Wind Turbine

Latest Version: Lorain County Community Fab Lab

I started with a almost complete redesign which included getting rid of the twisted blades (too hard to make for a one-off prototype), a new foot, approximately doubling the wind-swept area of the turbine, using a different profile for the wings (NACA 0018) and introducing a folding mechanism for an easier transport to the west coast because I was going to travel by plane from now on.

To let the cat out of the bag this is what it looks like now:

The new blades were cnc-machined from plywood on the fab lab’s shop bot which gave me a really hard time because it is an old and stubborn machine that does not like to machine 3-dimensional shapes at all.

In theory the nice thing about digital fabrication is that the machines do the work for you once you’re done designing the part with a computer. In this case I had to babysit the machine for about two days, stopping it about every half-hour to restart the program in order to prevent it from destroying the work it had done earlier.


AS220 Labs Providence



Haystack Mountain Fab Lab


I used the Shop Bot (a large CNC-Router) to shape a better leading and trailing edge for the wings of the wind turbine.

Then I laser-cut the profile sections to form the rest of the wing.

This construction should help me to use a thin plastic foil for the wing surface instead of the rather heavy and unprecise polystyrene I used earlier.

The status quo looks surprisingly similar to this.


CUC Fab Lab Champaign – Urbana

After going shopping (and getting wet) in a big thunderstorm I went to the open session in the CUC Fab Lab for a last time. I covered the wings of the turbine skeleton with thin polystyrene sheets, build a larger support and, due to lack of real wind that evening, switched on the Fan…

And it works! Despite the blades being very far from a real profile (I lasercut a NACA 0015) the turbine spins in pretty light winds.

Putting the styrene on the outside of the lasercut profile pretty much destroys the shape of the profile and creates a horrible leading edge but it was the quickest way to get things going.

To make it work more effectively I have to change the construction of the wings to actually match the original profile shape.


This is the second prototype. Its already has ball bearings but it’s still missing the “feathers” on the wings.

I will try to figure that out today.



I decided to separate my Fabrication project from the blog to make it easier to follow. I will always post the latest steps on top.

Step # 3: I put the parts together, next step will be to makeĀ  them spin :)

Step # 2: I spend an Afternoon at the Wanger Family Fab Lab in the Museum of Science and Industry drawing parts for a first skeleton-Prototipe of the turbine blades.

Step #1: After some Hours of online research I printed a small model of a Vertical-Axis-Wind-Turbine that I found on Thingyverse.