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DIY Vertical Axis Wind Generator Built from Free Junk, How to Build one Yourself

Updated: Mar 5, 2023

Wind generator made from free scrap
Homemade Vertical Axis wind Generator

In this blog I describe how I built a vertical Axis generator from free curbside finds. If you're like me and love the idea of repurposing something unwanted into a new usable item like a generator, than this is the site for you. The whole concept of this project is using what you have or can scavenge to build a working generator. Now I'm not a prepper per se, but I think this info could be useful, I hope the situation in the movie The Road never ever happens, but I feel having some knowledge to create your own energy in an emergence may be something to consider. Now this generator was built from all free scraps that was scavenged, so it was Macgyvered together, that's the point of this post. Here's how the story began.

While I drive to work, bike ride or walk in my area there's always unwanted items put out for the trash. In my area they put there unwanted free items out on the retaining walls along the sidewalk or at the end of the lawns, usually there's signs please take or free on them. I personally think this is great, sharing what you don't need with others in your community. Now I'm mostly interested in electrical, electronic or mechanical items, but if you need some dishes, toys, artwork, books, paint, nick knacks, clothes then your also in luck. So it doesn't take long to find the parts you'll need to build a generator, and after a few months you will have all the parts needed for free. Of course you may not live in a city and have access to tons of trash, but you can always find these things at a thrift store for a couple bucks, or online in the free giveaways section.

What parts did I need to build this project, 20L water plastic bottles or water cooler bottles, a front bicycle wheel, an old ceiling fan, scrap wood, old speakers or an electric DC motor for the magnets. The video below has build footage and I show it working, I will describe more of the build processes further in this blog.

First thing you'll need to build a stand or pedestal for your generator, I used a satellite dish stand, also a curb find, but if you don't have one just take some 2/4s and build a stand like you would for a mailbox or bird feeder. Next you'll need a L bracket or chunk of metal to mount your bicycle wheel to the stand. After you cut your water bottles in half you'll need some scraps of wood, I cut free slabs into 1x2'' and wired them to the bicycle wheel, you could use zip ties than just screw the water bottles to the strips of wood, don't forget to brace them at the top.

The Generator / Alternator. The ceiling fan conversion is pretty simple, this is were your going to strip down your fan take off all the blades and split the motor apart, you will need to remove the rotor inside the motor, its the aluminum covered iron piece it wont be needed. Next you'll need some magnets, now if you want to do this professionally you can purchases some neodymium square or rectangular magnets online, now they can be pricey tho, that's where the speakers come into play. If you find some speakers you can remove the ceramic magnet from the speaker basket and then separate the iron pieces that the magnet is sandwiched between. To get the ceramic magnet out try using some solvents and tap with a hammer carefully this should loosen them. I used curved magnets from a car blower fan motor I cracked them in half, you can do the same with the speaker magnets, score them first than crack.

To make the ceiling fan turn into a generator, all you need to do is place the magnets onto the housing of the motor, the stater with the coils stays stationary, glue the magnets or wire them to the housing in a north south north south configuration, you can try different patterns nn ss, some people say it's better. The idea is to have as many magnets as there are poles on the stater, the closer the better but they cant touch the iron stater. Once your generator is put back together simply place the fan motor shaft over the bicycle wheel shaft, you can see in my my video.

Ceiling fan motor generator
I only used a few magnets, as a demo

ceramic magnets used in a ceiling fan as generator
Half of a DC electric motor magnet

After it's mounted you can now try and find the wires that have the best voltage output, there will be many wires coming out of the motor, you can go through them with a voltage meter or attach a LED, just spin slowly, the combination that lights up the brightest use those wires, you can also try doubling up the wires so both sets of coils are being used, don't forget the motor has two or three sets of coils for different speeds and they can be combined for a higher output.

Now having the best two wires with the highest output you can now attach a bridge rectifier to convert to DC and maybe add some capacitors to smooth it all out, you can now hook it up to a small battery pack, keep in mind of the output voltage, you may want to use a buck converter to reduce the output voltage and keep it steady for charging lets say a 4v - 12v battery pack.

Well congrats if you get your generator working, this is a fun project grate for a school project or science fair, now you could scale this up and provide a usable output to charge a battery bank.

What can this generator power, realistically this is just for charging some small batteries to charge a phone, flashlight, radio or run some LED bulbs for lighting, you're not going to run your home off of this small generator lol. Now with that said, if you do a really nice conversion of the ceiling fan motor and have large enough propellers, than you could expect outputs up to 60w or more, that amount of wattage can easily charge a deep cycle battery. This project is not exactly a beginner project but this blog and my video may help you with trying to attempt a DIY build like this if you had to.

I will be updating this post and planning on doing a full fan motor conversion, also I'm trying to get the forum going in here so others and experts are welcome to put in there advise to help use all.

Thanks for reading!

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