written by: Raunekk•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/28/2010
Everyone of us has seen a windmill and also know about the benefits it entails. Many of us might have even thought of making one, however a small one which we can use it at home. The following article provides an opportunity to learn as to how to make a working windmill at home. Excited? Read on.
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With all the chaos regarding global warming and energy crises going around in the world today, you might as well think of contributing a bit to improve the present situation, however, in your own way. For most of us using a renewable source of energy for our own house might seem to be a farfetched idea. However, using the same in our lives will help in two important ways – first, it will reduce the electricity bill and second, it will provide a sense that we are contributing something to the world in our own way. But the first thing that will come to everyone’s mind is how to do we do it? With the lack of resources and technical know-how, it seems to be a difficult task. However, it is easier than you think. Want to know more? Read on!
The first and foremost thing is to decide what energy we will use to assist us in this task. There are two main energies – solar and wind, which are available everywhere and which can be put to use easily. In this article we will see as to how we can utilize wind energy to produce usable renewable energy. For utilizing wind energy, the simplest and the most prominent machine that we can think of is a windmill. A wind mill, powered by the energy of the wind, is used to generate energy. Usable energy is created by a wheel of adjustable blades when rotated by wind. Making a windmill at home is not at all expensive these days and anyone can do this in less than two days, provided the requisite materials are available.
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Before taking up the task of making a windmill, it is important for us to know the different parts of a windmill and things that will be required in making them.
Turbine or blades
Tower and tail
Though a windmill works best in the area where wind is largely available, it could also be set up in a garden, backyard, or even on a roof. Before starting, one must make a thorough research on these and decide upon the size and shape of the windmill required. Moreover, one will also require wrenches, a drill, and a saw depending on the kind of windmill that has to be built. If one doesn’t have a motor at home, it is better he buy a new one. Few other things that we will require are a few ABS or PVC pipes, a circular aluminum plate, thick aluminum sheet, a toothed pulley or gear, a wooden plank, clamps, a steel pipe, adhesive, and a semicircular vent cover
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Few Important Points
A windmill design consists of rotor blades which are moved by the flowing wind. The blades are attached to a shaft which in turn moves a generator assembly, generating energy. However, while making a windmill there are few points that one needs to keep in mind.
The first and foremost thing to be checked is that all the blades are of same size and have smooth surface. Secondly, the body assembly should be strong and the entire structure should be firmly held together. The entire unit of the windmill also needs to be balanced using a tail, which will also check that the blades of the windmill are used to the highest capacity for energy production.
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For constructing the blades, we will use an ABS/PVC pipe. It is to note that we are making a small sized windmill and thus will incorporate all the things that are easily available at home. However, if someone doesn’t have a spare ABS pipe, it can be easily bought from a nearby hardware shop. A 6 inch thick and 24 inch long pipe piece would suffice for making the blades. Take the PVC pipe and cut the pipe into 4 equal pieces. The blades should be cut in the shape as shown in the figure. The best procedure for this is to cut one piece and make the rest keeping the first one as reference. Once done, make the surface and edges of the blades smooth using a sand paper, so that they don’t hurt the handler and also increase the efficiency of the blades.
The second step is to make a hub on which the blades will be attached. For this we will take an aluminum disk which is approximately 5 inches in diameter and 0.25 inches thick. Also we will need a device such a toothed pulley or a gear to attach the aluminum disk to the motor shaft. The blades and aluminum disc should be drilled and bolted together as shown in the figure. Then bolt the aluminum plate to the toothed device to complete the hub. Cover the side of the hub with bolt heads with any kind of covering such as vent cap as shown in the figure.
The third step involves mounting the hub assembly on the motor shaft. However, for this we need to make a motor assembly. Cut a wooden strap of appropriate length and fix the motor at one end of the wooden strap using jubilee clips or thin aluminum clamps. Also cut a PVC or any material pipe from the center to make a semi-circular covering for the motor to protect it from rain water and adverse weather. On the other end of the wooden strap attach the tail of the windmill. For this, cut an aluminum sheet into an appropriate size and attach it the wooden strap by making a slit and using an adhesive.
One can also make a tower for attaching the windmill on it. This can be done by using any iron pipe and floor flange and fixing it to the base of the windmill apparatus as shown in the figure. The tower of the mill will ensure that the unit is high enough to catch wind.
Once done, mount the blade and hub assembly on the shaft of the motor and clamp it. The mechanical part of the windmill is now ready and all that remains is to attach the batteries to the motor. Connect the batteries to the motor for storing the extra power generated. Once this is done, your windmill is ready for use. However there is one more very important device that needs to be attached to the windmill and that is the controller. A Controller is easily available in the market and is not at all expensive. The controller controls the voltage generated by the windmill and accordingly sends it to the batteries for storage.
With the prices of the electricity soaring high and everyone trying to save their hard earned money, a windmill is the best option for making a humble effort at home to save energy.