How To Make a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine ( VAWT )

Intro : Building a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine ( VAWT )

When building this turbine we will be using some powertools.
If you are not used to working with powertools ask someone who knows how to use them.
After building this turbine you will still need you fingers so.


First Step : Tools and parts

- Jigsaw and or band saw
- Hand saw
- Lathe
- Drill press or hand drill
- Drill bits
- Screwdriver
- Tab tool
- Ruler
- Pencil
- Compass
- Sanding paper
- Vise ( it makes work more easy)
- Wrenches
- 2 clamps

- PVC pipe
- Waterproof wood "concrete form plywood is the best"( if you don't have that you will have to protect it with a coating )
- 2 Bearings ( bottom one needs to be able to handle a load )
- Grease nipple
- Wire rod ( 2 sizes ) ( 1 big one and 4 small ones ) ( Stainless if possible )
- Bolts and washers ( 2 sizes ) ( Stainless if possible )
- A piece of 40 mm round aluminium ( Alloy ) ( it will hold the bottom bearing )
- 2 Angle irons
- 3 eye screws

Step 2 : Let's get started

First thing you will do is measure your PVC pipe and cut it in 4 equal pieces. ( mine was 2 meters long so that was 50 cm a piece )
When you have done that you will cut it over the hole length.
Now you should have 8 pieces ( they should be exactly the same size! )


Step 3 : Making the 2 disks of the turbine

Take 2 pieces of waterproof plywood ( 12 mm )
Measure in 2 directions to get the middle of the plate and mark that point.
Take your compass and make a circle of 40 cm diameter.
Grab your jigsaw and cut them out.


Step 4 : Divide your circle in 8 pieces

Here is a link i have found to do this job quickly and precise.
You only have to do this on one plank.
In the next step i will explain why.


Step 5 : Cutting the slots for the turbine blades

The way i did it was to draw the lines on 2 of the planks and then mark all the bows that i had to cut.
This i would not do again! I think its better to mark only one.
The bows you draw like this: take one half pipe and hold it against one of the 8 lines you drawn before. Draw a line on the inside and the outside of the pipe. The one where you marked the bows on you put on top and then you clamp them together. When you cut them they will be exactly the same. I used a sawblade thats normally meant for cutting metal. That saw blade just a fraction thinner then the blades.
On the side of the 2 disks you make a marking that runs over both of them. This way when you are assembling the turbine the disks will line up perfectly.
What you also should do when there still clamped is drill the centerhole to the size of your big wire rod and the 4 holes for the small rods. Divide the 4 rods equally over your turbine as you can see on the picture below. Stay about 2 cm away from the bows. That way you can still place some washers on your rods without them touching the blades. Take the clamps of and mount the turbine blades and the 4 smaller rods as shown in the last picture. It needs to be a tight fit !


Step 6 : Making the center wire rod to size

First you mount the top of the turbine just as you did the bottom in the step before.
Pay attention to the markings you made on the sides of the disks when they were still clamped.
This way the same cuts will be nicely on top of each other and the turbine will wobble less after its finished. You might want to use a hammer and a little piece of wood to not damage the blades or the disk when you hit it. Make sure the blades fit tight and the 4 little rods are in the right place. It was not a easy job. Good luck . hehe

Now we will fit the big wire rod with the necessary bolts and washers.
What were going to do now is mark where we will cut of the wire rod.
The first picture is a view from the bottom disk.
I put 2 bolts there and they will rest on the bottom bearing.
I left the wire longer there so i can connect a generator of some sort there.
The upper disk is the second picture and the rod will be cut shorter.
On that side we will only have a bearing to balance the turbine when its in place on its frame.


Step 7 : Turning the wire rod down to the right size

If you have a lathe this is a pretty straight forward job.
I made the rod 10 mm thick on both sides.
The pictures show the bottom side of the wire rod.
Make sure it fits nicely because this will determine how smooth your turbine will run.


Step 8 : Making the holder for the bottom bearing

The bearing i used is made out of 3 parts as shown on the first picture.
This bearing is made to cope with vertical weight.
If you watch closely you will see that the 2 disks don't have the same inner size hole.
The disk with the biggest hole ( the one on the right ) is the top part of the bearing where the turbine will rest on.
I cut the hole out on the lathe just the diameter of the bearing. Do this according to the size of the bearing you will use .
Don't make the hole to deep!
Make sure that the top part of the bearing is just sticking out of the holder.
The reason for this is that the top ring will spin together with the turbine and would otherwise rub against the inside of the holder and would slow your turbine down and wear it out quickly.
You will also have to drill a hole through the bottom of the holder so the wire rod can fit through.
Make it slightly bigger then the size of the rod so ones its mounted it will not tough the sides.
You have seen that this bearing has no grease in it so we will have to install a grease nipple.
Use a thread cutting tool to do so.
First drill a hole according to the tread and the nipple size you will use. Mine was M6.
Use some cutting oil because your cutting in aluminium and otherwise it will get all rough on the inside. Run the cutting tool for about 1 turn and then run it back for half a turn. This way the metal is cut inside and you will not brake your tool. Use the 3 stages of cutting till you reach the right tread.


Step 9 : Making a frame around your turbine

First you get two pieces of wood that are exactly the same length.
Make sure they are wide enough so you can make a strong structure.
Look for the center of both of them and make a hole the size of the bearing holder for the bottom one and the size of the top bearing for the top one.
I was lucky i had a big drill to do so. If not take your biggest drill bit and drill it out and then cut the rest out with a round axe.
For the bottom one you have to drill the center of the hole trough with a drill one size bigger then the size of the big wire rod that will fit into the bearing. For the bottom one you will have to cut out a little slot so the nipple can fit inside and that you have enough space to put in the grease pump. You can see what it should look like on the pictures.
Take two more straight pieces of wood for the sides. ( I had some plywood so i used that )
Take the bottom piece with the bearing holder inside and put it on a flat surface.
Use one of the side pieces and screw it on there. First drill some holes in the side so the screws will go in better. Make sure its perfectly square. ( 90 degree angle )
Do the same thing for the other side.
Now take your turbine thats completely assembled and lower it into the bottom bearing.
Now you take the top piece and slide the bearing over the big rod. Measure on both sides of the turbine and make sure you measure the same distance, that way your frame will be perfectly square.
The movie shows how well it spins. ( by hand of course )


Step 10 : Building the support for the turbine

This stuff i did not really measure.
I made sure that everything was in perfect line with the axle of the turbine.
Just build it as you can see from the pictures.
Just make sure its strong cause there will be a lot of power on it.
I did not connect any generator yet.
Had no idea what connect to it.
I was thinking of a otherpower generator. ( coils and neo magnets )
Idea's are welcome
I hope you enjoyed building this turbine.
Keep me informed on your building


Last Step :

Source :

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