Getting Started

Ok, so I am finally starting a blog in order to document my homebrew wind turbine project. I have been working on this project for a couple months now…off and on, but am finally starting to document it. So here I am getting started. At this point I have made some progress and have some good pictures, so I think it is a good time to get started.
Anyway, I am building a 10 foot diameter horizontal axis wind turbine. I have been interested in alternative energy for many years ago and first started thinking about building homebrew wind turbines when I stumbled upon the www.otherpower.com website. These guys are really interesting. They all live off the grid outside of Fort Collins and they generate all their own power by building homebrew wind turbines from scratch. I mean really from scratch…they weld the frame, wind the copper, cast the stator in resin, etc. It is pretty damn amazing. They have become so good at it that they teach people in seminars all over the country. I first ran into them at the sustainable living festival in 2007. I found out that they give 2 day workshops at the fair, so I signed up for both days in 2008.
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So we built two wind turbines with these guys over 2 days and I couldn’t believe how quickly we put these things together. I realized that they really had put an incredible amount of time and thought into designing a very efficient, reliable, and affordable wind turbine that could be built by just about anyone. I was really impressed and knew at that point that I had to try to build one myself, in my own shop. So, I got started right away and manage to find a few hours here and there, between work and family life to work on it. The otherpower guys even published a book called “Homewbrew Wind Power” and this is what I am using primarily as my guide.
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I started by buying most of the raw materials that you need to build two 10 foot wind turbines. Amazingly, it only cost roughly $600 dollars for the materials, with the steel parts, neodymium magnets, and copper being the primary expenses. This cost of steel and copper is pretty high so I imagine the you could have build one of these for far less just a few years ago. This is still incredibly cheap though for a wind turbine. Of course, this doesn’t include the cost of your time. It looks like a comparable commercial wind turbine of this size and rating would cost at least $5,000 dollars. This is pretty impressive really.
Anyway, this is enough for tonight. I ‘ll start getting into some of the wind turbine specifications and building details in the next entry. If you don’t like technical stuff and geeking out over tools, welding, physics, etc. you may want to stop reading this blog 🙂

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