Very often people are fascinated by how something works. Other people also want to do things their own way, and to do them with their own hands. One of these things is a homemade electric generator. Many engineers find it extremely attractive to start building something, almost feeling like scientists discovering something new. Well, apparently someone already discovered the electric generator, but that does not mean it is not interesting, cheaper and more attractive to make oneself.
In this article, we will guide you through the steps to make an electric generator with the necessary elements and material. If you are a professional engineer, you will not find any problem when executing these instructions. In case you have not done something like this before, it is highly advisable to consult a professional engineer or electrician.
How to make your own electric generator.
Before starting, you should know that you can make a generator from different elements, such as a bicycle, a manual drill machine or even use a water wheel (if you live in a house with a water wheel). Let’s start with a very simple crank generator.
Manual drill electric generator
You will need a hand drill, cooking utensils or similar, thread, aluminum foil, tape, phone and charger, and a wooden plate.
Take the charger and cut with the scissors the charging end (if it is a smartphone, cut the USB end). Remove the plastic insulator so you see the four thin wires: red, white, green and black. Remove your plastic liner too. Do this at the USB cut end, and at the other end. Prepare small interior cables of different colors.
Then, take the manual drill and tighten the head completely, it should not be loose at all. You should also remove the protective cap on the bottom of the handle, where you will have to connect the charger cables later.
Then, take the thread and start to roll it around the drill, around the head and the handle. The idea is to tie it securely around the wooden plate. You can replace the thread with an adhesive tape if you wish. That could make the adjustment even safer.
For the next step, you can use a mixer beater to plug it into the manual drill. It must also remain stable and in no way remain loose. If you suspect that it may fall, replace it with another similar item.
Then take the foil and form two pieces in long strips. Each piece can be 15-20 inches long. Flatten and then connect each end to the corresponding electrical end of the hand drill. Make sure they make a good connection with the drill. Wind the stuck ends so that they resemble more cylindrical shapes. Flatten then to the wooden board and secure them with the thread / duct tape. Take the cut piece from the charger and prepare the red and black ends of the cables and adhere each to the corresponding aluminum foil ends.
Take a wooden kitchen spoon wide enough to pass through the whisk of the blender, but you can stay there constantly. This will be the crank. Start turning the crank. You will need a lot of patience and strength to keep doing this until your phone’s battery is fully charged. If you need the phone just to make a call, you may have to start a little less.
With this same setting you can recharge batteries, bulbs, LED bulbs and other electrical devices.
Here is an amazing YouTube instructional video, which can be helpful if you want to design the previous generator.
If you have a bicycle, you can use it; otherwise, look for an old restored bicycle. You do not even have to pay for it; simply look for some bicycles and recovered materials to build the generator. It is important to know that for this to work, your bicycle must be at least in good condition. If not, you may only need a little penetrating oil to give life to the chain and clean the rust of the bicycle if there is any here and there.
The next thing you will need is a simple treadmill. They have exactly what you need: a DC motor. In addition, you should know that the motor produces much more voltage than the intended device for the load needs. A simple example: if you want to charge a 12 volt DC battery, your motor should produce at least 13-14 volts. An average treadmill can produce much more, approximately 90 volts. This means that you do not even have to paddle so fast to load your desired device.
Next, prepare a simple frame mount, where you will place the rear wheel of the bicycle. You can mount one yourself, keeping in mind that the rear wheel should be slightly raised and not touch the ground. The frame must have two wooden boards to keep the wheel elevated, so they must be fixed vertically. The base can be another wooden board.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to prepare the rear wheel. Remove it from the bicycle and remove the exterior tire. It should be flattened and look like a rotating belt. Attach the tire from the belt to the engine and stretch it between the wheel and the engine. Now you can reposition the bicycle wheel in its place.
To keep the wheel steady, you can use additional extended pins to hang better on the wheel. So it must be free to turn, it must not fall or break.
In addition, it is better to place the DC motor on a wooden board, ideally on one to which the entire bicycle has already been connected. This will be a much more constant adjustment.
And, finally, use a charge controller and connect it to the batteries, the device, the phone, etc., so that it can be an overload buffer. This happens if you charge a little more and a charge controller will protect the device / battery. It is also a good idea to monitor the voltage, and if you prefer it that way, you can simply connect a voltmeter to the bicycle to be constantly aware of the amount of voltage it produces.
This is about what your bike generator should look like in this YouTube video.
Let’s start by picking up the items you’ll need as couplers (all PVC’s? Inches in diameter). You should get 5 couplers with 90-degree elbows and 3 T-couplers. The rest should be a very long tube (PVC again) 10 inches long, four 3.5 inches, two – 8 inches and two 3 inches.
Start by taking a 90-degree coupler and connect it to a 3.5-inch coupler, then attach a T-coupler. Continue building by adding another 3.5-inch tube and finish with a 90-degree coupler. Repeat this and create a copy similar to the first one with the elements that you have left. Take the two remaining 3.5-inch tubes and connect them with a T-shaped coupler.
This in itself must be the connector between the first two elements that we did. Take the two 8-inch long tubes and connect the remaining openings of the entire configuration. This will be your base and you should now have an opening (from the T-shaped element) right in the center of the base.
Take the last long piece (10 inches long) and place the last 90 degree coupler on it. This will be the windmill itself. Place it in the opening of the base. This is where you will add a fin so that the windmill really works.
Remove the adhesive part and drill a hole one inch from the base. Then take a small motor with a cable long enough to pass it through the tube and remove it from the hole you just made. One note: the motor must be a little smaller than the diameter of the coupler, so you can place it securely inside the coupler.
If it is slightly loose, you can stabilize the motor with an adhesive tape. Place the blade / fin on the motor just before placing the motor in the pipe. Then push the motor into the coupler and make sure it is as stable as possible.
Connect the ends of the attached cables to an electrical device, radio, mobile phone or use a charge controller to connect batteries or other rechargeable items.
You can see all of these instructions in this more detailed YouTube video on how to make a wind turbine generator.
This is another very popular way to generate electricity and energy for free. It may take a little more time to configure the construction, which includes more care and attention to detail, but it is still an interesting task.
The generator itself must be composed of two parts: one is called the stator and the other the rotor. The stator (as its name implies) is static and does not move. It has 4 wire coils that collect the energy / electricity generated. The rotor is a moving element and rotates. It has 4 magnets that are supposed to induce energy / electricity and transfer it to the coils in the stator.
- Making the stator – each opposite pair of wire coils must be coiled so that electricity flows counterclockwise. The other two opposing pairs must have the flow of electricity in a clockwise direction. The 4 coils must be placed in the same space between them. Also, for each circle of the coil, be sure to wind at least 200 coils. Make them large enough to generate and transmit as much energy as possible.
- Making the rotor – This is a simpler disk to make. Simply take 4 magnetic discs (as small as flat clock batteries) and place two magnets with the north pole facing up, diagonally on the disc. The two remaining magnets must have their south poles up. Again, place them diagonally on the disk. The space between each magnet must be the same for the four pieces.
Finally, make two holes right in the middle of both discs, so you can attach them later. Then we have to go to the turbine. Find a cork so that you can place plastic spoons, which will act like the wings of the turbine. Try to position them so that they are evenly spaced. Use glue to keep the spoons firmly attached in place (or they can fly if the turbine turns too fast).
As you take the rotor and the stator, attach them next to each other and screw them through a wooden stick. Then take the cork (which is now an effective turbine) and also prepare a medium-sized plastic bucket. Drill holes in it, exactly where you plan to thread the wooden stick, and where the turbine will be placed inside. When you have the holes, thread the lever, so that the rotor and stator configuration remain outside (this is important) right next to the bucket, and the turbine is placed inside the bucket.
The turbine should be placed so that if you look at one of the upper spoons, it will look up towards you. Imagine that you let the water run on the turbine. Each spoon will be filled with water, until it starts to move thanks to the weight of the water, just like an old water mill.
Glue the stator to the cube, so that it remains stationary. The rotor on the other hand, should rotate, so leave it free. You are practically ready. Take the stator wires and connect them to any device or device you need to charge. You can watch this YouTube project for more information. It shows a slightly different configuration, but the essence is the same.
There are many other methods to create electric generators, made with accessible materials and elements, but the above are the most basic and popular and should start well.