Build Your Own Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine On The Cheap

March 15, 2011

The Zoetrope is a vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) made from materials commonly found at your local hardware store and a few easily purchased online, and Applied Sciences has made the decision to “open source” the turbine for everyone who wants to try their hand at making one. With videos and a downloadable PDF construction guide, it looks like anyone with a menial amount of handyperson abilities could make one for themselves.

vertical axis wind turbine

These type of vertical-axis wind turbines are quiet, really strong, and don’t require too much wind in order to operate efficiently. I am thinking I may just give building one of these a shot myself!

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (19)

  1. David says:

    Michael, I do seem to remember seeing what you are talking about here:

    http://thefieldlab.blogspot.com/

    It was somewhere in his archives, but you will have to go looking for it as I didnt bookmark it…

  2. Excellent find David! Love to see more small home grown energy solutions like this.

    Along the same lines I’ve searched high and low for a small sterling engine based system with a parabolic reflector aimed at the sun for the heat source. Seems like it would work but can’t find anyone that’s made it work on a home scale. (just planing a seed) :-)

    • Marya says:

      homestead survival has one made from recycled cans, a bit of wood and some plexiglass…

  3. k says:

    great so this is spinning on the deck , what do you connect it to to actually generate electricity…dont see any wires or generators, batteries…all this is is a squirrel cage..

  4. L says:

    The link to the design is in the article at “PDF construction guide” In case it’s not working for your computer, the actual link is http://www.applied-sciences.net/library/data/zoetrope-wind-turbine.pdf

  5. Hillary says:

    I’m an environmental science teacher and think it would be awesome to build one of these as an end of year project with my class. Any idea how much all the supplies cost and about how many man hours this would take?

  6. JMBar says:

    For Michael Jantzen – check out sterling engines at gyroscope.com.

  7. benny says:

    why arnt we mass producing these in the factories in Michigan that have been abandoned from the decline of the auto industry???

  8. Lasse Lorentzen says:

    Great info. A shame it costs a fortune to get permission for this – 11.000 euro in denmark..for the money the gov loses on selling us electricity, i might disguise it however – any ideas on that take?

  9. This is awesome. Does it work? So, what sort of output are we looking at?

  10. Sonny says:

    Great info!! Thank You!

    Lasse – You could disguise it as a piece of moving art. Paint it or add vinyl stickers for colors. Put some other items with wind movement around it to complete your collection. :)

    • Marya says:

      and have the base as a box…built up…run your wires thru pvc pipe that is buried to where you need them to be…

  11. This is great. Did you build it? If so, how much power is it generating for you?

  12. Pedro says:

    Could you tell me what is the out put of this turbine, and I would need to connected it to the house grid, battery,etc.
    Thank you

  13. “why arnt we mass producing these in the factories in Michigan that have been abandoned from the decline of the auto industry???”

    Yes why aren’t WE doing just that… My suggestion is that this great site we are on now should start a KICK STARTER project so that WE can all pile our money together and start a factory to do just that!

    GO FOR IT GOOD HUMANS!

  14. Ross Busby says:

    You’ll love this. Get a junker front load washing machine, for free, from your local appliance dealer, and tear it apart. Inside you will find a wonderfully built radial, permanent magnet, motor with a housing and mount that is perfectly suited for propeller and VAWT construction and generation. Connect your choice of designs, add a AC/DC converter, and load your batteries with free energy.

    It’s time to circumvent the monopolies who intend to extract all our income.

  15. Luis says:

    Thanks for the turbine design. I have been searching for weeks how to build one and may decide to build this one in the end.