Author Topic: Anyone build a windmill?  (Read 7240 times)

Offline JoshRonin

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Anyone build a windmill?
« on: August 07, 2010, 07:41:00 PM »
I am interested in building a windmill.  Just looking around for ideas right now.  Thought I'd ask if anyone has done one and ask for tips.

Offline Oakie

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 09:57:58 AM »

I am also interested in plans for a simple windmill if anyone is willing to share.


http://www.bisonpumps.com/videos-hand-water-pumps.htm

This is what I will probably end up with.  I haven't priced it but it has to be cheaper than any windmill I've found.
It supposedly works with up to a 300' well.  I'm curious if any of you are using hand pumps.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2010, 04:35:34 PM »
I've not built one yet, but I have been acquiring the materials to do so.

The first one I will probably build is of this style. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savonius_wind_turbine There are lots of videos on youtube about building them.

I watched the decorative windmill my dad had built out of an old vacuum cleaner motor break off and cartwheel across the yard in a strong wind. I've not enough yard to try my own run-away 'traditional' windmill. That, and I think the city would take offense to it. It's easier for me to hide a Savonius as lots of people wouldn't recognize it for what it is.

Offline chrisdm8

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2010, 06:09:18 PM »
I've also been hoping to tackle this project someday.

I saw a Make Magazine show on PBS a while back with an interesting method of making the blades from PVC pipe. Here is a link:

http://makeprojects.com/Project/Make-a-Wind-Generator/9/1

Offline Shorty

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 03:53:26 PM »
I have found several windmill plans here thanks to all, now it's up to me. First step to goodbye electric company, soon I hope.

Offline Jango

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2011, 08:52:33 PM »
I always thought this design was simple enough to follow.

http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/


Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 07:11:44 PM »
Type 'vertical windmill' into YouTube & take a look.

These windmills turn no matter which way the wind blows. They look fairly easy to build from inexpensive parts that are easy to find. They also seem to work at roof, or even ground, level.

I'm looking into them because they seem like something I can build one at a time until I've got enough to make a lot of power. Nice additions to passive parts of a well rounded home power production system.

Offline chrisdm8

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 07:30:14 PM »
Good call ... I did a quick search and turned up this ... what an awesome idea for a windmill. Wonder how well it works under load. Either way, if you can pick up an old blower motor for scrap metal prices it's well worth a shot!

http://www.howcast.com/videos/2967-How-To-MAKE-a-VERTICAL-AXIS-WIND-TURBINE-FROM-SCRAP-METAL-WINDMILL-ALTERNATIVE

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 12:59:00 AM »
Great video. I'm a big fan of Dan over at Green Power Science. He's doing a lot to educate & inspire people to explore alternative energy options.

Wonder how much power you could get from one of those.
If a person were slick he or she could paint them up like yard decorations so others wouldn't immediately recognize them for what they are.

Offline Perfesser

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 09:52:56 AM »
Making something that spins in the wind is easy. Something that produces a useful output on the other hand is not.

Like real estate, location location.
For most of us, there isn't enough steady wind to bother unless you go very tall tower. Very hard to find something that works in the 5-10 mph breeze most of us see.
Driving a generator takes a LOT of force.
I suggest http://www.tlgwindpower.com to learn some more. His info is no bull, real world.


Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2011, 06:35:52 AM »
Perfesser, that's a good point.  I guess if you really could make a usable amount of power at ground level in the real world, we'd already be doing it. It's pretty well established that one mill at ground level is not enough to run one generator powerful enough for usable power at a reasonable price.

I wonder, though, if multiple cheap units could be used to run just one generator to make a usable amount of power at ground level.  I see people trying to use one windmill to turn one generator. (3 mills running 3 generators)  I've been wondering if anyone has tried linking several units to just one generator.  If possible, the cheap vertical windmills seem like good candidates.  My thinking (and granted some would balk at that term applied to my musings ;D) is to multiply the minimal output of an inefficient mill at ground level to get the production of one, well built unit on a tower.

I'm fully aware this might be a totally wrong way to approach this, but the idea still tickles a bit.  If you can build one unit dirt, dirt cheap that will provide 1/5 of the power you need to a generator powerful enough to make usable power, would 5 or 6 more mills linked to that same generator be enough to run it?  In other words, put the money into a good generator and use multiple DIY mills made from scrap products, like drums from broken down fans or barrels cut in half, to power it.

I'm picturing belts to link the mills and a step-down pulley to turn the torque to speed at the generator. Inefficient, yes, but if the cost of mills is cheap or even free, then perhaps worth it.  I've got 5 acres and that 5-10mph breeze you mentioned. Irks me that I'm not using it.

I'm looking down the barrel and waiting.  Go ahead and let me have it.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2011, 10:38:52 PM »
I wonder, though, if multiple cheap units could be used to run just one generator to make a usable amount of power at ground level.

I tried something like this. It was very poorly made, more of a mockup than a proof of concept, but it showed me that a lot of energy is lost in the linkages.

Also, the units have to be far enough apart that they don't interfere with each other. They chop up the wind pretty bad and it doesn't have any 'umph' down wind for a ways. If you have all your units lined up in a neat line and the wind blows down the line, only the first one will have  any power to it.

Offline ag2

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Re: Anyone build a windmill?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2011, 09:04:08 PM »
I assume that by windmill, you mean the type to create 'tricity and not the water pump type.

My dad and I built a small one for the farmhouse almost 30 years ago.  Here's an inexpensive setup.  My dad used an automotive radiator fan and mounted it to an automotive generator (not alternator).  After some additional sheetmetal work to create a housing unit and tail, we mounted it on a pole.  This was used to charge an automotive battery which we kept in our attic.  We installed some DC lighting in the old farmhouse.  Super handy during regular, storm-induced power outages.

My description might sound a bit redneck, and perhaps it was, but my dad did some nice metal work and paint to make it nice.  He was at artist (and inventor), so it actually was very decorative.