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DIY: How to Build a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT)

Today I found another DIY project for generating alternative energy, by using the wind. It is a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT), and it works by the same principle those huge wind turbines do, but they are much more easy and less expensive to build.

Here’s a brief description of the VAWT’s functioning and manufacturing instructions. That’s the basic info, you can get more from the manufacturer’s website (make sure you come back after you visit them).

The vertical axis wind turbine‘s alternator has two 12 inch diameter rotors that each have 12 neodymium disk magnets measuring 1.47 inche in diameter and .6 inches thick. Between the rotors is the stator consisting of 9 coils of awg #20 wire, 200 turns each. The coils are arranged to produce 3-phase ac. Each phase has 3 coils wired in series. There are 3 full wave bridge rectifiers, one for each phase. Each is isolated from the other. All three rectified dc outputs are wired together in parallel and the dc is sent via cable to the battery bank.

The stator is made by sandwiching the coils between two pieces of epoxy fiber glass board, the kind used in the manufacture of printed circuit boards. The top and bottom sheets, each 1/16 inch thick, are held together with bolts. They have reinforcing ribs added for stiffness. Power is brought out by means of stainless steel machine screws.

If you’d like to build one yourself, you must know it can theoretically produce 316W, by the formula:

“Watts = Conversion constant * Betz limit * efficiency * area in sq. m * wind^3

In a perfectly efficient turbine,

Watts = .05472 * 59% * 100% * 4.46 * 13^3 =316 watts”

Of course, things are far from perfect, the guys that made this said they got 70W out of it. That’s pretty good! Make a few similar vertical axis wind turbines, put them on your block and you’ll never pay for electricity again! (more or less – depending on your consumption habits). Anyway, if you live in an area with high winds, these devices can charge some 12V car batteries so they power your home for the morning and evening, when you get back from work. During the night and the day, they accumulate energy from the wind turbine. The only serious “permanent” consumer would be your fridge.

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About the author

Ovidiu has always been a fan of technology and Captain Planet. Unable to ignore the technical possibilities that exist nowadays, he started collecting and blogging about the most interesting news out there and saw that there were a lot of people interested in the same that stuff he was.

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Comments

  • Andrew Hennessey

    Want the answer how to store energy from electricity produced from a wind turbine pass the current via two platinum electrodes in a u tube one electrode gives off oxygen the other gives off hydrogen collect the hydrogen as bottled gas burn the hydrogen when you want to drive a steam turbine which produces electricity burning hydrogen is environmently friendly in the future cars will be powered by hydrogen

  • steve collier

    would it be possible to fit one of these to the roof of my box camper van? i’m thinking of wooden decking the roof so easy fix….someone said that if you drive along with it on any power generated would be lost in fuel due to drag… but i think they are wrong…any views?

  • Dries

    Hi, how do I subscribe to this site?

  • Leon

    Hi, very interested in the vawt plans myself, any and all help will be much appreciated. Thank in advance Leon.

  • Raymond

    hi everyone.
    Now then cost of VAWT construction. MMMMM. Where can I get cheap magnet wire from. Ah yes. Motors. Strip vaccuum cleaner motors, washing machine motors, microwave transformers etc. How many get taken to landfill or melted down? Now magnets. Microwaves have two ceramic magnets. Ok not nyodim ones but they work. Make a layered PMG. Rotor stator rotor. Rotor stator rotor. To get more power. You wont get Kilowatts but you will get watts. I even make turbines from ceiling fans. I always look for the cheapest easiest and reproductable ways of doing things. Now the vanes. Small machines can be made with microwave cases. Bigger ones with washing machine case. How do I make a Lenz vane I hear? Easy. Plastic pipe from a skip. Cut in half and your wing is bolted to the microwave panel you cut out or washing machine one. Only use info from the net as your guide and let your inventiveness surface. Now solar and wind electronic controllers. MMMMMM. Where to get components for free. Thier in front of me. That pile of microwaves, tvs, monitors, radios in front of me. Circuits and schematics for basic usable units can be googled. How to wire it all up can be googled too. I have activated followup comments so I will know of any posts. I will gladly assist anyone who asks as much as I am able. Here is my website so you can see what micro generation looks like and what I am researching. Enjoy the experience. Dont make it a chore. https://sites.google.com/site/alternativediyenergy/

  • Alice

    How does one bend a helical blade and wrap it around the center support? Are there any experts that come here now and then or are we all just curious prospects? Or is it that due to safety concerns, they snub us as some people here appear that they shouldn’t be climbing a ladder, much less messing with electricity as they do not even know which end the voltage comes out of?

  • Rob

    Boy, it does’nt look like anybody visits this page very often. I am also looking for a real good low rpm 48v pma plan. I do not want 12 or 24v they heat up to much. Im not looking for any of those plans that you pay $47-$50 for either they are junk. Im looking for somebody that has built there own that works real good and i do not like the single phase very much, it takes to much energy to run them.

  • Rob

    Hey, i have been building my own wind generator and have found some things out about it that i think i will share with others. Building the regular wind mill or the vertical one which is the one i am doing is not the problem, infact that is the easy part. The pma is even easy to build but most instructions don’t show what to do after that, like how to wire everything after the pma to the batteries. Everybody thinks they can do this and save big on thier power bills but it’s not so. They say it’s real cheep to build all of this but it’s not so. If you can get all the stuff together by scrounging for you wind mill that is the way to go but the rest is not cheep, they say you can build the whole thing for under a $100 but the magnet wire is over a $100 all on it’s own and the magnets are not cheep either and there is the charge controler and volt meter, rectifiers, wire, inverter and now the expensive part, the batteries. Batteries are not cheep anymore, one 6v deep cycle is over a$120-140 and a used forklift battery can be $800+, new ones are over $4000, if you want to run your home on this you just lost any savings on your power bill and about the time you start to make a savings it’s time to replace the batteries and start all over. Also most pma’s do not put out enough power to keep up with keeping the batteries charged and supply the home load at the same time and the batteries drain down to far and never charge all the way back up and end up going bad. the only way to keep the batteries good is to stay grid tied so when the wing mill is not keeping up then it switches over to the grid to run a battery charger. There is no savings. The only thing i am doing it for is to run some things in my green house and have backup power to run things in my home when the power gose out.

  • kusuma george

    iam also very interested in building the turbine and generator (VAWT) that you build ,
    please would you like to share any drawing ,instruction or detailed information ? i want to build it

    thank very much

  • http://www.yaledoor.co.uk Yale Composite Doors

    I don’t know about the US but there was a recent case in the UK where a man won the right to build a win turbine in his garden due to it being an important part of his lifestyle. I think it depends on how built up your neighbourhood is but the link is below so that might help you :

    http://www.telegrjavascript:jQuery('#commentform‘).submit();aph.co.uk/news/uknews/7778223/Composer-wins-right-to-build-80ft-wind-turbine.html

  • http://www.door-stop.co.uk Door Stop

    Do you know if you have to obatin permission before you are allowed to build the wind turbines in your neighbourhood? Would obviously be of benefit to the community so am thinking the authorities should be ok with it.

    • Geoff Atkins

      Hi DS The VAWT has inherent problems: if it’s erected low down, the winds are slower due to landscape “friction” trees, bushes etc, also it needs to be fenced off so that visitors’ kids don’t get hurt. If you build it high, the vertical structures convert to bending moments so you need more than just a single pole to fix it to. When you have erected a mast there are usually problems, Town Planning permissions , building regulations permits. And when it’s working , in some countries the electrical safety compliances need to be verified as well. Sorry , horribly pessimistic post, but it’s cheaper to check first than make a rig you aren’t allowed to use.

  • abdelghani

    iam also very interested in building the turbine and generator (VAWT) that you build ,Do you have any drawing ,instruction or detailed information ?

  • http://newfreeenergynews.com Michael Nelson

    Could the vertical Access Wind Turbine just be connected to a standard generator instead of the build in device you have illustrated. It might produce more wattage?

  • A Fred

    If you look at the 2nd paragraph, they give you the link to the manufacturer’s website.

  • http://vawt Gunnar

    I am very interested in building the turbine and generator (VAWT) that you build. Do you have any drawings, instructions or detailed information?
    Thank you,

  • Cassie8

    Please send me the plans to built this amazing VAWT.
    Thanks in advance

  • Steven Lee

    Please send me details. thanks

  • John Neyrey

    Could I please get the plans and also could you put the formula for wattage into lamens terms. I know basic electricy math, but not this formula and how to apply it.

  • Steven Marshall

    Are build plans available?

  • chris cresap

    could you send me more detailed plans, i would be interested in making one of these.

  • Jamie Pike

    I would love to make a small vertical (VAWT) for my shed in the backyard. I just want to be able to run the average tools like skill saw, drill, small table top saw and or a light. I am wondering if there is any other way to make the electricity other then the copper coils??? I want to make it a “floating” (VAWT) using the opposite pull from 2 neodymium batteries. I would like to know if it would be possible to use some sort of a gear system with a generator. If so….what type of generator would be the best to use. I have no experience with any of this sort of thing and could use any info that you could give me.

  • Melinda

    I am also interested in building this type of turbine. Could you please send me detailed information?

    Thanks,
    Melinda

  • http://None John

    I am very interested in building the turbine and generator (VAWT) that you build. Do you have any drawings, instructions or detailed information?
    Thank you,
    John

  • http://www.earthforenergykits.com Ben earth4energy review

    This is a great project for free energy and it can deliver great results. I read a lot about how to create your own energy and this vertical axis wind turbine one of the best methods. As you said, we just need to take a few steps ahead and free energy will be affordable for everyone and more efficient than today.

  • http://- sharifi

    hi would you please sent me how to make a vertical axis wind turbine for my house

  • http://www.greenoptimistic.com/2008/07/08/diy-home-made-wind-turbine-vawt/ devon olsen

    im still a bit confused on how to make something like this but could u send me somthing a bit more specific on the wiring and the body except the wind things cus im planning something like a helix design and how does the wiring produce electricity???

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