How to Build a DIY Toy Wind Turbine for Your Kids

windturbineThis fun DIY project is easy enough to make with kids, and is a great way to get them excited about renewable energy. It doesn’t produce a ton of power, but kids will be amazed at their ability to illuminate a light bulb all on their own.

1. What You’ll Need

Some parts can be found around the house or at a hardware store:

  • 5 1″ PVC 90° Fittings
  • 3 1″ PVC T Fitting
  • 1 1″ PVC Coupler
  • 6 6″ Pieces of 1″ PVC Pipe
  • 1 24″ Piece of 1″ PVC Pipe
  • 1 2″ Piece of 1′ PVC Pipe
  • 2 Alligator Clips
  • At Least 3 15-18″ Sheets of Balsa Wood, Pie Plates, Index Cards or Paper Plates
  • Wire Strippers
  • Duct Tape
  • Glue
  • Drill

Some parts might need to be ordered:

  • 1 Wind Turbine Generator (consists of a small DC motor, but craft or hardware store models won’t work)
  • 4′ 22 Gauge Hook Up Wire
  • 1 Crimping Hub
  • At Least 6 1/4′ Diameter Poplar Dowels

Some of these parts can be specially ordered from KidWind.

2. Make the Bottom

Take 4 90° PVC fittings, 2 PVC T fittings, and 4 6″ PVC pipe lengths. Fit them together to make the side bars and “feet”. Drill a hole in one of the leftover T fittings and use it as the middle piece so that the wires can be hidden inside the PVC.

windturbine2

3. Make the Spinning Part

The motor needs to be connected to the wires. Wrap the motor in duct tape to keep it in the PVC.. Take 1 90° fitting, 1 PVC coupler and 1 2″ length of PVC and connect them to form a single, L-shaped piece. The motor can then be put into the coupler, with the wires threaded through the newly-made PVC tube.

windturbine3

4. Putting it All Together

Now take the wires and continue threading them down the base through the hole that you drilled earlier. Put the L-shaped tube on the top. Attach the PVC base to the tower using the T fittings.

 

5. Constructing the Blades

Cut blade shapes out of the balsa wood or paper plates. Attach these to the dowels, and insert the dowels into the crimping hub. Make sure the hub is tight.

windturbine4

6. Test it!

Take a Christmas LED lightbulb, strip the wires and connect them to the ones used in the turbine. This project is both fun and an excellent opportunity to teach kids about forces, energy transfer and electricity.

More construction details can be found here.

Images (c) KidWind

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