Vertical Axis Wind Turbine v1.0
This is a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine which uses wind energy to drive things like an alternator/generator for producing electricity, or air and water pumps for cooling, irrigation and similar.
These relate to the animation to the left.
Tape the pages together so that the 10cm dimension marks overlap as closely as possible. Best way to do this is on a window pane during the day, so you can see both pages showing through.
Flex the metal so that it bends at a score line, then flex back the other way. Do this a couple times and it should split. Do the same for the other score and remove the outer metal. Keep it for later.
With blade and straight edge, score out the template curve, including the triangles at each end. It's not essential that this be 100% perfect, but try to get the first one reasonably nice as you can then use it as a template for the rest.
Score, flex, and remove the two triangles of metal outside the template.
You now have your first former. Repeat steps 2 through 3 so that you have a total of 6 formers. You can use the first former as a cutting template rather than the paper. On three of the formers have the 24cm line drawn on the front, the other three on the back.
Drill each of the 16 holes through all six formers with a 4mm bit. Drill the center hole first, as this is the only one that needs to be reasonably accurate. It can help to put a bolt through that first hole to keep the formers from shifting around as you drill.
If the holes on your template are laid out a little differently than those in the animation it'll be because the template is more up to date.
Remove the template and unpeg the formers.
Draw a line 2cm from one of the 67cm edges, flip the sheet over and draw another line 2cm from the opposite edge on the other side of the metal.
repeat with 2 more sheets and peg all 3 together so that each drawn line is aligned to the edge of the sheet above it.
Mark the edge at 4cm, 6, 8, 10, 18, 26, 34, and then every 2cm up to and including 64cm
Flip the sheets over, making sure they don't lose their alignment. Mark and score the same as the first edge. Make sure both have the 4cm gap on the same edge.
Drill all 3 sheets with 4mm holes at all 8 marks. If you're making a six vane turbine rather than three you can drill all six sheets at once as easily.
Triangulate the 4cm edge in the same way.
Pre-bend the sheet so that it'll be easier to place in the formers. Don't bend it so tightly that you crease the metal.
Fold down the tabs so that the first three at each end fold out, then alternate. You will probably need to give the score marks a couple of flexes before tearing them, or use pliers if they're being particularly stubborn. If you find that you've bent a tab the wrong way leave it as it is, bending it back the other way will weaken the metal. Make sure the three long tabs alternate to each other.
Push up the former so that it's level with the bent flaps.
Place 2 bike spokes in the fold of the former and bend it closed. If you squish the edge of the metal around the spoke with pliers or similar it'll stop it from falling out.
Flip the vane, place the other former, and fold down the tabs in the same manner.
Triangulate the strip as shown.
Mark the rough middle of each end of the 3cm wide face with a line a couple of centimeters long.
Drill the strut through the hole in the vane and attach with a rivet. Repeat for the bottom hole, then the two in the middle.
Cut off 4cm from one of the short edges of both pieces.
Repeat so that you have four 33.5cm sheets (tho you'll only need three of them). Align and peg all three together.
From one of the long edges, draw three vertical lines at 1cm, 9cm, and 19cm.
Drill a 4mm hole at each of the twelve marks.
Drill and rivet the row of holes in the half sheet closest to the back edge.
Drill, rivet and washer the remaining row. The half sheet should be tight across the strut. You should notice that the vane is now a lot stronger and more rigid.
Fold up the overlap on both formers to 90 degrees.
Drill into a small block of wood or rolled up tube of aluminium offcut so that the metal doesn't get pushed in and so that you don't risk drilling your hand.
Rivet each of the holes except for the ones marked:
as these will be bolted to the wheel rim.
It's very easy on some of the holes to just push the inner layer of metal away with both the drill and rivet, so check that each is properly holed and attached. If any aren't you may need to drill out and replace the rivet.
Drill the holes in the opposite former, the one which doesn't attach to the wheel, and rivet all except the center one.
Poke an M4 bolt up through one of the holes in the wheel and through the back most unriveted hole in the bottom former of a vane.
Align the vane so that the other unriveted hole sits near the edge of the wheel rim and mark with a pen through the hole, and also the unriveted hole in the middle of the former.
Rotate the vane away so that you can drill the two marks.
Move the vane back and lock down with two bolts, large washers, and nylocs. Fully tighten all three. This is where the 7mm socket / nut driver comes in handy, as tightening these by hand is a bit of work. You'll also want to use hex head bolts as they'll hopefully lock in against the wheel rim and not turn when you're tightening them. If they do just grab the head with a pair of pliers or a 7mm spanner. Trying to get a screwdriver on these if you use Phillips head bolts or similar is a bit of a nightmare at best, and kind of impossible if you're making a six vane turbine.
Draw lines long ways at 3.5cm from one long edge, and at 1cm from the other long edge on the other side of the metal.
Drill a 4mm hole 1cm in from each end of the strut in the middle of the 1cm flat area. Drill and rivet a hole at the midpoint.
The top of the vanes need to not be twisted relative to their base. Place the turbine on the ground so you can look down on it, stand over one of the vanes so that you can see the long edge of both formers. Twist the top former so that it lines up with the bottom one.
Optionally, you can add an extra three vanes to the underside of the wheel. This will give you twice as much power, and also make the turbine more stable as it effectively moves the contact point to the center of the turbine rather than the bottom.
Mark each piece 3cm from one end and in a bench vice or similar bend the metal to a right angle. Make sure that all the various angles are pretty close to 90 degrees or the turbine won't be straight.
Nest the two pieces so that the 18cm length is sitting inside the 20cm. Drill a10mm hole (which should be the diameter of the axle of the bike wheel on your turbine) through both 3cm tabs of metal. Make sure the pieces don't slip from each other while you're drilling.
Take a spare bike axle which is the same thread as that on your wheel, and wind on a nut. Insert this through the 20cm steel piece, add and tighten another nut, add the 18cm piece, then another nut.
Drill a 6mm hole in the gap between the two pieces, as shown, and then another through both about 1cm down, and a third hole near the other end.
Take everything back apart.
Congratulations, you've made a wind turbine!
These are some potential ways to attach applications to your turbine so that it can do useful work. There's not really a one size fits all answer to exactly what or how you should go about this, as it will depend heavily on your particular situation, and these possible solutions are meant only as a guide. If and when you get to this part of the process please email us directly or check out the Facebook group, where the community can help you build what you need and you can follow what others have done already. Most builds are pretty straightforward, and it's all been done before.
A: DC Generator.
This turbine can be plugged into and used to power a variety of applications, such as mechanically attaching a pump in order to move water and compress air, but you're probably going to be using it to generate electricity to charge batteries.
Attaching is mostly just a matter of stripping everything off the motor, attaching a pulley to the shaft, running a toothed timing belt around the wheel rim (with a layer of nylon strapping bolted to the wheel to protect the belt and give it something to grab onto) and attaching the motor to the pole frame as shown, with long bolts so you can easily adjust the tension on the belt.
B: The Pole.
There's various things you can attach the turbines to, including the roof of your house, a boat, a van, or a radio mast, but the most standard option especially if you're in a rural area, is a metal pole with guide ropes.
The only wrinkle on this configuration is that it's hinged near the ground so that the whole pole and turbine can be dropped for maintenance or in the event of a wind storm. This is just a matter of removing the D shackle from the anchor point assembly to which the horizontal boom arm is attached, and using the boom carefully lowering the entire assembly to the ground. You might want to have some kind of stand where it comes down to hold up the turbine. Raising it again is just the reverse of this process, making sure after that all the cables are nicely taught and the pole is vertical.
You'll want to use four cables rather than three as it will make the whole thing more stable and secure while being raised and lowered.
C: Bike Chain and DC Generator(s)
A toothed timing belt and a pulley to match work well, but are not always the easiest to source in some parts of the world. A simpler, and potentially more effective, method is to use a ~2.1-2.2 meter loop of bike chain (you'll need to combine two chains using a chain breaking tool, which anywhere that services bikes will have) and one or three DC permanent magnet motors acting as generators. Two of these will act as chain tensioners when you tighten the hose clamps which are strapping all three together, with short sections of spring in between to keep them pushed apart. Something like car windscreen wiper motors with their gearing assembly cut off would work well, and are easy to find anywhere in the world. If you're just using one generator, for example a motor from a mobility scooter or treadmill, the configuration is pretty much the same except with short sections of metal tube and bike gears just freewheeling on a bolt or other axle to act as tensioners.
D: Electric Bike Wheel.
The perfect solution for generating electricity from the turbine is to use an electric motor hub bike wheel. If you can find one. The design uses a wheel anyway, and pretty much every aspect of power inputs, outputs, rpms etc fit quite nicely into a direct drive ~300 watt eBike wheel. All you do is build the turbine on it and plug the wires into your electrical system. Unfortunately however, outside of a few countries they can be difficult and expensive to source.
E: Home Made Alternator.
This option will give you by far the most control over you power generation in terms of voltage, rpms, and overall wattage. It's also probably the most labour and knowledge intensive. Essentially it's just a circle of magnets passing over a circle of copper wire coils, but exactly what configuration of these will depend on various factors. It is, however, a problem which has been solved a thousand times before, and there is a heap of good information about it all online. The Facebook group is a good place to ask questions and find resources on this.
F: “The Hardcore”.
The standard build of the turbine has been tested up to 105 km/h and withstood several fairly serious storms, but if you want to play it extra safe this configuration will increase the maximum wind it can survive. It's basically just an extra brace and contact point on the other side of the wheel axle, and two extra triangles of aluminium within the top and bottom struts to prevent the vanes from being able to deviate too far from vertical and so risk being ripped off the wheel. The only other difference is that you'll want to bolt the braces inside the poles rather than the outside so that they are more on the center line of the turbine and will sit nicely in the circles cut in the two triangles.
G: Daisy Chain.
About half the total cost for a standard installation of the turbine is in the pole and its various fittings. But there's no reason why you can only have one turbine per pole. The lower ones will get less wind and so put out less power than the top ones, but it should still be worth doing to basically cover the entire length of the pole. And you can have some generating electricity, some pumping water, whatever you like.