Link generator

Here’s how to build a generator set based on a water wheel

Using a few basic materials, you too can make your own generator.

If you want to make your own power supply but don’t want to spend a fortune making it, then this little project might be just what you’re looking for. Using wood, plastic card and electrical components, you too can make your own little hydropower generator!

Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

As you can imagine, you will need some tools and materials before you begin.

Materials and equipment needed

With all your gear in hand, let’s get to building.

Step 1: Build the Waterwheel

The first step is to take your lumber lengths and cut them into a series of lumber lengths. With that done, square up the wood to craft the basic components of the main water wheel frame as needed.

Also mark the position of any screw holes etc. With that done, drill and drill all the necessary holes through the lengths of wood as shown in the video.

diy channel core wood
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

Once the wooden parts of the frame are cut and ready, the next step is to sand the wood as needed. You can do this by hand or using something like an orbital sander.

Next, take your prepared lumber and begin assembling the waterwheel frame as needed. Part of the frame will need to have grooves to allow the water wheel to be lowered and raised as needed.

diy channel frame
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

If necessary, insert the ball bearings into the waterwheel frame. This done, install your threaded metal rod between the ball bearings to also make the axis of the waterwheel.

diy channel waterwheel axle
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

Now install the part in the main part of the frame using nuts and bolts as shown in the video. Next, sketch a half-circle shape on a piece of plastic card or similar material.

Step 2: Make the main paddle wheel

With that done, cut out a few quarter hoops from the plastic board as needed for the different parts of the main waterwheel. Cut them out as needed.

diy canal water wheel
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

Once done, glue the quarter hoop together to form a large ring. Next, make small circles of plastic card to make hubs for the larger wheels, and glue pieces of wood around the hubs to make spokes for the main wheel.

diy waterwheel spokes
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

With that done, glue the spokes to the main rings of the waterwheel as needed. Also cut excess pieces of wood from the spokes as needed.

Screw the two halves of the water wheels together using threaded rod and nuts and bolts as shown in the video. With that done, cut out a series of plastic card rectangles and glue them in place around the waterwheel to make the wheel paddles.

diy canal waterwheel paddles
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

With that done, hand or spray paint the entire piece. In this case, the creator chose to color it black, but you can paint it any color you prefer.

Step 3: Assemble the Waterwheel

Once the paint is dry, you can now complete the final assembly of the waterwheel. Attach the waterwheel to its axle and install it into the wooden support cradle in the main waterwheel frame as shown below.

diy water wheel assemble
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

Once done, adjust the nuts on the main threaded rod axle as needed to keep the spacers apart while still allowing the waterwheel to spin freely. Next, cut out a small wooden circle and add it to one end of the axle.

This will act as a driving wheel for the generator set. With that done, take your mini dynamo and attach it to its mounting bracket on the main assembly. Secure it in place using a metal ring or other bracing as needed.

diy water wheel motor
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

With this done, add a pinion to the main rotor of the motor/dynamo and another larger pinion to the main axle of the waterwheel.

Then connect the two sprockets together using a short length of bicycle chain or similar.

diy water wheel drive chain
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

With that done, take an old electrical outlet and switch and wire them to the dynamo wires. Secure the wires to the frame so they are not damaged or loose when the waterwheel is running.

Step 4: Test your generator

With that done, your mini waterwheel generator is now complete. Now all you need to do is find a suitable waterway, such as a small stream, canal, or culvert, and place your generator in place on the other side of the waterway.

diy waterwheel test
Source: Mister Construction/YouTube

Then lower the waterwheel into the water, flip the switch and watch your little generator do its thing!

If you liked this little power generation project, you might like to do another one?

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