Build Your Own Twin-Turbine Mini Hydroelectric Dam in Your Garden

Ever wanted to make your own garden hydroelectric dam.
Christopher McFadden

If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.

Like dams? Want a little one in your garden? Then follow this simple guide to find out how to make one. 

diy mini hydro dam complete
Source: Construction General/YouTube

As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.

Materials and gear needed

Optional

  • Recruit a dog supervisor

With all your gear in hand, it is time to get on with this great little build. 

Step 1: Prepare the ground

The very first step, after you've chosen a suitable location, is to break ground. Build a trench, and excavate the area where the dam will be built within the trench as shown in the video. 

With that done, mix up your cement mixture as needed, and begin to lay the foundations for the main dam structure. Next, take your bricks and begin to lay several courses of bricks to build the main dam structure. 

diy hydro dam brick dam
Source: Construction General/YouTube

Be sure to add a length of plastic pipe to form an opening for the overflow lower sluice of the dam within the first course of bricks. Also, ensure you leave two gaps on either side of the dam for the main hydro generator-sluices. 

Step 2: Mark out the position of hydro-generators

With the dam mainly finished, you can now begin to build the main hydro-generator structures. Mark out the position of each of the two in front of the dam as shown in the video. Excavate holes as shown, and insert the lengths of uPVC pipe and plastic funnels as shown. 

Cement the piping into place. 

With that done, line the route of the sluice ramps and wells will small pieces of brick or cinder block to form walls. Once complete, skim all exposed surfaces of masonry with cement.

diy hyrdo dam sluices
Source: Construction General/YouTube

With that done, complete the stepped cement structures between the sluices and downstream of the dam. Once done, skim the entire main dam structure too. 

Once done, leave the cement to fully cure. 

Step 3: Build the sluice gates

Next, take some lengths of metal or wood and build the frames for the main sluice gates to the dam. Cement into place as needed. 

Next, build the sluice gate structures using scrap metal rods and sheet metal. Weld together as needed. 

diy dam gates
Source: Construction General/YouTube

Install the flood gates into their frames as shown. With that done, install a pair of motors to the tops of the sluice gates to enable remote opening and closing of the gates.

With that done, add an elbow and length of uPVC piping to the lower sluice gate. Next, make a housing for the motor controls, and install it on one side of the dam. 

Next, take various colors of paint, and decorate the main dam structure as needed. In this case, the main dam structure is white, and trimmings red. 

You can decorate the dam as you see fit. 

diy hydro dam paint
Source: Construction General/YouTube

 Step 4: Make the hydro-generators

Next, take some more lengths of uPVC piping. Cut, flatten, etc, to make the main hydro-generator impellors as shown in the video. 

Once ready, paint them to match the dam as needed. With that done, mount them to a wooden holder, and install a dynamo on each impeller. 

Install the complete generators into the wells of each hydro-generator sluice. 

diy hydro dam generators
Source: Construction General/YouTube

With that done, rig up a series of pylons, and wire up the dynamos to the pylons as shown.

Next, run the wires and pylons from the generators to where you need the power to be transferred - in this case, a series of lights at the top of the dam and sides of the trench in front of the dam. 

diy hyrdo dam lights
Source: Construction General/YouTube

With that done, you can now fill the main reservoir of the dam as needed. 

Congratulations, your mini dam is now finally complete. Now all you need to do is open the sluice gates, and watch your little creation come to life!

If you enjoyed this little project, you might enjoy making another miniature dam?

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