Instructable's user masynmachien gave us permission to share his cool DIY wind turbine project with you. This project is meant to be easy enough for older kids and adults to do without too much experience. It's a great way to brush up on your own skills or teach renewable energy basics to kids.
Because these turbines are able to power LEDs and decoration is part of the fun, they would make great additions to a garden.
Masynmachien says, "For my latest workshop in my daughter’s school I wanted to let the children each make a wind turbine. It wanted it to be functional, powering a small light and it needed to be cheaper than 6 Euro a piece, which ruled out any commercial kits.
The workshop was for 20 kids, which ruled out scavenging hard discs motors or stepper motors and such. Low cost “toy” motors on the other hand need really high rpm to light up a small bulb or a led. Fortunately the type of motors used in solar cell driven toys and kits work better. And these are still available for under 2 Euro.
An LED worked with a turbine and a single step 6 to 1 gearing, but only at really high wind speeds. But I wanted the kids see it functioning, without having to wait for a strong wind. But our good friend the Joule Thief came to the rescue. With this little circuit added, the LED lights up at a breeze. Moving the wind turbine by hand easily lights up the LED. I estimate it starts at wind speeds below 10km/h. And everything still holds up at strong winds."
Since originally posting this project, masynmachien notes that he has also built these turbines with these geared motors instead of a Joule Thief.