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Project Aeolus: Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

by Hashtag_Mike May 1, 2017
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This looks so beautiful and the Design looks like automotive industry.
But I never saw a Video. Does it turn? How looks it and is it durable at storm too?

I want to print this and assemble, I've downloaded and looked at the files and readme, is there any help on what parts I need to print and how to construct also, is there any help or recommendations on required bearings and other components like screws?

Thank you

Awesome design!
I am printing a ⅓ size version of the VAWT. Would it be possible to provide a Fusion file of the centerComponent so I can modify the bearing fit?

I've starting printing this. Have you thought about hollowing out the helical blades to reduce the overall weight? doing so should make it easier to rotate at slow speeds. I'm using Repetier-Host and I have it scaled at 36. its going to be huge. Also do you have a way to attach a motor yet?

Do you have a video of this in action yet?

Hi, it's a really great project.
I would like to realise it but your project is not in mm so how could I Do ?
i have try with 2540 % as find in a commentary but the dimension of the hole are not 12mm but around 14,7 mm.
Thanks for your help

I was inspired by your design so I made one. I used your idea of thrust bearing instead of regular bearing. I'm in the process of printing the first prototype. My blades are NACA 0015 with a radius of 180mm. The main reason I designed this one is that I wanted an model which will be easier to print requiring no support. Granted your atheistical design is much nicer. My goal is to eventually add a small generator to it. First I need to make sure it works :)

I'm using 4 sets of bearings and clamps. The two bottom section use a set on the bottom where the to uses a top and both bearing and clamp.

Darrieus rotors are not self starting as I recall. The design makes it self starting by having a small Savoniis rotor in the arms. Not sure that your design will work without a motor spinning it up once the wind is blowing.

Hello Mike,

Great job! Any update on the alernater to use yet?

In what orientation did you print the centre pieces?

Hi Hashtag_Mike
I installed it on my fence and it started running very well. Then I put some bearings on the shaft and turned it the right way up (as per your picture) and it does not spin anymore?? Turn it up sight down and it spins very well. Running anti-clockwise. I would have thought that it would run both ways?? What is your experience?

Hey Jack,
That is very odd! Mine Is able to spin the same speed, whether it's right-side up or up-side down. There might be some friction when you have it right-side up, like its rubbing against the rod or something. Or, you may have installed the vanes up-side down, but it looks fine in your picture. Aerodynamically, it should work both way.

Great build though! The wind turbine looks amazing!

How many thrust bearings did you use?? Also do the slide inside the coupler??

Sorry just trying to figure how you assembled the bearing with the coupler before I start to make this print.

I'm building it, I would like to create a custom generator built for this windmill.
I plan to attach it to the lower center vane. As the rod is static, it is a bit tricky to create a "direct-drive" generator, it would require more work and tests. I think I will begin by testing the whole system using a Nema motor as a generator then work on a custom axial-flux generator.
I hope I will be able to complete this awesome project :-)

How is this made a functional turbine? Any suggestions? Wouldn't the blades need to be fixed and mast attached to a motor/generator?

i was going to set it up to my old nema17 motor as well. i wanted to see if i can set it up as a direct drive by using a compiler. did you get to testing yet?

What is a compiler ?
I have raised the wind turbine this weekend to test if it spins well.
At first I fixed it to the pole in order to make it spin too. The pole then makes a 60t gear spin that I was planning to mount with a belt to make the Nema motor spin.
It was a bad idea, the pole is too heavy and the wind turbine had a bad time starting to turn.

Then I mounted it like it is planned : with 2 ball bearings. It now starts quicker but sometimes the pole enters into resonance and the wind turbine is just stopping...

When I receive the belt I ordered, I will be able to mount the Nema motor and share my design.

While this design is beautiful, I am sure it is not the best Wind Turbine design for low wind speed...

Hi !
I would like to build this great VAWT for my garden.
But when I import the STL files into Cura, they appear to be tiny (a few millimeters), maybe the scale was an other unit when you exported the files ?

Thanks for your help !

Yes, the stl is in inches. i haven't used Cura thoroughly, but their might be a tool that scales the model from mm to in. I know makerware and simplify3d have this function.

Thanks, I scaled it to 2540% and now it's fine :)

Great design !

What do you think you use as a generator ?
The best would also be to manufacture the 3D printed generator with copper wire and magnet :

I'm Still looking into finding the best generator for this turbine, but I hadn't thought about 3d printing the actual generator. I think it would certainty save money too. Thanks for sharing the idea and the link!

I'm very interested in this. I wanted to build a wind power generator. I have been doing research on this for a while. I though of using a nema 17 motor or 2 or 3 to get power. You did a beautiful design!

Could you please share if you find something to make a matching motor? I think this would then be the first project with VAWT+Matching generator. Im looking for awhile now but can't look through all the motor designs it is such a big topic. I expected to find some often used designs for motors that I could build with 3d Printing but nope... It nearly looks like a motors are unique ...

love the design, really compact , also like the way you have the struts angled, does this effect the stability ?
or does this act as natural wind break.

What is the specification on the metal parts (such as the rod) used in the design? And congrats on the 3DHubs "top three"!!

Thanks so much for the support! I used 12mm linear rods (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BBJ0CA/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) which are clamped together with 12mm clamping collars ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0020800IC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). These clamping collars also hold up the thrust bearings (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002BBH8TW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1). Also the screws are 12mm long, m3, counter sunk screws. (I bought mine from McMaster-Carr)

Thank you!! How did you get the parts in your picture so smooth?? They look amazing!

  • And also, is it possible to get the STL file for the base you have a picture of in the "gallery"?

Oh, I did a lot of post printing experimentation with this piece. For the one in the photographs, I first used a spray filler primer to smooth out the 3d print layers. Then I painted it using Montana Gold spray paint. (Montana Gold is the brand of spray paint. Gold isn't the color, they just call it that for some reason. It comes in loads of beautiful colors) Then I clear coated it using Montana's gloss varnish. (I always recommend using the same brand of clear coat and spray paint. Different brands sometimes chemically react with each other which can cause bubbles to form in the clear coat) And finally, I used a standard automotive clear coat polish to give it a mirror finish. (I also did some wet sanding in between each step, starting with 600 grit for the filler primer and finishing with 1500 grit before using the clear coat polish) It's time consuming but there are no special resources required. I was amazed by the professional quality finish, despite using only spray paint! I really appreciate you complimenting it! I am extremely fascinated with the post processing of 3d prints!

As for the base, it's actually made from angle iron and iron round stock, which I tig welded together and then powder coated white. The stand is mainly for display purposes, so I could move it easily and subject it to light test winds. Heavier winds can blow it over, so it's not a permanent solution. Ideally you would just drill a 12mm hole in a fixed structure, with some kind of fastening system, to securely attach it. I'm not sure if a 3d printed stand would be strong enough to safely secure it, but i'll definitely test it out and upload any functional stands. Accessibility being a major goal of this project, a printable stand would absolutely make the turbine more accessible to people without the proper metal working resources. Sorry I couldn't provide any files, but I hadn't thought about the idea of printing a stand. So in a way, thank you very much for the suggestion. Please keep the questions coming! I certainly learn a lot by reflecting on the process!

That's awesome! I can't wait to try making this. The parts look incredible, amazing work!!

Are there any secrets to avoid using lots of support material while printing these? Or should I just "bite the bullet" and use lots of support??

Thanks for your replies, they're very helpful!!

And Mike,
I just had an idea for an easy base... what if you design an adaptor for a standard (weighted) umbrella stand that traditionally goes under a patio table?? That would follow your goals of being pretty accessible, and would be an easy, quick print.

Hmm, I definitely think your on to something with that! Just the idea of making an adapter for a pre-made stand is probably the ideal solution. It wouldn't, necessarily, even need to be designed for a specific stand. I think makers could easily design an adapter for any pre-made stand they already own. If you don't mind, I would love to suggest that in the post process as a possible stand option. I honestly would have never even thought of that on my own. Thanks Tyler!

Also, in regards to your question about the support. The Armpiece can be printed vertically, with the side which connects to the centerpiece on the print bed. This only requires a small amount of support. As for the vanes, you can print them vertically with little support, if your printer has a big enough Z axis. If not, they'll have to be printed on their side or at an angle, with support. Finally, the centerpiece will require support no matter what. I, unfortunately, designed it very poorly for printing purposes. It works fine, but print quality (on my printer at least) wasn't great. I'll definitely work on a more printer friendly redesign of that part. Thanks again for the question! Sorry about the less then hasty response.

When I open the files in Cura the models are quite small. The vane component, for example, is a bit over 1mm long. I think a more appropriate size, at least on my CR-10 S4 printer would be 3000% that size. I'm pretty sure this isn't your intent since you state you designed the parts to fit a specific bearing and M3 screws. Could it be the units on your model are not millimeters?

About the vanes I think they can be printed upright which would give the best surface finish. The challenge is that the top and bottom sockets on the vane have a flat surface. While that's fine for the top it could be challenging on the bottom since that is an unsupported bridge and some materials like PETG struggle with those. That could make the socket surface warped which would make it hard to join vane components together. Would you consider making this part peaked so rather than one flat surface you'd have two surfaces at 45 degrees meeting up? This could also make assembly easier.

I look forward to trying your design!

Yes, the stl is in inches. i haven't used Cura thoroughly, but their might be a tool that scales the model from mm to in. I know makerware and simplify3d have this function. I'll definitely export the models in mm for future designs. As for the vanes, I printed mine upright with support, but i'd rather not clear material out of that pocket. So i'll definitely try modeling an angle in there. Thanks for the feedback!

Upright with a brim or a wide raft should work I would think. I look forward to an update with the angled mating surfaces!

How much energy will this generate?

I haven't ran any tests on it yet. That's my next step. But It spins up really nice in a light breeze.