Building a Small Wind Turbine: The Motor

What You'll Need
Drill Bits (7/32 inch, 1/4 inch, 5/16 inch)
Jigsaw with a metal blade
Pipe Wrench
Flat Head Screwdriver
Crescent Wrench
Vise and/or Clamp
Wire Strippers
Tape Measure
Marker Pen
Compass + protractor
1/4 inch #20 Thread Tapping Set
260 VDC, 5 A continuous duty Treadmill Motor with a 6 inch threaded hub or an Ametek 30
30 - 50 Amp Blocking Diode (one-way)
2-inch x 5/16-inch x 3/4 -inch Motor Bolts
3-inch X 11-inch PVC Pipe - or larger depending on the size of the treadmill motor

Making a small wind turbine may seem like an overwhelming task. But nowadays, more and more people are trying this project at home. In fact, it is becoming a popular high school project in some cities. So if high school students can do it, so can you. After all, a small wind turbine is a great step towards a greener home and greener living. Before you proceed to the tools and materials needed as well as the steps involved in this task, you should first learn about the basic parts of a small wind turbine.

Basic Parts of a Small Wind Turbine

  • Tower – your tower will allow you to set up your wind turbine up high into the wind. The higher the better so that it can maximize the clear wind. Note however that a good tower will probably be half of the total cost to make a small wind turbine.
  • DC Motor – you will need to choose a motor that can provide the useful power to your wind turbine. At the same time, make sure to choose a motor that will work under low RPMs. If you choose a motor that was described as “for wind generators”, do not buy those. They will require higher RPMs that you can never produce with a small wind turbine. A homemade generator will produce useful power with RPMs as low as 150-250.
  • Blades – the size you need for your blades will depend on the motor you choose. It's always best to go with a larger size but make sure that your motor can accommodate it. A turbine with only 2 blades will work faster than a turbine with 4 blades. Thus, make sure the number and size of blades are appropriate for the motor you choose.
  • Vane – this it the part that points your turbine into the wind.
  • Electronics – when there's no wind, you'll need an inline diode to stop the turbine from turning. This will help avoid batteries from being drained. Your electronics will also include the kill switch and the controller to charge the batteries when there's wind.
  • Diversion Load – when your batteries are fully charged, you will need a diversion load to consume the extra power being produced by your small wind turbine.

In order to build your own small wind turbine, you will need the following tools and materials.

This step-by-step guide is just one part of several articles on how to build your own small wind turbine. Thus, in this article, you will first learn about how to setup and build your motor for the small wind turbine using the materials above.

Step 1 – Prepare the Motor

Make sure you have all the supplies prepared especially the motor. The 260 V DC, 5A continuous duty treadmill motor is the ideal motor for a small wind turbine. Make sure to get the one with six inches of threaded hub. You can find these motors from surplus stores and online. With these motors, you'll be able to produce about 7 amps with a 30-mph wind. Remember, your DC motor is what will make or break this project. So make sure your motor is the appropriate one for this task.

Now, it's time to move on to the next articles for the next steps.