Neverland – Windmill


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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Test Cels

Neverland – Solar Panels


Once built the wind turbine to provide power during the windy days, it is time to make a system to meet power when the wind does not blow. The solar panel seems like an obvious choice to supplement the wind turbine. This is the reason because I have chosen to integrate the power from the wind with two solar panels into the roof of the Neverland structure.

I have started out the way I start every project, by looking for information on internet about diy solar panels. As mentioned before for the wind turbine, nowadays, there are a lot of guides and videos on internet about how to build a home-made solar panels. The windmills can be of different types, like vertical axis windmill or horizontal axis windmill, but the solar panels are in general the same, with a box for the array of solar cells and a glass above to protect them.

I have never tried to built a “diy” solar panel, but I think it could be possible even using common tools and inexpensive materials. Also the solar cells can be found as second hand or recycled material. The main problem is that the old cells have to be checked and this operation is for expert people, then I suggest to buy new solar cells indeed they are inexpensive and easy to find, furthermore they should be the only things to buy because the others materials, useful for the system, are easily to find as recycled materials.

The following picture (Figure 1) shows the solar panel how should be at the end of the work.

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How they are made

First of all, we should consider the dimensions of the roof structure in order to install the two solar panels. There are two surface in the roof: the first one has the dimensions of 1×1 m, while the dimensions of the second one are 0,85×1 m. Since we have these surface I have thought that could be interesting build the panels to cover the whole roof with solar cells and then have as much as possible sun power relative to the area available. The following (Figure 2) picture is a drawing of the roof to understand how should appear at the end of the work.

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The quantity of the solar cells to buy depends on the surface where we have to dispose them. After a little research on internet I have chosen to use a 6×6 inches (circa 16×16 cm) mono-crystalline solar cells. The total area of the roof is 1,85 meters square, so dividing by the surface of each cell (0,0256 meters square), we have the total number of the solar cells we need: 70 cells. Each cell produces about 0,5 Volt, so 70 cells in series would give about 35 Volts which would be good for charging two 12 Volt batteries. In the following picture (Figure 3) is shown an example of solar cell. Take note that they are very thin and fragile as glass, therefore they are easily damaged.

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There are a lots of sizes of solar cells; you could choose larger or smaller cells for your panel, but the only important thing is that they have to be all the same size. Cells of the same size produce the same voltage no matter what type they are, while if you use different dimension of cells, the current will be limited by the smallest cell in the group and the larger cells will not work to their full potential.

The solar panels box are two shallow boxes. They could be made with a recycled wooden materials, I think it is very easy to find, probably you have them somewhere in your home. The dimensions of the two boxes, as mentioned before, are: 1×1 m and 1×0,85 m. In the following picture (Figure 4) are represented a simple scheme of the two panels. To protect the solar cells from the weather, the panel will have a plexiglass front, also glass could be used for this, but it is too fragile so I would avoid. Even the wooden parts of the panel should be protected from the action of the weather, so it is useful use a waterproof paint to protect them from water and moisture.

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Once the wooden bases are complete it is time to make the solar cells ready. The first step is to solder and merge the cells. I read something about this operation and the best way to merge the cells is using a low-wattage soldering iron and fine rosen – core solder. Remember the cells are thin and delicate, if you push too hard, you will break the cells. The cells have to be soldered in series: the negative tabs from the top of one cell are soldered to the positive part on the bottom of the next. This connects the cells in series, and adds their voltages. The operation has to be done until you have a string of 6 cells then the whole process has to be repeated twelve times to get 12 strings of 6 cells for the two panels. Even the strings of cells need to be wired in series, so the strings must be staggered. In other words the second, fourth, sixth etc. strings must be rotated 180 degrees respect to the first, third etc. strings. To interconnect the strings of cells could be used copper braid, solar cell tabbing material or even regular wire. The operations mentioned before are shown in the next picture (Figure 5;Figure 6).

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It is time to attach the cells in their box. In this step a tool is very useful: the silicone. There are many methods to merge the cells in the shallow box, but I think that the best is to place a small blob of silicone caulk in the centre of each cell. It is recommended do not use too much glue and do not glue the cells everywhere but only in the centres. The cells and the panel, once mounted, will expand, contract, flex and wrap with change in the temperature in the humidity. If you glue the cells too tightly to the substrate, they will crack in time while gluing them at only one point in the centre allows the cells to float freely on top of the substrate.

Each solar panel in a solar power system needs a blocking diode in series to prevent the panel from discharging your batteries at night or during cloudy weather. Once the strings of cells, the diode and all the connection are ready it is recommend to test the voltages and ampere of the system by ammeter as shown in the next picture (Figure 7).

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If the system it is well connected and the test has a good results you can proceed with closing the solar panels with the plexiglass. The best way to attach the glass on the shalow box is to screw it and create an isolation around the frame with silicone to make a waterproof system. After some hours to dry the silicone the solar panels are ready to be mounted in the roof of Neverland structure. Finally should be add a polarized two-pin jones plug to the end of the panels wires. Mating female plug will be wired into the charge controller of the windmill system, so the solar panel can supplement its power production and battery charging capacity.

As in the past step I will write a table with a list of the things you need to build the solar panels (Table 1).

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Neverland – New Wooden Construction

In the chapters above there are summarized all the steps on how to build “Neverland”: a “DIY” power energy pallets structure. It includes two systems to provide energy: a windmill and a solar panels station. At first I thought that the structure around the vertical axis windmill could be built using disassemble pallets, in fact, three pieces of wooden boards, in each pallet, must to be taken off to allow the air to enter in the structure and moves the windmill inside. After some analysis I understood that maybe the open space in order to enter the air it is not enough, then the new idea. The structure around the windmill system should be always with the woods of pallets, but this time with an open structure and not with a disassembled pallets. The air without obstacles enters inside in a better way and can offer more air to the windmill and this is could be translate as more energy. The following picture (Figure 1) shows the new structure.

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Fix walls with the floor

Neverland – Pallets Structure


I have seen a lot of up-cycled projects with wood shipping pallets over the years, and more often than not they are ugly, but totally useful. Pallets are great for the “DIYer” because they are cheap and easy to work with, but you need to pay attention to what you are catching. At a glance, wood pallets are cheap wood that most people would not bother using for kindling, let alone make a table out of one. Oddly, that’s really the appeal of them. They’re essentially “Lego” for adults because they can be turned into just about anything with minimal effort.

It is also about up-cycling and using materials that are already out there for new and creative uses. You can usually grab them for free from old warehouses and shipping areas. Since most pallets are about the same size (Figure 1), you can find directions online and get to building something without really knowing anything about woodworking.

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First of all, you need to watch what you are doing with pallets because, they get exposed to everything such as harsh chemicals and bugs in their journeys, so it is important to pay attention to what you are looking for. That said, pallets are excellent for outdoor projects. If you can find pallets with a “HT” (heat treated) stamp on them that means they are free of bugs, but it also means the wood may have been treated with chemicals. The nicest pallets seem to come from dry goods industries. They’re usually shipping a lightweight, dry product, so there is no spillage or stains to worry about.

It is entirely possible to grab pallets that are safe, but it is just as likely you will grab one covered in chemicals. So, if you can trace the history you are better off. Picking up any reclaimed wood is going to come with a set of dangers, so be smart and keep your eyes out for signs of contaminants. Shipping pallets make for easy weekend projects for regardless of your skill, and when you choose the right ones they will last a surprisingly long time.


How could be made

In order to build all the structure we need fourteen pallets, preferably EUR Pallets (see Figure 1) to have all of them with the same measures. If it is not possible to find all the same type, it could be problems how to manage them, but I believe the problems will be not very hard to solve. Secondly, all the project, I have made, is based on the European standard measures, then using a different type of pallets, it will change also the dimensions of the structure.

Among the fourteen pallets mentioned before, twelve of them should be disassembled, in fact, into pallets used for the walls, three pieces of wooden boards must to be take off to allow the air enters in the structure and moves the windmill inside (Figure 2;Figure 3).

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We will disassemble the pallets used in the walls and then fill the gaps of the pallets used for the floor and the roof of the structure. So the final result of them should be like the follow Figure 4. That is how pallets should be after filling them, like it was a stage. These full pallets will serve to make the structure floor and roof. If the surface of a single pallets is not enough we could join different pallets in order to obtain a large surface.

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To make the walls we must first join the pallets using the board obtain from other pallets and then adapting them to the structure. The next step is to place them in the floor to brace it and start to fixing it. Should be used some metal brackets and screws wherever you can (Figure 5). The same operation is used to join the walls with the roof. There will be also another part on the top of the roof to fix the solar panel, but we will discuss about it in the next chapters.

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