Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

by hooptey, published

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine by hooptey May 7, 2013

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78017Views 9660Downloads Found in Engineering


This is a 340mm diameter prototype VAWT that's intended to be a scalable demonstrator. It accommodates 3 blades which are stolen directly from scrap vinyl vertical blinds. (Yes, those ugly fat ones that hang) You just take the single blinds and insert them in to the slots. I put a dab of 2-part epoxy to keep them in place, but the fit is tight. The blade arms attach via 3x 3mm screws or bolts. The central hub is sized to use a 7/16 shaft (I use 1/2" threaded rod that's cut down with a lathe in just the right place so I can put a 1/2" nut below to support the turbine). Note that there's a 20-tooth gear face on the hub, if you'd like to drive a mechanism- though I doubt you'll power more than landscaping lights until this is optimized. That being said, I have included the solidworks part files so that you can change the blade angle, etc. if you'd like. Oh, and you could print more than one set and drive a multi-tiered version with really long blinds if you like!


Printed in ABS on a 12" cube reprap. Should print on anything that can accomodate at least a 140mmx140mm build surface. I set fill at about 35% for my first, and it was plenty strong.

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What would I attach this to, to make it spin?

May be you can use the printed generator from this windturbine for yours:


Hey guys- I can print this and other things for you!

I just wanted to let you all know that I'm putting my 3D printing skills on the line to help out with a cancer fundraiser! It's hosted on Indiegogo, and it's falling flat without widespread support... so, I'm adding some perks that will include some 3D printed parts, toys, etc of your choosing. I'll print one of my designs for you, an upgraded one, or one of yours or someone else. Heck, I will even design a part in solidworks if you send paper drawings!

Have a look at:


...and I look forward to some donations. I'll try to price them so I can make it worth your while... perhaps run some parts on donated filament. Cheers!

This is awesome, I too have some spare broken vertical blinds so I'm definitely adding it to my list of things to make. Every day I look at this site I get more inspired that the maker movement is changing the world for the better. Cheers man!

RoboDino- You have the awesomest username ever. Also, yes... I find the maker movement inspiring, as well... Shame on anyone who tells us what we can't do!

Any recommendations on a generator and battery to hook it up to?

you could use a stepper motor and bridge rectifier (stepper motor outputs AC, bridge rectifier rectifies the AC to choppy DC, so add an electrolytic capacitor to the output and you have a generator!)

Steppers have a considerable amount of friction - they are suited as generators in the same way they are as motors: High-torque, low-speed. Just try shorting the wires on one and try to turn the shaft and you'll see why.

There are some unusual types of generator that work much better on high-speed low-torque applications - but they are exotic enough that wind enthusiasts often have to build their own.

At the present I've played around with attaching it to a small DC hobby motor, and used that to charge the batteries of some (formerly) solar-powered garden lights. It's not much, but it's a start for the tinkering I intended. If I had the time, I'd try to make one that's much larger and has proper bearings. At the moment, mine has a few stacked fender washers with thin layers of molykote in between to make it slippery.

Awesome. I had vertical blinds in an apartment and had to replace 2 or 3 slats that my dog chewed before I moved out, but I had to buy a pack of 25. Now I finally have something I can do with the 22 other replacement slats that are collecting dust in my garage. :)

This is stellar! Any chance you'd sell a set? I'd love to put something like this through it's paces and see what it can generate!

This is stellar! Any chance you'd sell a set? I'd love to put something like this through it's paces and see what it can generate!

Since it's an open-source project now, how about this- when some other people print a few copies and have the chance to tweak them a bit for best performance, I'd be happy to print you a set of the optimized design if you send me a few dollars to cover the cost of the plastic and shipping. Stay tuned to the comments and see who makes one- or else I'll get back to you when I make the next version. Deal?

Sounds like a deal! Be sure to keep it fair for yourself, we tinkerers tend to undervalue our time...