Build a Wind Turbine: DIY Wind Power with a Wind Turbine

It is never too early to learn how to build a wind turbine. In the best-case scenario, you will be able to generate some of your own power, which will save you money on your electricity bills. In the worst-case scenario, you will be prepared for the lack of power in a post apocalyptic world, which will allow you to provide electricity for essentials like refrigerators and communications equipment.


Photo courtesy of chic-design

The first thing you’ll need to think about when you choose to build a wind turbine is the location. This will be much harder in the city than it will be in a smaller town or farm, because the buildings in built-up areas drastically affect the wind-flow patterns, so your wind turbine may spend a lot of time turning to face the wind instead of harnessing its power. However, a few simple tips will allow you to build a wind turbine in the prime location:

  • Height — if you’ve ever hiked a mountain, you know that a calm or breezy day on the ground can quickly turn into gale-force winds as you climb higher. Building your wind turbine as high as you can, on your roof or on a tall pole, for example, will give you access to these stronger winds even on calm days.
  • Exposure — your wind turbine should be in as exposed a location as possible. Having it near buildings or trees will affect the wind flow patterns and will reduce the air speed around the turbine. Ideally, you need a minimum of six clear feet in all directions to get the full force of the wind.
  • Proximity to the building — unless you have large generators out in your yard, you will need to think about how to connect the converter on the wind turbine into the electrical system in your home. This will involve running a lot of wires and cables, and each foot of cabling will result in a one-percent loss of the electricity you generated. Therefore, your turbine should be as close to the house as possible, bearing in mind the need for exposure.

Build a Wind Turbine: Key Components

When you’re learning how to build a wind turbine, you will need to master four key components:

  • Blades — the blades are the hardest part to get right, so you will need to give yourself time to experiment with different sizes and materials until you find the fastest combination. You need something big enough to pick up the smallest breezes but light enough to allow the wind to push it around.
  • Mount — the mount, the whole section at the top of your turbine that holds the blades and the generator, can be made from wood, plastic or sheet metal. This component too needs to be light enough to swivel around to get the blades in the right position. You may want to add further material perpendicular to the ground to help the mount move independently.
  • Generator — the generator is the hardest part to build from scratch, so it’s worth picking one up second-hand and converting it for your use. It will attach to the blades and convert their movement into electricity. You’ll then need to work out how to run wires from the generator to your desired electricity storage. If you don’t feel comfortable trying to build a generator, consider purchasing an alternator/generator specifically designed for wind turbines.
  • Support — when you build a wind turbine, the support may seem like the least important thing. However, if you put your turbine in a location with strong winds, the support pole needs to be strong enough not to fall over. You can increase the strength of the support by either tying it to something permanent like a building or using guy lines to secure it to the ground.

Remember to bury the pole, or feet of the tower into the ground at least by 24 inches, and fill in the holes with cement.

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