DIY wind turbine project goes open source

If you live in an area that sees a fair amount of wind and you’d like to reduce your utility bill by harnessing some of that wind power, a wind turbine might be a good idea. 

The trouble with most commercially made home wind turbines, though, is that they’re fairly expensive, extremely tall and, if you have neighbors, they might not appreciate the new addition to the neighborhood. 

Washington state resident and do-it-your-selfer Make Marohn came up with an inventive alternative.

It’s called The Zoetrope and it’s a vertical-axis wind turbine made out of easily attainable parts and, according to this article, it can be assembled by just about anyone.

Applied Sciences indicates Marohn’s intention for this project was to reduce his water heating bill. So, he set out to make a wind turbine that could harness the winds of the Pacific Northwest and put the energy to work for him.

The result is this wind turbine made of materials that you can find at Home Depot and online. Applied Sciences provides what you need to know to build one yourself, including some videos of the turbine and its parts in action and some other valuable resources that will help hopefully get the turbine connected to your home and operating.

During testing, the turbine was witnessed outputting approximately 150-200 watts of power in a windy period with gusts reaching up to 20 MPH.

Under its current design, the actual average output is difficult to gauge. This is because certain parts in this turbine were tailored to withstand gusts of up to 60 MPH, conditions which are common here in the Northwest and likely to burn out more sensitive parts.

To encourage others to get involved in the development process,  Applied Sciences decided to make the design of The Zoetrope  “open source” so that anyone interested and industrious enough can help to refine the design and/or  customize it for use in different geographical areas with differing wind conditions.

The idea is appealing simply as a interesting science project, but the potential to save money and generate renewable energy in the backyard is rather compelling.

Caleb Denison, EarthTechling