Earlier this week we showed you how to make your own Ultrasonic Vapor Polisher. In this post we’ll cover 3D printing of a wind turbine. We’ll give you an overview of the technologies and an introduction to key concepts so you can make one yourself.
The main element for wind power electricity production is a generator. Several designs are publicly available online but this one by Ben Rowland on Thingiverse is a perfect example of a 3D printed structure holding copper coils and magnets making it into an axial flux generator.
It is described as:
Small low power 3 phase A.C. / D.C. generator designed for low energy applications using wind or water power. The generator is stackable allowing you to build up a working system of multiple modules to provide the voltage or current required. Connecting a module in parallel boosts the current and connecting in series boosts the voltage.
You can see detailed description of it in following video:
If you search on 3D model repositories you can find several 3D printable generators with different enclosures and power outputs. Of course, you will need some rare earth magnets and copper wires which are both available commercially or you can recycle them from old electronics parts.
Secondly you will need a rotor with blades to “catch” the wind. You can choose from two main configurations: HAWT and VAWT, by using non-printed materials (like PVC pipe blades), fully printed PLA / ABS parts or a combination of both as you can see in the video below.
For a full tutorial on how to make this wind turbine take a look at: http://www.instructables.com/id/3D-Printed-Wind-Turbine-uses-Bamboo/
If you don’t want to print a turbine, you can make simple HAWT blades with PVC pipes. One of many tutorials can be found here: http://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-pipe-blades-and-rotor-for-HAWT-from-scrap/
An easier to make alternative to the wind turbine solutions as described above comes in the form of a ribbon generator. It produces far less energy but it is simple and functions under a variety of wind conditions.
The energy is generated like this: the wind causes the belt to vibrate in a frame that has magnets attached to it that oscillate between copper coils.
A detailed guide for making a windbelt generator can be found at:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Adjustable-Windbelt/, while all the STL files can be found at: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:67992
For what purposes could you use a setup like this? As always you are limited with your imagination. You will not be able to power your house due to physical limitations and scalability but you could use it in education, to power DIY projects like stand-alone sensors, remote WiFi hotspots or charge your mobile phone in off-grid house. Also do keep in mind that you will need a battery to store the electricity and some kind of rectifier / control electronics (both are easily available and simple to build).
With the increase of 3D printer sizes and precision and the variety of printable materials we foresee a future with more renewable energy solutions you can make at home.