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DIY Wind Turbine by DIY Dave

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DIY Dave
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Bio: "Can't" can't do anything until "try"

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Tags: wind turbine green power

treadmill energy solar

This instructable will demonstrate how to build a power generating wind

turbine. My inspiration came from seeing other wind turbine instructions online. Related
I hope to simplify the process with clear, easy to follow instructions.
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Thanks to mdavis19 for his instructable How I built an electricity producing wind Facility
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Step 1: Parts & Tools See More

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

Power tools
Drill & drill bits
Jig saw
Table saw
Belt sander

Hand tools
Various screw drivers
Tap set
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.
We have a be nice comment policy.
Please be positive and constructive. I Made it! Add Images Make Comment

nlinventor 11 minutes ago Reply

Nice easy flowing writing style! As others have mentioned a reliable means
of preventing over-speeding would be great.

petercd 2 days ago Reply

Great instructable, I don't see a charge controller anywhere in your setup,

the mdavis19 one works a charm and its what I use in my setup.

DIY Dave (author) petercd 14 hours ago Reply

Thanks for the input. I plan to use up the battery power pretty
consistently. If I find I need it, I have a spare charge controller that I
purchased with a solar panel.

harvsch DIY Dave 32 minutes ago Reply

Without a charge controller you could have a battery

An MPPT charge controller can significantly increase the power
output of your windmill.

chrisdav 2 days ago Reply

I created a wind turbine very similar to yours with a treadmill motor and pvc
as blades. I also built a dc-dc step up buck circuit, the whole thing worked
well for a while until we had a gale force wind, it was spinning so quickly
that one of the blades shattered and went straight through an asbestos
roof! So please be careful if you are in an area that has gale force winds
DIY Dave (author) chrisdav 14 hours ago Reply

Thanks for the recommendation, I live in Indiana though, so I

shouldn't have to worry about gale force wind too much. I'll definitely
watch out for storms though. I hope you get yours all back together
and working

harvsch DIY Dave 36 minutes ago Reply

A steerable tail would allow you to turn

the windmill so that if faces into the wind when you want and parallel

to the wind when you need to stop it from turning too fast.
It is
the same technique that was used on wind mill water pumps. When
cistern was full the pump was disabled by turning the mill parallel to
the wind. The image below shows the pump in the idle position.

melissa.verzini 2 days ago Reply

What Power does it put out??

what can you power with it??

DIY Dave (author) melissa.verzini 3 hours ago Reply

The turbine puts out DC current that charges a battery. Then it flows
through an inverter that converts it to AC (regular plug in power).
The inverter has 2 standard plug ins and a usb charging port

BG_instructs 22 hours ago Reply

have 4200 Watt solarpannels on my roof, next thing from mother earth to
collect is wind. Not allowed to install a windturbine where i live, so i'm
thinking of an installation that blows into a round window in my rooftop, kind
a tunnel with a mill inside.
So i would not install it outside, but inside my house.
This simple set up seems perfect to start trials...

DIY Dave (author) BG_instructs 3 hours ago Reply

That sounds like an interesting plan. I'd love to see your solar set up
and your turbine when you get finished

d3ath101 2 days ago Reply

Won't the wires tangle if the thing turns toward the wind all the time? Just
curious as how that is to be handled.

DIY Dave (author) d3ath101 14 hours ago Reply

I'm planning to leave the wires fairly loose so they won't get twisted
too badly. The turbine won't make full circles often, usually just
partial rotations

Conarymor DIY Dave 10 hours ago Reply

I would install a swivel connection inline on the wiring. While it won't

spin constantly around the post, it will eventually twist your main
cable until it breaks. Otherwise, great Instructable.

saskfire 2 days ago Reply

this is something i would love to do.i need to learn more about wiring and

DIY Dave (author) saskfire 14 hours ago Reply

you should check out mdavis19's instructable that I listed in the

intro. He goes into great detail on all the wiring and circuits

KEUrban yesterday Reply

Could you provide performance characteristics?

agatornz 2 days ago Reply

having an old treadmill like this i had the idea of giving the kids something
to run for.. by connecting it up to a set of lights.. but you really had to run
hard to get the first light up - and i was told i needed a reostat? or
something? ( no electrical knowledge) to make it easy to start... does this
apply for the turbine too?

3366carlos 2 days ago Reply


chrisdav 2 days ago Reply

I would have a switch that can short out the generator and disconnect the
battery at the same time.

MsSweetSatisfaction 2 days ago Reply

Woah it didn't even occur to me that we could DIY something like that.
Awesome job, now it seems very silly that resistance to wind turbines in the
government if we can DIY it at home... Thanks for sharing, and again nice

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