Did you know you can save up to 80% of your electricity bill by using the power of the wind to generate your electricity? This is one of the main reasons why people want to build their own wind generator. For the conservationists, there is an added reason to do so – to preserve the planet’s dwindling resources and clean up the environment. Traditional electricity generation comes through burning of coal and other fossil fuels. This pollutes the environment and depletes the earth’s mineral resources. But utilizing wind power to generate electricity is cheap, clean and does not deplete any of the earth’s mineral resources. So by using electricity generated from wind power, the earth will be a better, cleaner and healthier place.
Just how do you construct your own DIY wind turbine?
Basically, you need to have the blades of the turbine connected to a motor which acts like a generator that produces the electricity. This electricity should charge up a battery that stores it, which is in turn connected to an inverter to convert the DC current into AC current for your home.
So the first step is to make the wind generator blades. The easiest (although not the cheapest) way is to buy ready-made blades from places like eBay. The advantage of this is that the blades are precision-made and you don’t have to worry about things like balancing your blades. The disadvantage is that they can be expensive. But if this is your option, a recommended brand of wind generator blades is Windmax which is made of fiberglass.
Alternatively, you can make your own blades by using PVC pipes. Use a 4 inch or 6 inch diameter PVC pipe that is not more than 4 feet in length. Draw a line down the middle. This center line is from where you cut the blades. A 4 inch diameter PVC pipe is sufficiently strong for a blade length of up to 30 inches but if you want a longer blade, use the 6 inch diameter PVC pipe instead. It is not advisable to make your blades longer than 4 feet in length because the longer ones will bend or flex under strong wind conditions.
From the center line, measure three 5 ½ inches markings. These will be the point you cut your 3 blades. The broad end should be 5 inches wide and the narrow end 2 ½ inches. Cut each blade exactly the same way using some power instruments like a saber saw or band saw. Once that is done, place each blade on top of the other to see if they align with one another. To get the maximum effectiveness of the wind, you should mold the blades into a wing shape using a sander. The leading edge should be more rounded whereas the trailing edge should be more tapered and sharper.
The next thing that needs to be done is to construct the hub (or flywheel). Again, this item can be bought ready-made from eBay. But if you wish to make it yourself, you need to use a flat circular piece of metal like a scroll saw blade or a pulley. Use a protractor to mark 3 positions that are exactly 120° apart. These are where you will drill 2 holes for each blade, ensuring that the 3 blades are equidistant apart.
Once you have screwed the blades onto the hub, it’s time to balance it. This is important, otherwise your blades are going to wobble under strong winds conditions, risking damage to your generator. To do so, first number each blade. Make a hole at the exact center of the hub (you need a precision instrument like a lathe) and mount it on a fixed metal rod or shaft. Hold the hub in place with some pillow block bearings then give the blades a spin. If your blades are not precisely balanced, one of them will consistently end up at the bottom. This one is slightly heavier than the other two. Use your sander or saw to shape it down to get all 3 blades to be of equal weight.
The way your wind turbine will generate electricity is by attaching your blades and hub to a motor. Obviously, you cannot make your own motor; you need to buy one or use an old motor from another appliance. If you use an old motor, choose one that does not have any cogging. What is cogging? When you turn your motor by hand for a couple revolutions and the motor ‘sticks’ in certain places your motor is cogging. But if your motor turns freely your motor is not cogging and is well suited for a wind generator. Cogging will cause your generator to produce less power than it actually can. Only at high wind speeds will cogging power loss be negligible. So unless you are living in an area with consistently high winds, it’s better to use a motor that does not cog up.
If you choose to buy a wind generator motor, one recommended brand is Ametek (buy the 38V to 60V models). They come with a hub attached so you don’t have to make or buy your own and they do not cog up. Otherwise, you will need to attach the blades and hub that you have made onto the shaft of your motor. To do so, one handy thing to use is an arbor.
An arbor is simply a short piece of metal that is shaped like a hollow shaft but with a screw and nut at one end. To attach your hub to the arbor, simply unscrew it and slip the arbor through the center hole of the hub, secure it with a washer before screwing it back on. Then insert the shaft of the motor into the arbor and tighten it. Now you have a working wind turbine.
For the wind turbine to produce electricity, it needs to be connected to a battery through a diode. When the wind spins the blades, the motor will change the kinetic energy into electrical energy and charge up your battery.
That’s how you get free electricity!
Click Here for the Ultimate DIY Wind Turbine Guide