Neverland – Windmill

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There are a lot of tutorials on Internet, especially on Youtube, about how to make a “Diy Windmill”. All of them use recycled materials as bicycle wheels, plastic bottles or old pieces of wood and iron. The methods described are very helpful, and of course, very smart systems. The chosen about which one is the best is based, first of all, on what you prefer, then, which kinds of row materials you have at home, or you can get easily, and finally, which one is the simplest to build. In the following pictures there are shown some example of wind turbine do it yourself (Figure 1).

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As you can see from the pictures above the windmill could be divided in two types: vertical axis windmill and horizontal axis windmill. In the present guide I have chosen a vertical axis windmill because is easier to build then the other method. Infect, in order to use a system with a horizontal axis, it should be used an instrumentation to transfer the energy from the horizontal axis of windmill to the vertical axis of alternator. It is not very hard to make but I think that it is always better start with an easy things because they surely will be more difficult afterwards.

In conclusion the present guide will describe the method how to make a vertical axis windmill, and in particular, the row materials used to make it are two tanks of 55 U.S. gallon (circa 200 l). The next picture shows as the wind turbine will be at the end of work (Figure 2).

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Mechanical parts

First of all to make the wind turbine, as mentioned in the last paragraph, we need to find two barrels of about 200 litres. The first operations is to slide them in two parts then join in order to have like “helix”. They are joined together with a 3 inch PVC circle as shown in the following pictures (Figure 3;Figure 4).

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The second step is to create the unit that allows the barrel helix to spin. It is composed from 2 units of ball bearing, one in the top and one in the bottom of the barrels, joined at 2 pieces of timber about 9 square inch with a hole in order to put a 3 inch pipe (Figure 5).

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The last step is to put a 3 inch pipe trough the two tanks, and then, to connect the ball bearing systems. The length of the pipe depend how high are the barrels, but considering that the tanks are high about 1 meter, the total length of the pipe should be like 2,5 meter. The next picture shows how it is the final product with the pipe (Figure 6). When we have the completely wind turbine, it should be fixed in the wood structure explained in the chapter before. Once installed the wind turbine in the pallets structure, it has to be connected at the alternator and the all electrical parts to produce the energy. All the electrical part will explain in the next chapter.

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Finally, there is shown a table where are summarized all the materials needed to construct the mechanical parts of the station “Neverland”.

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Electrical parts

Building your own windmill turbine requires a number of items. A windmill, a structure of supporting it off the ground, a motor, an energy smoothing system and an inverter if you want to use your wind turbine generator to power equipments. Each of these parts needs to work efficiently in order to generate energy for your generator. We will discuss the parts and how to assemble a wind turbine in this D.I.Y. Guide.

The structure to support the wind turbine off the ground is substantially a wooden construction that allows the motor to be close to the barrels and connected with them through a gears; they transfer energy from the vertical axis to the power generator. The simplest method in order to do gears is to use a normally cutting boards, maybe recycled, and cut them with saw to cut plastic. Another method to make gears could be a 3D printer, but it is not a very common and easy to have at home.

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The gears are manly of two dimensions: first one is, connected at the vertical axis with a pvc pipe, bigger then the second one, merged to the motor. As mentioned before they must be connected together to transfer the energy from the windmill to the motor or alternator. In the follow pictures you can seen the gears and how they should assemble (Figure 8;Figure 9).

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Once built the gears and their connections, it is time to attach them and the motor to a piece of wood close to the windmill system somehow. The location of the motor is critical and you may need to make a very good mounting point suitable for the windmill axis, cause the energy generated depends how efficiently are the whole system. The pictures below shown how could be the connection between the mechanical and electrical part (Figure 10; Figure 11).

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The motor used is a permanent magnet (pm) motor (Figure 12). There are a number of others methods using car alternators or stepper motors, for my opinion, the chosen is based on what type of power generator you can find easily. I have considered a 24 V, 250 W motors which run at 2650 rpm creating 24 V, comes from an old scooter. It is designed to spin when the electricity is passed through it. However, if we spin the motor, we can create electricity and use the motor as a generator. The speed at which the motor is revolving (the amount of rotations through 360 degrees undertaken in a set time) normally measured in revolutions per minute (rpm) is directly proportional to (increases and decreases) the output of the pm motor. Assuming the wind continues at a constant speed downhill gear creates a larger voltage output for the motor than an uphill gear.

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There are a number of options for smoothing electricity in a wind turbine generator system. The following described method is with a led acid battery. The battery can be used as capacitor that smooths the voltage output from the motor, so the battery has the function of capacitor with the added benefit of providing long term energy storage. Again it is possible to over charge battery which can not result battery fizz. For a 12 V lead acid battery the voltage across the system should be kept between 12 and 15 Volts.

Finally, if you are wishing to use AC mains powered appliances you will need to purchase an inverter. A power inverter is an electronic device or circuitry that changes direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). There are two types of inverters. A pure sine wave inverter creates a smooth AC output. A quasi sine makes a square wave, but some device may not work with quasi sine so the chosen is required in a pure sine inverter. Inverters are designed to work with batteries so they usually work with voltages between 9 and 14 Volts.

In order to connect the device each other I have chosen to use a 30 A “Anderson Connectors”. The connectors hold a good connection but are also designed to pop easily, if you trips on a cable for example, so you do not damage any soldering.

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In order to summarize all materials needed to complete the electrical part it was written the following table (Table 2).

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