Wind Turbines

Some people install wind turbines on their farm to generate electricity for their home or else to create extra revenue from their property. There are advantages and challenges to using wind power, and installing a large turbine can be expensive. metal fabrication can help a do-it-yourselfer install a small or medium-sized wind turbine.

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Depending on the person, wind power could be a blessing or a curse. There are a lot of factors as using a wind turbine is even more fickle than using solar power. The blades turn in both sun and darkness as long as there is a breeze, but some areas have too little or too much of a breeze. Areas inclined to extreme weather could damage a turbine and even create a whole lot of noise. There are many factors to consider.


For those who have never explored wind turbines, they are windmills made using steel and aluminum that turn a magnet to charge conducting coils. A turbine generally only produces direct current because it turns at a variable pace. The power of modern examples is based using a rare earth metal called neodymium. There are different rare metals and alloys that do a similar job, but the difference is that the magnet is much stronger than a steel one.


Using all this material and rare metals, a top-quality windmill for electric power can be expensive. Household farms might obtain a small one in order to charge a large battery that either provides supplemental power or else powers outdoor lighting. Small is relative because turbines used for commercial power generation tend to be huge. They are carried to the site in individual pieces that have to be hauled by a commercial tractor.


Those for household use are much cheaper and might be made with weaker magnets. They are purposely designed to charge an array of deep cycle batteries and might provide either 12 volts or 24 volts. Most of the time, the charge is a trickle and suitable for charging a small array. Sometimes, the wind kicks up and provides too much current for batteries that are already fully charged. An array also needs some type of semiconductor or fuse to regulate current.


A large professional turbine will be installed by professional engineers and electricians. The job is too dangerous to leave to amateurs, and the supplied current is much too high for anybody but a specialized electrician to install or handle. There is no room for shop skill in big jobs, but it could come in handy for smaller jobs.


A metal worker might choose to make their own wind turbine from nothing but an electric motor and scrap. Any 12-volt electric motor can be run in reverse to produce a direct current charge, although an electric motor might be less efficient than a purpose-built, rare-earth dynamo. That said, anything able to provide a modest charge can maintain an array of batteries.


Metal fabrication could build the tripod for the turbine, while the blades could be made from cork wood surrounded by fiberglass fabric and resin. The fun thing about fabricating tools with today's materials is that it is easy to build an efficient tool using space-age methods from scratch. Even if you are an amateur, this is a fun project with lasting benefits.