. Not to worry as it unwraps too.

Split CD case and snap off any pieces sticking out. You could use just about anything flat and thin.

Cut along one side of the 1″ x 1′ PVC pipe to make a spot for the CD case. We asked Fat Cat for help with this. He used a miter saw, but a hacksaw would work and is less dangerous. Maybe the PVC cutter would work too?

Step 3: Wiring

Solder the wire to your motor. We soldered and marked the positive motor as negative and negative motor as positive. We did this because we will be getting the energy from the motor and not giving to the motor. The way your blades turn may affect your output differently.

Once soldered, “fish” your wire through the tee, the short 3/4″ x 3″ PVC pipe, the union, and the 3/4″ x 1′ PVC pipe.

Drill a small hole through the 3/4″ x 1′ PVC pipe and fish the wire through that. We used an LED holder over the hole to make it a bit nicer.

Connect all pieces together.

Do Not tighten the union all the way down. It will not allow the turbine to swivel.

Set into flange.

Step 4: Tail Fin

Picture of Tail Fin
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Connect the CD case to the 1″ x 1′ pipe. Slide into the cut slat.

Connect the 1″ x 1′ PVC pipe to the 1″ to 3/4″ PVC Pipe fitting reducing tee.

Step 5: Test and Glue

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Test everything and glue together.

Do Not tighten the union all the way down and glue. It will not allow the turbine to swivel.

Step 6: Video

First time trying to get a video to work. Always learning lol

Step 7: Options / Ideas

Picture of Options / Ideas
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The first picture shows a tee with all sides the same width.

In the second and third pictures we added the clear side of the CD case to this mini motor wind turbine and a small solar panel. The motor was to weak to do much but the solar panel collected plenty of light and stored energy in our batteries.

Fourth picture is a blade from an old plastic water bottle. Worked pretty good but there are better out there.

Fifth picture is two of the purchased blades combined together. Works pretty good at low wind speeds and spins very fast.

Sixth picture is a film canister cut and glued. Works well at low speed but does not get the voltage/speed.