Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Savonius & Gorlov VAWT

by qharley, published

Savonius & Gorlov VAWT by qharley Jan 27, 2012
6 Share
Download All Files

Thing Apps Enabled

Order This Printed View All Apps


Savonius & Gorlov VAWT by qharley is licensed under the GNU - GPL license.

Use This Project

Give a Shout Out

If you print this Thing and display it in public proudly give attribution by printing and displaying this tag.

Print Thing Tag

Thing Statistics

38076Views 9947Downloads Found in Engineering


A self starting Vertical Axial Wind Turbine intended for domestic wind harvesting, but could be scaled to any application.

NACA 0015


This little turbine has evolved quite a bit to get here...

This design goes back to the NACA 0015 profile used in the first designs, with the addition of a Savonius for self starting. The Savonius size is chosen to run at it's optimal speed when the Gorlov turbine reaches it's optimal speed, preventing unnecessary drag.

Print a top and base, and at least 2 atomic sections.
There are no dove-tail connections yet (coming soon) so be careful when assembling.

The turbine is designed to be threaded onto a 8mm threaded rod. Assemble and glue from the base up, leaving the top section free to rotate in order to get the captive nut in. Glue, allign and push printing filament of your choice through the holes in the blades. Currently configured for 3mm filament, but you can choose any size in the scad file. This will allow other materials like thin aluminium rod etc. to be used.

Given the effect the Savonius section may have on the Gorlov turbine it may be better to print three atomic sections with the support wings. This will make assembly easier, while keeping things balanced.

Almost every aspect of this turbine is now parametric, and while this design uses a Camber of zero, it is very easy to specify the camber for experimentation. A recent study suggested that a camber selection of 2 may aid self starting without the use of a Savonius turbine, but that it will influence the maximum torque that can be harvested.

This version also incorporates a lot of changes to the basic structure to ensure easier assembly and strength thanks to the very nice report written by Imitation on the last published version of the turbine.

It is definitely a work in progress. It is currently only hampered by my unfortunate lack of 3D printer. There are already plans for an integrated base and printable generator on the drawing board... Watch this space for more.

PS: Updated scad file: I had problems with MCAD again - OpenSCAD crashed frequently on my system given the workout I am giving it with this design...

Another update! Thanks to t00tie - fixed a bug where only the default guide hole size propageted in the turbine, even if you set Guide_hole to something else.

Added the Base + Atoms STL requested by eat808.
Added inverted Atom requested by eat808.

Updated SCAD file (mk7)

Updated to mk9 - on request: inner rod size now an easy selection.

More from Engineering

view more

All Apps

3D Print your file with 3D Hubs, the world’s largest online marketplace for 3D printing services.

App Info Launch App

This App connects Thingiverse with Makeprintable, a cloud-based mesh repair service that analyzes, validates and repairs most common mesh errors that can occur when preparing a 3D design file for p...

App Info Launch App

Kiri:Moto is an integrated cloud-based slicer and tool-path generator for 3D Printing, CAM / CNC and Laser cutting. *** 3D printing mode provides model slicing and GCode output using built-in...

App Info Launch App
KiriMoto Thing App

With 3D Slash, you can edit 3d models like a stonecutter. A unique interface: as fun as a building game! The perfect tool for non-designers and children to create in 3D.

App Info Launch App

Could please send me the file solidworks?
Best regards
my email address: [email protected]

The design was done in OpenSCAD... sorry no Solidworks here!

Great design!
But mine is not turning in little wind even with my good bearings... I may need a better place to put it...
The top section is a little to week. I tightend the screw too much and the Savonius got squeezed.
Do you have the basic calculations for this turbine?
Wind speed to rotation speed and the idle speed to the optimal production speed?

This is wonderful

FYI when setting the camber, e.g. to 2, there is a small lip that protrudes from the leading edge of the airfoils. If you set the camber higher it becomes very noticeable.

Hi qharley,
I'm an OPENSCAD newbie, and I was planning on fabricating this Vertical Windmill. But I'm having tough time trying to get the autocad files of the design in order to print it on Acrylic sheets. I got the atmoic with, without support , atomic base, and inverted. Can't get the top, top standard, top savonius, nor base n. How can I get those?

Hello, I am trying to make a smaller version of this turbine that will print in one piece. What is the best way in Thinkercad to get all the pieces line up properly?



I want to saw : GREAT project.

In next days I plan to print this turbine on my printer. Did any one print it and test this turbine?

Did anyone measure the power efficiently? 20W, 25W ?

I thing to mount on a stepper motor to produce the electricy. Any better idea ?

bye, AlesW

eh ya3m t2lan 3lina lih :D

Hi qharley,
What's the difference between the SCAD files and STL files? and which is needed to print ?

Thank you

You will need the STL's if you don't want to think.
If you need it in other formats, you could use something like Meshlab to do the conversions for you.

Hi qharley,
What's the different between the SCAD files and STL files? and which is needed to print ?

Thank you

Hi qharley,

Why did you incorporate a Savonius rotor in the design?  I thought the Gorlov helix type wind turbines were self starting (correcting one of the problems with the original Darrius rotors) ?

They are self starting in water, but in air the starting torque is just not enough. One of our fellow thingiversers printed one of my previous turbines that did not have the savonius, and he had to hand start even in a strong breeze.

Hi qharley

Scratch that last comment, I have exported just the Atoms blade flipped (I used blender) and after printing the malformation is present on the trailing edge as well so it must just be a trait of trying to print ABS of such a small footprint on a hot bed, I may have to tinker with cooling the hotbed immediately after the first layer has stuck to see if I can minimise the distortion.

I am now printing in yellow ABS so it should looklike a mad bumblebee when finnished

So forget the upload I asked for and thanks

I will post another pic soon


Hi Graham, we could try a small support structure around the trailing edge to help with the sag.  You would then just have to slice it off.  How long (high) is the area affected?

Hi qharley

I have discovered that the malformation on the leading edge (visible in photo) is only present on the Atoms and not on the Top & Bottom bases.

This seems to be due to the "overhang" being on the leading edge of the blade on each subsequent layer on the atoms.

This has the undesired effect of curling on the (first 1-2cm) of the leading edge resulting in the malformed leading edge, this is probably due to me printing using a RepRap style printer in ABS using a hotbed (as I guess most people are, what is your printer build based on?)

The Top bases are printed from the top (i.e. flipped) this has the effect of the next subsequent layer always overhanging on the trailing edge of the blade and as there is a lot less plastic on the trailing edge it does not curl.

I have loaded your OpenScad files to make these adjustments myself but I am guessing that the atom would need to be generated differently (beyond me at the moment I am afraid).

Could I ask you to post the "Atom Without Support Strut" so that it is flipped and printed from the other end, this would have the effect of the next subsequent layer always overhanging on the trailing edge this gives a much better quality leading edge and would avoid the curling issue completely.

seeing as the Atom without support also has a centre bush (which if you literally flipped the stl would be hanging in free space) you could separate the bush into another stl and just flip the Atoms blade and save this as a separate stl.

I am not sure why the issue is not so present on the bottom base, it may be due to there being the 3 support struts and 3 blades as this gives a lot more time for cooling between layers (i.e. there is a lot more to print on each layer of this part giving time for the layer to cool properly)

I hope this makes sense, I have tested this several times and the curling only ever occurs if the next layer is overhanging on the leading edge of the blade.

Sorry to ask for more uploads but as I am a newbie at OpenScad I am stuck.

Also the last part you uploaded (when I eventually finish my Rostock build) was short 1 bit but don’t worry as now I have played with the OpenScad file I realise that you have Para-metricised the whole thing so people can simply select module "1" for the whole assembled thing (cool) and print it on a Rostock or other printer with large build volume.
Many Thanks for such a cool thing



Hi Graham,

I post an inverted atom shortly

Hi qharley, "minor flaws?" where? the only issues I mentioned in my blog are due to my printer's build quality & retraction settings, the friction I mentioned in my previous post here is about friction in the planetary gear set that I would have liked to use to decrease the speed and increase the torque on the output shaft of this cool little wind turbine blade set (slower speed & more torque needed to lift water mechanicaly).

As far as I can tell this/your VAWT is perfect (but then I am not an aerodynamic's expert like you) I am sure once you have your own printer running you will be posting improvements/upgrades.

Any chance you could post a complete (assembled) module (i.e. top, base & 2 atoms all joined in a single stl) for those of us that have access to a large printer such as a Rostock, one with Savonius and one complete module without Savonius (preferably without the extra support wings that are needed when printing this as several parts)

this way people who have a rostock running could print the whole thing in 2 parts. (maybe even one single part if the Rostock is tall enough)

I will post more pics & video once I figure out how to use youtube!(afraid I am not digitaly native, to old, as demontrated by my sad looking blog)

Love this thingi, Keep up the good work & thanks.

Graham (eat808 aka sexstrap)

Hi Graham,

"Flaws" firmly in the cheek... Haveing no printer I only have one major flaw... No print at all!

Sure, I could make a single print model. I will create one tonight when I get home. It is also quite easy to make one yourself using the OpenSCAD files, but understand that any form of programming can be daunting to some in the same way any type of accounting could be to me...


This VAWT works a treat, I have held this up in a strong breeze and it self-starts and spins up nicely (sitting on a 608 bearing), I have yet to make a frame to mount it on but it's coming soon.
I have every intention of trying to get this pumping water directly (mechanically) out of a well using other printed parts such as the tiny planetary gear set http://www.thingiverse.com/thihttp://www.thingiverse.com/thi...
to increase torque and lower speed but it has a fair bit of friction in it. there is a larger set http://www.thingiverse.com/thihttp://www.thingiverse.com/thi...
that may have less friction (gear teeth are less rounded).
I may use a printed diff such as http://www.thingiverse.com/thihttp://www.thingiverse.com/thi...
I would also like to try it with the axial flux generator http://www.thingiverse.com/thihttp://www.thingiverse.com/thi...
This is actually one of the previous derivative I will update the photo once I have printed one of this derivative.
I am even thinking of building a much larger printer maybe a Rostock http://www.thingiverse.com/thihttp://www.thingiverse.com/thi... just so I can print these in one go or just a lot larger.
My thanks go to qharley for running such great CAD project such as this one, keep up the good work I for sure will be testing any improvements.
Liked this so much put it on my blog, (shameless link to blog) http://sexstrap.blogspot.co.ukhttp://sexstrap.blogspot.co.uk...

PS: When you have your water wind-pump running, we want to see a thing and a video.

Your post made my day.  Except for the minor flaws you pointed out, the turbine looks absolutely great.  I am in the final straight of building my own breed of repstrap, and besides a couple of printer parts, this would be the first thing I would like to build.  I think I have waited long enough...


Thanks for this great work :)

Might it be possible to integrate the profile of M. C. Claessens (DU 06-W-200), developed in his master-thesis on airfoils for VAWTs while comparing it with NACA 0018?

See his thesis here: http://www.lr.tudelft.nl/fileadmin/Faculteit/LR/Organisatie/Afdelingen_en_Leerstoelen/Afdeling_AEWE/Aerodynamics/Contributor_Area/Secretary/M._Sc._theses/doc/2006_1_17.pdfhttp://www.lr.tudelft.nl/filea... See p. 75 for profile-comparsion with NACA 0018 and p. 95 for coordinates.

His profile has a thickness of 20%, camber of 0.8% and is - tada - non-symmetric. Right now I got the x-y-coordinates converted to a DXF and wonder how to put it in your scad :)

Great job. The holes print too small so I enlarged them and found a minor buglet: You define Guide_hole but use guide_hole in module helical_wing. Hope you get a printer soon and continue this!

@t00tie: Don't be shy to post a picture of your turbine when done


Thanks! I will fix it up promptly.


Hi qharley

Why did you chose that type of airfoil (NACA 2415)... over something else? and what is the angle of attack?


Angle of attack is 0. See my previous turbines. Adding angle of attack will improve the self starting ability of the turbine, at the expense of torque. That is not a good trade...

2415 is a profile used by many turbine manufacturers. it has a relatively thin profile while still delivering decent power. Remember that the blades turn at approximately 2 times the wind speed (and three times coming around on the opposite side)

I will do more experimentation on this when my r
epstrap is complete. I have taken the long hard way over the quick way, and though I regret some aspects of that decision (like not having a printer RIGHT NOW) It will pay off with a decent build envelope when it is done.

Different airfoil an their characteristics :http://www.prz.rzeszow.pl/zbigklep/t_profile.htmhttp://www.prz.rzeszow.pl/zbig...

Good luck with your3Dprinter! Oooo, BTW you should really use some decent 3d modeling tool :-)

Hi, I just checked my code again...

I actually use 0415 in this design, because of the torque reason. The airfoil is simetrical.

2415 is the one that would not run!

And, by decent 3d modeling tool you mean what? :-P
I come from a programming background and can program myself out of tight spots with much more ease than driving a

What kind of "calculations" are you using? how do you calculate torque?

you might try this free 3d tools:

I found a paper done at a university on the effects of chamber on the efficency and torque of savonius turbines.

It is somewhere, I will look for it this weekend ;)

The study proved that while profiles other than 00xx will promote self starting, the turbine will have the maximum torque with a simetrical airfoil profile.

Not my calculations 8-)

...not to mention SolidWorks, or Solid Edge or even Autodesk's Inventor or PTC/ ProEnginner (Creo Parametric).

This are so called midrange "modelers" (This is an understatement since this tools are much much more) and they all have a trial. If you are serious about engineering - and apparently you are, you should try one of this. Some of them even have CFD incorporated.

I will look at the modelers you suggested. I also assume that you do not use parametric 3d compilers like OpenSCAD.

It was very daunting for me in the beginning, but I caught on very quickly.

I tried Google's Sketchup, but after pushing and pulling on a test object for a while I found that 5 lines of Openscad code could do what I wanted in 10 minutes less time.

PS: 0215 is exactly the same as 0015, for obvious reasons.

So, without further ado, I have a printer to build!

I look forward to your developments :-D would you do a water vortexer sometime?

qharley - in reply to oio

What is the application of the vortexer? I'm sure I could try something...

If it has something to do with the mythical "hexagonal water" I am afraid it is an elaborate hoax... The only way to form those structures are by freezing, making it hard to flow in pipes, if you excuse the pun.

Using vortexes as a natural centrifuge is a different matter altogether...

hmmm.... on second thought, can the PLA or ABS used in RepRap to print this VAWT be able to withstand the outdoor conditions and UV ?

ABS is fine: after all it is used in cars as front and rear bumpers, instrumentation levers and knobs etc.

PLA I don't know, but I am sure that a good layer of paint will solve all UV related ills.

Can the size of the Huxley print this?

Yes, or No. You will have to resize it for printing on huxley. It may turn out a bit small for practical use.

The repstrap I am building at the moment will have a 300x300x150 build envelope that should make for better turbines.

why didnt you take a 3 winged savonius?

would have had a lot more symetry thereby will vibrate much less when turning

The savonius design I took is based on a recent study to find the most effiecent simple savonius turbine. It comes down to this:

  1. The cups should be twice as high as they are wide
  2. Two cups should be used
  3. The overlap (with open channels beween cups) should be between 15 to 30%

My savonius is only intended to start the much more efficient Gorlov.

The two cupped savonius is quite balanced on its own, even if it does
not seem to match the three bladed gorlov.

Fantastic work on this! I'll try print it soon and let you know how it works for me.

Looks intriguing, and I love the idea of printing a wind turbine, but I have to wonder whether it's possible to 3D print something large enough and light enough to actually work. Hopefully I can print it soon (waiting for the printer to ship).