How to Build a DIY Savonius Wind Turbine


Here’s a design of a Savonius vertical axis wind turbine developed by a group of people and posted on Instructables under the username lisa-torstenson. Their goal was to create a wind turbine that would be stable and resilient. Almost all of their materials were recycled or reused.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Since the goal was to utilize recycled materials, they gathered almost everything from the physics shop at their school. The exceptions were two 3D printed caps/lugs and the bits of sheet metal used for the rotor blades.

List of Materials:

  • 4 rotor blades
  • Axis of rotation (pole)
  • PVC pipe
  • 3D printed caps/plugs
  • 32 screws
  • 2 bolts
  • 4 washers
  • 1 recycled auditorium chair
  • 1 generator
  • 2 ball bearings
  • Alignment piece

Step 2: Cut the Base, Stand, Support, Blades

  • Use a table saw to cut a piece of auditorium seat down to a 20 x 20 inch square.
  • Cut down the 19.5 x 6 inch stand that will support the generator and the axis in an upright manner.
  • With the help of a miter saw cut down two 3 x 6 x 0.5 inches blocks of wood to align the axis point with the generator.
  • Cut a trapezoidal support beam to connect the base and the stand. lisa-torstenson made two right triangles: 13.1 x 13.1 inches one and the other of 6 x 6 inches.
  • Make 4 identical blades that are 21 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
  • Using a specialized machine, fold over the edges.

Step 3: Curve the Blades

Using a sheet metal roller, they curved their blades. You should do the same.

Step 4: Cut the PVC Pipe

Use the miter saw to cut the PVC pipe (it has to match the length of any blade).

Step 5: Drill

For all drilling, they used a drill press for maximum precision.

According to the diagram that you can find attached to the original post mark the locations of the holes.

  • Drill 10 holes into the base. (6 to hold the stand and for 4 for optional stake s for the stability)
  • Drill 7 holes into the stand. ( 3 for the generator, 4 for the ball bearing)
  • Drill the same holes into the alignment blocks.
  • Drill 16 holes into the blades and PVC pipe.

Step 6: 3D Print

In order to connect the PVC pipe to the axle rod tightly, they needed to print two plug-like pieces. The pieces fit like a cap on the top and the bottom of the pipe and had holes for the axle rod.

Step 7: Assemble

  • Using the ball bearings and the alignment blocks attach the generator and the axle rod to the stand and screw the stand to the square base.

Screw the trapezoidal support beam to both the stand and the base.

Step 8: Assemble The Rotor

  • Place the blades at equal intervals around the pipe and screw them.
  • Screw a bolt, a washer, and one of the caps into place down the axis pole.
  • Put the rotor on top of the first cap, and fasten it with the other cap, another washer, and a bolt on top.

Step 9: Attach LED.

Attach the wires from the generator to an LED bulb.

The design can be significantly improved. It can be made lighter, more stable and with less moving parts.

Additionally, they could change the design so they would not need to use the 3D printer since it is a rare and expensive technology. Finally, they would like to store the electricity in a battery, instead of powering the bulb immediately.

[all pictures (c) lisa-torstenson/Instructables/CC BY-NC-SA]

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