How to Make a Mini-Windmill That Makes Electricity

Written by jennifer terry
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How to Make a Mini-Windmill That Makes Electricity
Mini-windmills can generate small amounts of electricity. (windmill image by Earl Robbins from Fotolia.com)

Environmental friendly energy can be produced with windmill turbines, though windmills do not function effectively everywhere. You can make a mini-windmill that produces a minimum amount of electricity when there's a stable breeze. It makes an outstanding science project and helps you understand how a full-sized windmill generates electricity.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Propeller from a big pinwheel flower decoration
  • Small thread spools, 4
  • Sturdy plastic sheets, 2
  • Glue
  • Drill
  • Small lightweight metal rod
  • Spacer and magnet kits, 2
  • Pin clip
  • Magnetic wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Low wattage light bulb

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove the propeller from the pinwheel. The propeller is used for spinning the axle. You can use any size propeller, but one from a large pinwheel moves the most air.

  2. 2

    Create your casing. Sandwich the four spools between two plastic sheets, positioned at each corner. Glue them to the corners and allow them to dry.

  3. 3

    Drill one small hole in the centre of each plastic sheet, according to the diameter measurement of the metal rod. Be sure the drilled holes are parallel.

  4. 4

    Position the magnets in the spacers according to the kit instructions. You will have two magnet sets with a hole in the centre of each. Lay the casing flat on the table. Lay one magnet set centred over the hole drilled in the bottom plastic sheet. Hold the second magnet set centred on the hole drilled in the top plastic sheet. Both magnet sets are inside of the casing.

  5. 5

    Place the rod through all holes and exit about 1/2 inch. Place a pin clip on the tip of the rod end that exits to prevent the parts from sliding off the back of the rod.

  6. 6

    Wrap the magnetic wire around the outside of all four spools for about 225 to 300 wraps.

  7. 7

    Glue the propeller to the end of the metal rod that does not have the pin clip. This will hold the components together and secure the propeller in place.

  8. 8

    Remove about 1/2 inch of wire insulation from the end of the wire with the wire strippers. Wrap the exposed wire to the ends of a low voltage light bulb.

  9. 9

    Position the mini-windmill in a place where it can get steady breeze and check if the bulb has come on. In case the wind is not strong enough spin the axle, manually turn it rapidly to ensure your windmill is working.

Tips and warnings

  • A small fan can blow on the windmill when using it for a science project.
  • The windmill requires wind strong enough to move the propeller. If your windmill doesn't come on the breeze may not be sufficient to generate enough electricity for even a low wattage bulb.

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