How to Build Your Own Backyard Wind Turbine on a Budget

How to Build Your Own Backyard Wind Turbine on a Budget

Building your own backyard wind turbine can be an enjoyable and cost-effective project. With some planning and elbow grease, I was able to build my own turbine and generate clean energy at home. Here is how I did it on a budget.

Choosing the Turbine Design

The first step is deciding what type of wind turbine design to build. Here are some of the main options to consider:

Horizontal Axis Turbines

Vertical Axis Turbines

Savonius Turbines

For my budget backyard build, I opted for a simple Savonius vertical axis turbine. This gave me a fun project I could handle myself without complex machinery or control systems.

Sourcing Materials

With the Savonius design selected, it was time to gather my building materials. Here are the main items I needed:

I was able to source most of these items secondhand for very low cost:

Buying these materials new would have cost hundreds. With patience and elbow grease, you can really build a turbine on the cheap!

Turbine Construction

With materials ready, it was time for the fun part - building. My main steps were:

1. Cutting Blades

I used sheets of plywood to form my Savonius blade halves. I cut two semicircular "scoops" with a jigsaw, making sure they formed a full cylinder when mated.

Tip: Seal any edges with polyurethane to protect from moisture.

2. Assembling Housing

I sandwiched the blade halves between circular end caps cut from plywood. The stationary end cap was attached to a central metal shaft. I used brackets to reinforce the structure.

3. Adding Alternator

I attached a scavenged alternator to the spinning end cap to function as my generator. Belt pulleys transferred rotation from the spinning blades into the alternator.

4. Testing Rotation

Before final assembly, I tested that the blades could spin freely. I also tested my alternator wiring to verify it generated energy.

5. Final Assembly

After verifying all systems, I assembled the full turbine onto a salvaged metal tower for installation outside. I wired the alternator to a charge controller and battery bank to store power.

Installation and Use

Once fully constructed and wired, I installed my turbine in my backyard. Pick a site with as few obstructions as possible that still receives decent wind. Securely mount your turbine to anchored concrete piers or screw piles.

My Savonius turbine reliably starts spinning at wind speeds around 7-8 mph. It might not generate immense amounts of power, but it was a fun project that provides clean energy. And it didn't cost much!

With some thriftiness and DIY spirit, you can definitely build your own functional wind turbine on a budget. Just take it slow, do your research, and make sure to safely install and operate your creation. Then enjoy the free clean power!