How to Build a Simple Wind Turbine

Written by alyson paige
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How to Build a Simple Wind Turbine

Plans to build a simple wind turbine are widely available. Parts and tools are easy to come by and can be affordable. Some background work is necessary, such as determining wind availability. Some fairly simple and reliable research will guide the novice wind turbine builder toward the type of turbine, plans and parts. There are two basic types of simple wind turbines---Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT) and Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT)---each of which have proponents and critics. That said, VAWTs carry some substantial evidence for their effective use. (The building process and other information in this article is from Other Power User's Manual in the Resources section.)

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Workshop equipped with standard tools
  • Plans with parts for VAWT
  • 12-, 24- or 48-volt battery
  • Blade finish
  • Tower with pipe or tubing
  • Couplers and guy wire connectors
  • Winch
  • Permits
  • Wiring to connect tower to power
  • Rectifier assembly
  • Shut-down switch
  • Controller and dump load (optional/recommended)
  • Metering (optional/recommended)

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    Building a Simple Wind Turbine

  1. 1

    Prepare a renewable energy (RE) system first. The battery to which you connect the turbine must be operational and ready during the VAWT-building process. The battery is powered by the wind turbine. The wind turbine's stator determines the voltage of battery you use. The volts, 12, 24 or 48, must match the stator.

    How to Build a Simple Wind Turbine
  2. 2

    Read studies about VAWTs. Conflicting opinions exist about the effectiveness of VAWTs vs. HAWTs. According to Mother Earth News, the National Aeronautical Establishment has found that "[the VAWT's] aerodynamic efficiency compares with the current horizontal axis machines." VAWTs are simpler to build and are more affordable.

    How to Build a Simple Wind Turbine
  3. 3

    Purchase plans for your do-it-yourself VAWT. Plans include the primary parts, leaving you to provide the remainder of necessary elements. Everything you need is either included or listed in the plans. Additional parts include a self-starting mechanism and spoilers for speed-of-rotation variables. Before beginning to build, identify all parts, referring to your manual. Primary VAWT parts are blades, alternator, tail boom and blade hubs.

    How to Build a Simple Wind Turbine
    How Wind Energy Works
  4. 4

    Assemble the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine. Begin by installing the rectifier assembly into your ready RE system. Install the optional, but recommended, shutdown switch. It also is recommended to install controller, breaker and dump load. Run wire from the tower base to the RE supply.

    How to Build a Simple Wind Turbine
    VAWT Plan View
  5. 5

    Run a test tower raise. Stabilise the tower with guy wires, adjusted as necessary. Set turbine to tower top. Attach tail vane to tail boom and blades to rotor, and to alternator. Blades must be balanced per instructions.

    How to Build a Simple Wind Turbine
    VAWT Front View
  6. 6

    Make the final raise of tower and turbine. (See tips about tower hazards.) Your DIY turbine will now supply renewable wind energy. Use the contact and support information that comes with the plans if you need further assistance.

    How to Build a Simple Wind Turbine
    VAWT View

Tips and warnings

  • Take a tower-raising class or consult a professional before raising your own tower.
  • Follow all safety recommendations. The significant hazards around wind turbines include electrical, mechanical and tower dangers.

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