DIY Wind Power Projects
"Wind power has been used as long as humans have put sails into the wind. For more than two millennia wind-powered machines have ground grain and pumped water. Wind power was widely available and not confined to the banks of fast-flowing streams, or later, requiring sources of fuel. Wind-powered pumps drained the polders of the Netherlands. In arid regions such as the American mid-west or the Australian outback, wind pumps provided water for live stock and steam engines.
With the development of electric power, wind power found new applications in lighting buildings remote from centrally-generated power. Throughout the 20th century parallel paths developed distributed small wind plants suitable for farms or residences, and larger utility-scale wind generators that could be connected to electricity grids for remote use of power. Today wind powered generators operate at every size between tiny plants for battery charging at isolated residences, up to multi-megawatt wind farms that provide electricity to national electrical networks." - From Wikipedia.com
Building a wind turbine consists of 6 main parts
The tower or supporting structure - What's holding the turbine up? Do you plan on it being on a tower, a roof or on the ground? The higher the better, but higher is also more dangerous, costly and the height of structures may be limited in your area.
Alternator or generator - This is the part that makes electricity. It's basically some copper wire placed on a stationary "platter" called a "stator" and some batteries attached to a "rotator". The stator is where the electrical wiring is connected. The batteries rotate around the stationary copper wires, which causes electricity to be produced.
The Blades or Turbine - The blades are the most obvious part of a wind turbine and can be made in many ways and made of many different things and attached in different ways.
The Hardware and Wiring - You're going to need nuts, bolt, wires, etc.
Energy Storage - You need to plan for whether you are going to add the wind turbine to your home's electricity, power a tool off the grid, or store the electricity in batteries.
A Braking System - Often not mentioned, your system will need a way to stop the blades and rotators for maintainence and repairs.
You can build a wind turbine for any number of reasons...To sell, to save
money, because you have a location off the grid that needs power, etc. Building
a wind turbine can be major projects or just a week-end hobby. Below we'll
discuss some of your options.
How To Build Your Own Wind Turbine Alternator (Generator)
Here we have a great video tutorial on how to build your own alternator/generator for a wind turbine. This is a quality set-up and all of the parts shown in the videos are available from their website.
If you are serious about building wind turbines professionally, then I suggest you watch these videos and if this appeals to you, buy all the parts. I estimate all the stuff is about $400-500. However, much of it can be resused over and over, such as the coil winders and molds.
You can also use the parts of the kit as models and moulds to build your own stuff the next time.
Also, if you do follow through and decide this is a business you'd like to persue, think of ways to speed things up. Henry Ford taught us about the assembly line long ago.
The alternator above is "dual rotator". This means the stator with the copper wire is sandwiched between two rotators, each loaded with magnets. This greatly increases the effectiveness of the unit.
Note: The words "generator" and "alternator" are commonly used for the same thing. Without getting into the technical differences, I generally use "alternator" for what is on a wind turbine and "generator" for what is an auto part. I know, this isn't technically correct, but I use the words this way so it's easier to tell what I'm talking about.
One of the easiest ways to make a alternator is to use an old generator from a car. Basically, you want the wind to turn some blades, which then turn the alternator/generator either directly, by using belts or through gears.
A car generator isn't the best, but they are cheap and easy to get ahold
of, and are good for experiementing. One common techinique is to take the
alternator apart and add some magnets to it. The best magnets are called:
Watch the first video below to see how to add magnets to a car generator
to get better effectiveness:
Again, watch the FIRST four videos above from From WindGenKits.com to see how it's really done. Then check out these other 5 videos immediately above about using throw away materials and adapt them accordingly.
If you need more info, I suggest Youtube for "how to's" and Google for "buying" or technical research...Here's some quick links to possible searches for more info.
Next, you need some blades to turn the alternator when the wind blows. There are a number of things you can use...For a fairly large wind turbine, your first choice may be to locate an old propeller system from an airplane salvage yard.
You can be creative here. In general, if you're working on a small do-it-yourself project, look for stuff that's already made to turn by air, such as ceiling fans, air conditioner blowers (squirel cages) and exhaust fans. And for fun hobby projects, you can try just about anything.
Here's some interesting stuff used as turbine blades...I've included a wide variety of styles and materials, hopefully they will give you some inspiration and ideas and help you brain-storm based on your own skills and resources.
The first two videos are required viewing:
This is a User Guide a highly respected site called "OtherPower.com" that gives away open source (free to use) plans on building a major wind turbine. They also sell the parts to make the turbines, but you don't have to buy anything to find real value in this User's Guide. I suggest you check it out before investing time and money.
Here's a video showing a home-made wind turbine using the plans from OtherPower.com:
Here's the Table of Contents:
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