Recycling is essential for sustainable development, as well as renewable energies, so we explain how to make your own mini wind turbine using only recycled material. With it you will be able to take advantage of the air currents to produce a small electric current, enough to light a small light bulb or LEDs. The procedure described can be modified and carried out on a larger scale to achieve greater power and can even be used as a homemade hydro-generator, as an example of which you have the tutorial to make a domestic wind turbine that we published some time ago.
This article is interesting in order to understand how hydroelectric or wind power plants work, as well as to produce small amounts of energy anywhere. There are many other uses that I leave to your choice, the limit is your imagination. One possible practical use I can think of right now, for those who like meteorology, is to connect it to an electronic circuit that, depending on the incoming voltage, displays a numerical value (with a bicycle speedometer or make it yourself) and you can measure the wind speed as if it was a digital anemometer.
Materials for the mini wind turbine
- An electric motor of direct current or dynamo. They can be found in toys, some devices that integrate small fans, printers, CD/DVD players, bicycle dynamos, some hand-held torches, etc. Remember that DC motors can be used as a motor (if a current is applied they produce a rotation) or as a generator (if made to rotate they produce a current), i.e. they are reversible (this is not the case with all electric motors).
- Fan blades. You can use the fan blades from an unsuitable computer fan or make your own blades from lightweight plastic.
- Two-coloured cables (preferably red and black). You can obtain them from the same devices mentioned above.
- Solder and soldering iron.
- Metal/wooden structure to support the motor. You can use one of the metal structures from an old computer tower or make it yourself.
- Small bulb or LED (to test that it works). These can be found in some light-up toys and other everyday materials and appliances. Remember that changing the direction of rotation will also change the polarity of the current, so be careful if you connect other DC devices that are sensitive to these changes.
- Splice sheet.
- Nural glue (for plastic/metal).
Once we have extracted all the necessary materials from the different devices we want to use their parts, we proceed as follows:
- The first thing to do is to mount the support or tower where the engine will be supported. For this we can use the recycled material mentioned above or build it using PVC or wood. Either way, it must be a rigid support for the engine to be adequately supported.
- The DC motor is then put in place and fixed with glue.
- Now we solder the tips of the coloured wires to the motor terminals. The ends must be bare without the polymer coating so that they make contact and the tin adheres well, of course. The other ends of the cable can be connected to a plug socket where the light bulbs or device to be supplied with power will be connected.
- Now we can remove the fan blade and attach it to the motor. We can fix it with glue to the shaft.
Our new homemade mini wind turbineThe last thing left to do is to check that it works. To do this we can use a hairdryer or air blower to move the blades and see if the light or LED illuminates.
More information - How to make a wind turbine, How to make a homemade anemometer, How to make a wind turbine, How to make a windmill