How to Build a Mini Wind Turbine from Scrap

How to Build a Mini Wind Turbine from Scrap

How to Build a Mini Wind Turbine from Scrap

Building a small wind turbine from scrap materials can be a fun and educational project. Here is a step-by-step guide on how I built my own mini wind turbine using recycled parts.

Gather the Necessary Materials

To build the turbine, you will need the following materials:

  • Alternator – This can be salvaged from an old car. Make sure it can generate AC current.
  • Blades – These can be made from scrap wood, plastic or even an old fan. Three blades work best.
  • PVC pipe – Use a length of pipe that is around 1-2 feet long for the turbine tower.
  • Bolts, nuts and washers – To attach the blades to the alternator shaft.
  • Magnets – Small neodymium magnets to make the alternator generate power.
  • Electrical wire – For connecting the alternator to your battery/inverter.
  • Bearings – Allow smooth rotation of turbine shaft. Scrap skateboard bearings work well.

Optional materials:

  • Tail fin – Helps keep the turbine facing the wind. Can be made from a sheet of metal or wood.
  • Battery – To store the generated electricity.

Assemble the Turbine Frame

The first step is to assemble the main frame that will hold the alternator and allow the turbine to rotate.

  1. Cut the PVC pipe to the desired length. Around 1-2 feet is optimal.

  2. Drill holes on opposite sides of the pipe near the bottom. Attach bolts through the holes.

  3. Attach the alternator to the bolts so it can pivot vertically on the pipe frame.

  4. Add a stabilizing triangle made from scrap wood or metal using bolts. This prevents sideways wobbling.

Attach the Blades

The blades harvest the wind energy and convert it into rotational motion. Follow these steps to attach them:

  1. Cut 3 blades out of scrap material to around 1-2 feet long. The exact shape is not critical.

  2. Drill holes near the end of each blade.

  3. Attach the blades equally spaced apart to the alternator shaft using bolts, washers and nuts.

  4. Ensure blades are straight and properly balanced.

Add Magnets and Configure Alternator

The alternator generates electricity when its coil passes near the magnets:

  • Place 4-6 small neodymium magnets around the perimeter of the alternator.

  • Connect the alternator’s AC outputs to a bridge rectifier to convert the power to DC.

  • Wire the rectifier outputs to your battery. Add a fuse for safety.

Connect and Test the Turbine

After assembly, it’s time to test your homemade wind turbine:

  • Place the turbine in an open outdoor area with good wind exposure.

  • Allow the blades to rotate in the wind and verify the alternator generates electricity.

  • Connect the outputs to a multimeter to measure the voltage. Adjust the magnets if needed.

  • Finally, connect the turbine to your battery storage and DC appliances to use the generated power.

With some improvisation and recycled parts, you can build your own functional wind turbine. Just make sure to safely site it away from buildings and high traffic areas. Let me know if you have any other questions!