Affordable Wind Turbine ,You can make!

This is a complete how to article detailing the construction of a homemade, dollar-a-watt wind plant, the Red Baron, designed with the first-time builder in mind. That “trainer” set the stage for the second-generation wind machine you see on these pages . . . a 350-watt generator that isn’t much more difficult to assemble than the first version was, yet which employs a number of fairly sophisticated — but simply executed — features.
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We’ve dubbed our latest project the Blue Max . . . and because of its potential as a reliable small-scale power producer, we opted to go the extra mile and include some machined parts in the design to enhance its serviceability and performance.

Still, even with the added machining expense, this “deluxe” windplant — less the tower and battery storage — is an even better bargain on a cost-per-watt basis than was the simple trainer. Though we spent $347 on new and rebuilt parts, a creative scrounger could probably use a junkyard alternator and second-hand plumbing fittings and build the machine for $200.

It’s apparent from our photos and illustrations that the Blue Max is a first cousin to the earlier design, specifically in the use of fabric “wings” and iron-pipe frame components. Naturally, we’ve upgraded the fitting sizes and utilized an automotive alternator for this beefed-up version, and we’ve also added a disc brake and a tail with an improved span-to-chord ratio.

Furthermore, other features were included to enhance the plant’s performance: Both the rotor shaft and jackshaft are machined to accept industrial-rated drive sheaves and ride on sealed ball bearings mounted in fixed seats. The rotor hub incorporates a pitch control mechanism which, together with the blade frames, allows a smooth and efficient transition from start-up to generating speeds (see the sidebar).

Unfortunately, we weren’t successful in avoiding the use of welded joints entirely . . . but those that do exist are simple enough to be set up and farmed out. As for the threaded pipe joints, we’d suggest drilling the fittings and locking each of them with a 1/4″ thread-cutting screw once the parts are assembled.

The construction details pretty thoroughly . . . but we’ll go over a few specific areas that might benefit from a bit more explanation. First, the bearing fit on both shafts is important. Each unit should be centered firmly in its seat, and the spacers trimmed square to avoid misalignment or uneven wear. Fine adjustments can be accomplished by threading the bearing housings in or out as necessary.

You can build this wind generator, which produces 350 watts and is built from plumbing, electrical and salvaged auto parts. The 14-foot rotor begins charging at 12 mph and delivers maximum output at 26 mph. This blueprint includes a materials list and excellent graphics. For this do-it-yourself project advanced metalworking skills are recommended. Wind Blue Print Here

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