I started this windmill project a couple of years ago
as an experiment and it has since developed into not only a reliable wind
generator but a rewarding hobby.
Please note that what is described here is not a complete
system but an ideas platform, to allow you to develop your own windmill.
The results depend on your own abilities and the final location
of the windmill. But with care in construction, especially the propeller blades
and a position with 20km/h or higher wind speeds, you can expect to achieve
output powers of 300W or better.
Construction will be divided into three sections: alternator,
platform, and blades.
This month we will concentrate on the alternator. Next month
will be for the platform to support the alternator, propeller and tail assembly
and after that we will show you how to make a set of high-performance timber
But first up a reality check: are you sure you want to build a
windmill of this scale? You’re going to need at least an acre of land – it’s not
a good idea erecting a two-metre diameter windmill on a six-metre mast in your
suburban back yard, unless you get along VERY well with your neighbors!
Inside the Fisher & Paykel Smartdrive washing machine motor - top left is the magnet hub, top right the stator, centre is the drive shaft, while at the bottom are the retaining plates and nut. We need all these parts for our windmill.
Some people consider windmills visual pollution and will
complain. And you should get approval from the local authorities before putting
up the mast. In addition, you will need good average winds and a location with a
clear view (from the windmill’s perspective). This windmill won’t generate any
useful power unless the wind speed is over 20km/h.
Despite what many think, windmills are not noisy. You will not
normally hear any noise from a windmill unless you are almost standing next to
it (or unless the bearings are shot!).