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

Helix_T Windturbine V 1.00

by mfountouklis, published

Helix_T Windturbine V 1.00 by mfountouklis Dec 16, 2010

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This is a project i did for my Open thesis Fabrication, program in the Institute of advanced architecture of Catalyna, in Barcelona, Spain. It is a wind-turbine, that can be solely 3D printed in a RepRap machine, in order to provide people with free harvested energy. The project is still under way so i would appreciate anyone that would be welcome to try to make it, and let me know his ideas. I would also appreciate some help on the electronic part of the project.


All the STL files are included. I will upload soon the 3dm files also so that you can manipulate it in rhinoceros. You only need to upload the files in replicator and 3d print it.
The assembly is very easy, i include a diagram that you can follow to make it, as well as some renders of its final shape.
The only thing you will need to buy is some 3mm bolts, a dc motor (diameter 27mm, length not more that 37mm) and a two slot AAA battery charger. or i guess any other kind of battery.
The motor can change also, in power although the diameter has to be the same.

Remember, this is still a work in progress, i would really appreciate any kind of feedback on this project!

P.S : Of course these files fit in any 200x200mm 3D printer it doesn't have to be a RepRap, i just suggest it because of the
cost, but if you have access to any other kind of 3D printer that can print that size, then probably you can achieve better resolution also.

Thank you very much,

Mihalis Fountouklis

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Can i have the Cad files or at least the dimensions for the parts. My printer is not able to print the base part.

The design is very good. I would suggest that the central axis has to become a bit thicker :-)

Thanks for your kind words Billninio, i had the same thought as you when the first batch of 3D prints came out. The middle axis was a bit bend. Probably when i make the second version, it will be bigger. :)

Keep at it it's great! :)

The aesthetics are great and I am sure the guys in the IAAC will love it.

If you want to go a bit deeper and improve your design, I'd suggest you to give this book a look for a good overview on the principles behind wind generation. You can find it in a library or you can easily and ilegaly get it on the interwebs.


To get this thing to charge a battery you must couple it to a motor, but you cannot directly connect it to the battery. You must prevent the motor to work as a motor, you must prevent the power to flow in the opposite direction and discharge the batteries instead o
f charging them. One easy way to do that is to connect a diode in series with the battery. As the voltage of the DC motor is proportional to the speed it is spinning, be warmed that the batteries won't charge if the speed is too slow. As motors usually like high speeds, but turbines like low speeds,
it can happen that for a wind lower than a hurricane, the voltage of the motor is too low to charge annything. To solve this problem clever engineers use ways to multiply the rotational speed of the motor while keeping a low speed on the turbine by using gearboxes or by using specially designed mot
ors. The problem with small cheap gearboxes is that the transform ratio is very low and they have a lot of losses due to friction, so sometimes the perfect ratio cannot be obtained. On the other hand, specially designed motors are specially designed, hence they are not easy to find. As it would take
a lot of time and skills to properly calculate this, the best suggestion is to just try with what you've got in hand and cross fingers.

Another option, for a crappy solution is to use a small three phase AC motor, like the one used to spin the disc on a CD player, connect it to a a transformer sca
vengered from a power supply and connect it to the battery through a diode rectifier. This way, the transformer may rise the voltage enough to charge the batteries. I used this in the past for a similar generator (not powered by the wind, though) and it worked quite well. By the way this is almost t
he same configuration used in real life small wind turbines successfuly built and used in developing countries like Peru.

Good luck!

Thank you a lot for your comment! The book seems an excellent choice, maybe i will put it in my gift list since Christmas are coming! :)

As for the motor, thank you a lot for the electronics advice, i was looking for a way to stop the motor from discharging and the way you describe seems quite easy and efficient. As for the efficiency of the motor, i can tell you that i have tested the rotation of my wind-turbine (not the exact sam
e model but a little different one) with the gear set that i designed and used (and have uploaded here also) and it produces quite an efficient amount of voltage (i was able to get 6V at an approx. 5 m/s wind, and around 3 Amps of power, (although i could do much better, because the motor i was usin
g then was for max 3 Amps. I would love to get my hands on some specialized motors, although i am trying to keep it as simple as possible, and i think that getting hold of such motors would require a greater amount of time and money.
I have seen some wind turbines, that were a lot similar in Colomb
ia, which was also part of the inspiration for me.
I believe the studio that designed them were called Igendesign and they made them out of bambu sticks if i am not mistaken.

3A at 6V, that's 18W, 5 m/s is a good wind but I didn't expect that much power from such a small thing.

I would not worry too much about the amperage of the motor. The rating is related to the heating of the motor due to long periods of time with that much current. The battery is more likely to die first because although the diode trick works, batteries like to be charged with constant currents and
here the current will vary along with the wind speed. If something serious was to be built, a small but a bit more complex power converter should be used instead of the diode.

Good luck.

With some calculations that i did (since i havent yet tested the actuall model, its with HP these days getting printed) i am expecting to get something between 3-20 watts with this thing. According to wind speed. It would be more than enough for me if i reach an average of 10 Watts.

yeah like i said the design i tested was a bit bigger, so the results are going to be smaller for this one, because its a disproportinate amount the reducton of the surface and the power, but even though i would be happy even if i would get around 8-10 watts with this thing :)

Nice idea. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks a lot! I hope it will become in time also a nice reality. Thank you for your comment

Thank you very much! I am still trying to solve many problems but i am hopeful! :)