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How Do I Build a Wind Generator?

Wind generators can take the shape of traditional windmills.
A horizontal axis wind turbine.
A DC motor can be used for the generator.
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  • Written By: Adam Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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Wind power has intrigued many people as a source of free electricity for quite some time. Building a wind generator at home is a great way to tap into this power source, and can be done by anyone who has the desire and enough available time. The blades of the generator will likely be the most difficult and time-consuming part of the process, but many who have built wind generators report that it is an enjoyable and worthwhile project, especially once completed. The blades and the hub are best made at home, while the motor of the wind generator will most likely be an existing motor from another device. A tower to elevate the windmill above its surroundings is also essential, and can be surprisingly easy to obtain.

Those craftsmen who enjoy working with wood and other such materials will likely find the construction of the blades to be quite enjoyable. Planing or carving the blades by hand is one good way to go about fashioning them, after the wood has been cut to a general shape on a band saw or similar tool. The length of the span of the blades is up to the craftsman, but keep in mind that the longer the blades are, the more power your wind generator will produce. It is important for the blades to be balanced on their hub as closely as possible, so it may be necessary to add or remove weight once they have been mounted.

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Locating a suitable motor for your wind generator that will produce an appreciable amount of power may be the most logistically challenging phase of construction. A good background knowledge of how electricity works, and how generators make it, is beneficial. It is much better to find an already-built motor from a treadmill or a ceiling fan than to attempt to build one, in most cases. Almost any permanent magnet direct current (DC) motor can be a candidate. An internet search for "wind generator motors" will yield other possible solutions as people continue to invent newer motors and new ways to use old ones.

Acquiring a tower on which to mount the wind generator will probably be the easy part, and may even be somewhat profitable. Some television antenna towers make great wind generator towers, and if you know someone who doesn't need his, he may even pay you to take it down and haul it away. These towers are especially common in rural areas where an antenna has to be high in the air to receive broadcast signals, and this may be a good option to consider. However tall the tower may be, they usually disconnect into ten-foot (3 meter) lengths, making them easy to haul away and put to good use elsewhere.

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