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Small wind turbine

How to construct a simple wind generator that even young people can build
Author: E.S.
Online since: 03/07/2009, Number of visits: 98478
The AJSL (Association Jeunes Scientifiques Luxembourg – a club for young scientists) wanted to build a simple and affordable wind turbine with materials readily available at DIY stores. In addition, the way it works should also be easy to understand.
The concept of a wind turbine is well-known: you need a windmill and a generator.
  • It should generate electricity at a low number of revolutions (300 rpm).
  • The generator should readily start.
The rotor blade was made in modified form from a 110 mm GRP drainpipe, as Mr Grüner described so well in his customer project Wind turbine for 5 euros.
The diameter is 1 m, and the blade width from the centre line is +2 and +7 cm (a job for the jigsaw).
Shaft: 5 mm shaft steel, 18 cm long
Bearing: 2 mounting brackets, drilled out for the 5 mm shaft. Dimensions: 60 x 60 x 40 cm
The hub consists of an M8 x 20 machine screw with a 5 mm centre hole for the shaft and a 2,5 mm cross-hole with M3 thread for the set screw. The rotor blade is attached with two spring washers and nuts.
Bobbins wrapped with enamelled copper wire
The inside of the stator
The stator is a 10 mm thick sheet of plywood with six holes in a 5 cm diameter circle. An M6 x 25 mm machine screw goes in each hole (coil core).
Six plastic sewing machine bobbins were used as coil bobbins and wrapped with 0,4 CuL as tightly as possible – about 12 m will fit on one bobbin. The winding direction must be the same for all six coils.
The iron core should not protrude from the coil, which is achieved on the back of the stator with an O-ring and a piece of plastic tubing.
The beginning and end of the windings are routed to the back through two small, drilled holes (see photo above) in the stator board.
The coils are secured to the iron core with a little glue tape or a drop from the hot glue gun.
Detailed view of a single coil
Detailed view of a single coil
Creating the electrical connections
The outside of the stator
Now, all you have to do is complete the electrical connections. The end of the wire on one coil is connected to the beginning of the adjacent coil (through soldering or with mini-cable connectors). You will be left with a beginning and an end of the strand to divert the electrical current.
The rotor is a perforated disc made of 10 mm thick plywood, has a diameter of 8 cm, and features 12 S-10-05-N disc magnets that were glued in with a strong adhesive (easy to build using a hole saw and drill). The diameter of the "magnet circle" measures 5 cm, and the magnets have to be mounted with alternating poles pointing up, i.e. one north pole, then one south pole and so on.
The housing consists of
  • a base plate made of 18 mm thick glulam wood 9 x 16,5 cm.
  • its stator for the back wall.
  • two side panels made of 10 mm plywood to provide the necessary rigidity.
The rotation mechanism consists of
  • a tap fitting 0,5 inch x 15 mm.
  • a piece of water pipe 0,5 inch x 8 cm.
  • a piece of suitable aluminium pipe to hold the water pipe.
The wind vane consists of
  • a cable duct with a diameter of 16 mm and a length of 50 cm.
  • 5 mm thick plywood measuring 30 x 15 cm.
  • a plastic clamp for the cable duct.
The cable duct must be notched, about 1 cm at the front end for the 15 mm hole of the tap fitting and about 15 cm at the back to accommodate the plywood panel.
Air gap:
To ensure the whole thing starts up smoothly, the air gap between the rotor and stator is adjusted with the help of washers, an adjusting ring made from a lustre clamp and the propeller hub – in our case approx. 2 mm. Of course, with such a large air gap, a lot of electrical energy is lost. However, the current is still sufficient to power a light-emitting diode. A clear LED that lights up red works best.
Finished wind turbine
The finished wind turbine
In our AJSL young scientists club, 15 of these wind turbines were built by teenagers ranging in age from 12 to 14. Of course, many parts were prefabricated, so the whole assembly took just under three hours.
The result was 100 %, and the kids loved it!
If you are interested in wind turbines or wind generators, please also take a look at our project Harnessing wind energy.

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