Renewable Projects - How to build your own miniature wind powered turbine at home

Mini DIY turbine
Mini DIY turbine

Build Your Own Mini Turbine

Wind turbines are great for creating your own sustainable electricity but often come at remarkably high prices and installation costs. So why not build your own?

Before you attempt to build a homemade power generator big enough to provide power your home, it would be a good idea to start of with a small scale design. This home project is the place to start.

This DIY mini turbine should be able to power a few LED's and in strong winds recharge a battery.


What you will need

Part
Where?
Extra information
Toy motor
Can be brought online (see below), in a shop or through dismantling a toy with a motor.
I used a 3-5 volt motor.
Wires
Local DIY shop, or around the house
Preferably red and black.
Kebab sticks
Supermarket
This is for the main structure
Thick carboard
From the back of a notepad. Any arts and crafts shop.
This is for the turbine blades
Wine bottle
At home
This is the base, the smooth glass allows the main part to turn smoothly to face the wind.
Glue gun
DIY shop or online (see below)
You will also need the glue but that should come with the glue gun
Soldering iron
DIY shop or online (see below)
You will also need solder
Bottle lid
The top of a bottle
This is used as a circular surface to stick the 'turbine blades' onto
Here is the rechargeable USB battery that I attached via USB port from a car mobile charger. However, the motor was too small only created only 1-3 V I would recommend just attaching an LED.
Here is the rechargeable USB battery that I attached via USB port from a car mobile charger. However, the motor was too small only created only 1-3 V I would recommend just attaching an LED.
The two parts, all from items found around the home.
The two parts, all from items found around the home.

The how to ...

Instructions

  1. Firstly, find a large plastic bottle lid.
  2. On a piece of paper draw out a template for the "turbine blades". Remember to add a 2/3 cm flap at the bottom that can be folded at a right angle to attach to the bottle lid.
  3. Cut out this template and use it to draw out the 4 blades on the thick cardboard.
  4. Draw out your own tail fin design along as at least around 8 cm long it doesn't really matter what shape.
  5. Salvage a toy motor or buy one use the soldering iron to attach two wire to the connecting points at the back of the motor.
  6. Using generous amounts of hot glue attach the bottle lid to the spinning part of the motor - make sure it can still spin freely though.
  7. Cut out two cardboard rectangles roughly the width of the motor and about 6 cm long,
  8. Stick the two rectangles on the top and bottom of the motor with the excess length sticking out the back.
  9. Once the glue has hardened, squeeze together the lengths of cardboard sticking of the motor and glue in place.
  10. Now, attach the 'propellers' of the turbine to the bottle lid.
  11. Out of kebab sticks or a material of you choice create a frame for the wind turbine model to be mounted on. Make the end of it suitable to fit in a wine bottle.
  12. Connect the frame to the cardboard casing around the motor.
  13. Glue the tail fin to the other end of the card covered generator .
  14. Fill an empty wine bottle 3/4 full of water and place the turbine in it (it should be able to freely rotate).
  15. Solder on a bulb,LED or 1-5 volts voltmeter to the ends of the wires.
  16. There you go, a mini wind powered turbine.

Why this works

DC electric brushed motors are in essence a coil of metal around a magnet. When the blades of the turbine rotates they turn the magnet within the coil. This causes the magnetic field to rotate too and the wires in the coil experience a change in magnetic flux. This then generates an alternating current through electromagnetic induction. You now have power!

The voltage produced would be no more then 2 volts from a small motor but by doing this basic project you can get the basic concepts before moving on to bigger projects. For example, using a car alternator or washing machine motor to generate the electricity.

From more information have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brushed_DC_electric_motor.

All the parts for this project can be found around the home - it's completely homemade.

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3.5 out of 5 stars from 19 ratings of the wind turbine.

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