Building a wind generator requires a few basic components and about a weekend’s worth of time to assemble them into a working model. Once completed, your wind generator will be able to turn a passing breeze into electricity that you can use to help power your home. You can either buy these components new or find most of them around the house and save even more money on the project.
The main components of the wind turbine are the blades, rotor and generator. All three of these need to be sized correctly for the wind turbine to work, so the first thing you need to do is decide how much power you want to generate and then start looking for the proper components.
Another way to decide on how large to make the unit is to start with the generator and build the other components to fit it. Since the generator is the one component of the wind turbine that determines how much current is generated, this is a good place to start.
Most generators will produce DC electricity and this can be used to directly charge a bank of batteries, or power a few small DC appliances or lighting. If you need to use AC electricity, there are generators that will produce this directly, but they tend to be more expensive so most people use an inverter to convert the DC electricity into AC for their needs. Also, when choosing a generator try to find one that generates a good amount of power at relatively low RPM since this will allow you to connect the blades and rotor directly to the generator without the need for a gearbox. This will save you cost and complexity and make this an easier project to build.
Once you have the generator selected, you next need to decide on the proper blades for your wind turbine. Most residential turbines use a three blades setup and this configuration seems to provide for the best mix of stability and rotational speed. There are a wide variety of materials to make these blades from and many of the smaller wind turbines use PVC piping to build the blades.
PVC is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and lightweight. Another option is to purchase the blades pre-made and build your own rotor plate to support them. Several sites even sell the blades and rotor as a matched set and because they are so specific in their construction, this is a great option for many homeowners. Even though this is a little more expensive of an option, it can save you a lot of time and will probably provide better results as well.
Now that you have the generator, blades and rotor you simply need to build a small platform to mount them all onto to finish the project. This platform needs to be as lightweight as possible and will need to spin on whatever mast you mount the wind turbine onto so it can shift as needed to face the wind. When you build this platform, you’ll need to mount a tail fin on it to handle this alignment and ensure the blades are always facing into the wind for maximum rotation.
At this point you need to mount the blades and rotor to the platform and connect the shaft from the rotor to the shaft on the generator. If you have selected a generator with a reasonable rotation speed, you can make this connection directly; otherwise you may need to install a gearbox between the two. Once you have all of the components mounted you can install the wind turbine in an area that gets a good amount of strong consistent wind and enjoy the electricity it produces.