DIY Wind Turbines

Introduction

While there are many commericial wind turbines now available that are suitable for domestic use they can be rather expensive and it will be many years before they generate enough electricity to have paid back the initial cost. Many people decide to build their own wind turbines and this can be for a multitude of reasons - it's cheaper, it's fun, it's educational and best of all you can recycle used materials.

There are loads of great websites that provide some great guides on building DIY wind turbines, we collected together links to the best ones and written a quick review for each site.

Safety First

Building wind turbines can be dangerous! Before embarking on any project please consider your own safety. As well as the obvious risks of useing dangerous tools during the building stage there are also dangers when you complete the project. Turbines can 'runaway' in high winds and break apart, tall towers can be dangerous and electrical systems can present risk of fire or electrocution. If in any way you are unsure of what you are doing but still want a wind turbine then you should consider buying a commerical turbine.

Websites


Hugh Piggott - Scoraig Wind Electric

Hugh Piggott is one the best known names in the world of homemade wind turbines. Hughs axial flux design wind turbine has been built by people all over the world and Hugh runs regular courses for those wanting to get some hands on learning. Hugh has also written a book (available on his website), "How to build a wind turbine" which is now available in a 2008 metric only edition.


Chispito Wind Generator - Vela Creations

A small turbine designed to generate 100w in a 30mph wind. Made from PVC pipe and using a treadmill DC motor as a generator this turbine can be built quickly and cheaply. The site provides excellent detailed instructions and tips on how to source the parts that you will need.


Other Power - the Cutting Edge of Low Technology

While the main focus of this site is homebrew windpower they cover many other topics such as solar power, efficient lighting, batteries experiments and hydro power. There are lots of DIY wind turbine projects detailed on the site with construction and performance details. The turbines range in size from small science fair projects up to an impressive 20 foot diameter turbine that produces up to 5KW.

The Other Power site also has a hidden gem, down at the bottom of the page you will find a link to their Discussion Board where the members are always keen to help and have an amazing amount of knowledge and experience. If you want technical advice on DIY wind power this is by far the best discussion board.


Randy's Workshop

Randy's site details his progress with various wind power projects. Of particular interest is his experiments with Fisher & Paykel Smart Drive motors, these are a type of electric motor used in a brand of washing machine common in New Zealandand Australia. The design of these motors (a bit like a large stepper motor) makes them ideal for converting into alternators for wind power.


The BackShed - DIY and Renewable Energy Projects

Another great site run by a wind power enthusiast. While the whole site is good we liked the mini mill battery charger and the excellent page about Furling. The site also has a nice forum with many active members.


Mikes DIY Wind Turbine

Mike is an avid astronomer and purchased some remote property in Arizona where he could practice his hobby away from the light pollution found in and around most modern cities. However, while this remoteness was great for the star gazing there was of course another problem, there was no electricity supply. Mike has written an excellent webpage with lots of details about how he built his very own wind turbine. This site is one of our favorites as Mikes turbine is low cost, easy to build and uses recycled parts!