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Constructing Basic PVC Wind Turbine Procedures


Math, Science  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Basic PVC Wind Turbine – Procedures
By – Chad Johnson
Primary Subject – Science
Secondary Subjects – Math
Grade Level – 9-12

Constructing Basic PVC Wind Turbine Unit


  • Building the PVC Tower Base :
    1. Using (4) 90° PVC fittings, (2) PVC Ts and (4) 6″ PVC pipe sections, construct the two sides of the PVC turbine base. Make sure in this step to use the PVC Tees that DO NOT have a hole drilled in them. (When finished the base will look like the letter “H”.)
    2. Fit the parts together without using glue (PVC glue is really nasty stuff). To make them fit snugly, tap them together with a hammer or bang them on the floor once assembled.
    3. Next, connect the two sides of the base using the PVC Tee with the hole (this would be the center of the “H). The hole” will allow you to snake out the wires from the DC motor.
  • Building the Rotor & Hub :
    1. Wrap a piece of duct tape around the outside of the motor. This piece of tape should be about 1/2″ wide and 18″ long. This will help the motor fit securely into the PVC coupler.
    2. For the next step, use (1) 1″ PVC 90° fitting, (1) 1″ PVC coupler, (1) 2″ piece of PVC pipe and the DC motor w/wire arranged as in picture.
    3. Push them together to form a solid piece (This should look like the letter “J”). On a large wind turbine this is called a nacelle . It holds the generator, gear boxes, and other equipment.
    4. Insert the wires attached to the DC motor through the nacelle. They should come out of the 90° PVC fitting. The motor will rest in the 1″ PVC coupler.
    5. Insert the motor into the coupler. It should fit very snugly. Since the motor is pushed frequently by students, it must be TIGHT! If it is too tight take some tape off; if too loose remove some tape. You can also glue the motor in to make it secure. You might also tape the wires down inside the pipe to prevent students from breaking them if they yank on the wires.
    6. Make sure the motor is straight and not too far in. If it looks cockeyed, straighten it out. Otherwise it will cause your hub and blades to wobble while spinning.
    7. Once the motor is secured, attach the 12 hole crimping hub (can be found at or search for it online). Press the hub onto the drive shaft. It should fit very snugly. Notice the motor is straight and not pushed.
  • Attaching the Tower to the Base :
    1. Snake the motor wires down the tower (the 24″ length of 1″ PVC pipe) and through the hole in the PVC Tee at the base of the wind turbine.
    2. It is sometimes helpful to place a piece of tape over the wires as they come out if the hole to prevent the wires from being broken at the motor if yanked too roughly.
    3. Attach the nacelle to the top of the tower.
    4. Insert the bottom of the PVC tower into the Tee at the center of the (“H”) turbine base. (It should look just like the wind tower pictured above except for the blades and possibly the color of the PVC pipe.)
    5. Assure that the PVC pipe is seated tightly into the fittings by tapping together with a hammer or by banging on the floor.
    6. Do not use any glue so that you can take it apart and store it for next year!
    7. Attach alligator clips (not required) to the wires coming out of the turbine to help hook up your turbine to a multimeter!

  • Success!! Wind Turbine Completed!
  • Now attach the blades!
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