Crafting A Wooden Wind Turbine

Taking you back to high school shop class, here’s how to make your own wind turbine blades out of wood. The wood base easily picked up at any home building store (or heck, from fallen trees in the nearby forest), wood turbines are  a more affordable option for a do-it-yourselfer as you can measure and handle the wood before you purchase and begin cutting.  The size will greatly depend on your need, so for this walkthrough, we will use general, one meter sized blades.

It is recommended that you choose a type of wood without knots (also known as “clear” wood) to make sawing and cutting a smoother process. Pine is a good option, but any other light colored wood will work too.  For your dimensions, try to get a width of about 10% of your length (for one meter, that would be 10cm).

Divide your wood beams into five equal parts with a pencil. Mark off the tip, base, front and back. At the halfway point on the tip, draw a diagonal line sloping downward to the corner of the line dividing the fourth and fifth parts on your beam. Make this cut.

Turn it back onto its flat back side and draw a reverse checkmark shape, starting in the fourth section’s upper corner and tailing off into the first (the line should be about 1/8 of an inch from the top). Follow along with the blueprints found here to get a better idea. Cut this line, but be careful to not saw straight through the wood! You need that thin piece connecting it for the blade to work.

The bottom is the trickier part as you want to achieve a curved, wing shape that tapers as we get closer to the tip. It may be easiest to place the edge front down and cut out rectangular shapes from the first four sections. The shapes are all of different sizes, so check the blueprint carefully. You can later sand or chisel these down into a smooth shape.

To figure out how to make the base, take the number 360 and divide it by the number of blades you have/want. For example, 4 blades would be spaced 90 degrees apart from one another. The blades should fit easily together. Sand down rough parts to your liking.

All that’s left is the paint job. While creativity is not discouraged, keep in mind that most importantly the wood must be protected from the elements.  A protective weather shield coating is a good basic barrier, but going the extra mile with fiberglass and a coat of epoxy will give it good durability. Attach the blades to your wind turbine system and you’re done!

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One Response to “Crafting A Wooden Wind Turbine”

  1. Ivan March 7, 2011 at 4:54 am #

    Just wondering: could it actually be easier if the wings were made of pvc pipes cut along their length and shaped with some heat? No offense I hope.

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