How to Build a Wind Turbine

A wind turbine is a simple mechanical device similar to the windmill. The blades of your turbine will catch air currents, using that motion to transmit mechanical energy along a drive shaft. This shaft will then turn the components of a generator, creating clean, renewable energy for your household and cutting down on your electric bills. What’s more, your turbine can be mostly built with simple materials available at your local hardware store.


Determine the average wind speed where you plan to build. To cost-effectively generate electricity, an efficient wind turbine needs wind to reach at least 7 to 10 miles per hour (11 to 16 kilometers per hour). Most wind turbines perform best at speeds from 12 to 20 mph (19 to 32 kph). To find the annual average wind speed for your area, you can check online wind maps that list the average wind speed in your area.[1] [2]

  • You can also purchase a wind measuring tool, called an anemometer, and use it take the wind speed at the location of your planned turbine. Do this daily for a period of time.
  • If the wind speed in your area is fairly consistent, a month of readings should be more than enough, though seasonal changes can drastically affect wind speed. Then, average your readings to see if a turbine at your location is reasonable.[3]


Evaluate spacing for your wind turbine. Although the turbine itself doesn’t require much space, to avoid potential conflicts with neighbors, you should generally have at least half an acre (0.2 hectare) of space for a turbine that generates up to 3 kilowatts of power and a full acre (0.4 hectare) for a turbine that generates up to 10 kilowatts. You should also have enough vertical space to build the turbine high enough so that buildings and trees don’t block the wind.[5]


Choose between pre-made or DIY wind turbine blades. The kind of blades you use and configuration of your blades may affect the design of your turbine. Old farm windmills were basically small sails attached to a rotating shaft, but wind turbines resemble giant propellers and have large teardrop-shaped blades. These blades should be sized and pitched correctly for the turbine to work efficiently.

  • If you choose to build the blades, you can make them out of wood or cross-sections of PVC pipe. Instructions can be found online through a general Internet search for “DIY wind turbine blades.”
  • Whether you build or buy the blades, you’ll likely want to have 3 blades on your wind turbine. Using an even number of blades, such as 2 or 4, makes a wind turbine more likely to vibrate as it spins. Adding more blades increases torque but can make the turbine rotate more slowly.
  • Blades can also be made from household products, like modified shovels. If you plan on going this route, choose a sturdy shovel, and you may want to replace wooden handles with something more durable, like a metal haft.[6] [7] [8]

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