Generate Your Own Electricity for Free with This DIY Screw Generator
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If you want to be able to charge your small electronics in the wild, then you might want to consider making your own little hydroelectric generator?
If so, follow this little guide to find out how.
As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Materials and gear needed
- Scrap plastic sheeting
- Plastic caps
- Pair of compasses
- Applicator gun and silicone sealant (clear)
- Scrap wood
- Assorted small-bore plastic piping
- Ball bearings
- Krazy superglue
- Heat gun
- Basic tools
Step 1: Make the main screw
The first step is to take your plastic sheeting and cut it into a set of equally-sized squares. Then take a pair of compasses and mark out a donut shape of one of them.
Cut out the donut as shown. Rinse and repeat to make a total of four equally-sized donuts. Make a single cut across each of the donuts as shown.
Heat the plastic donuts/rings slightly to make them pliable and shape them into a corkscrew shape. Next, take your uPVC pipe and mark out the shape of the corkscrew for the main generator.
Glue the plastic donut corkscrew "blades" into place as needed. With that done, seal the corkscrew blades to the main tube using some epoxy.
Heat seal the blades and epoxy using a heat gun and adjust the blades as needed.
Next, take your plastic caps and drill a hole in the center of each. Glue some lengths of metal rod into the holes. Seal with epoxy as before.
Glue the lids and metal rod assemblies to the top and bottom of the main corkscrew as shown in the video. Once done, paint the entire assembly in the color of your choice - in this case blue.
Step 2: Make the frame
Next, take your scrap wood, cut and shape as needed to make the frame for the main device. Screw the pieces of wood together to make an elongated box large enough to contain the main screw and electronics.
Add cross members to the frame for added strength as required. With that done, take your larger uPVC piping and cut it lengthways in half.
Take one of the halves, and nail it into place within the main wooden frame, as shown. With that done, take a short length of wood and cut a hole large enough for one of your ball bearings.
Insert it into the wooden piece and affix it to the frame to insert one end of the main corkscrew into the frame. Rinse and repeat for the other end of the device.
With that done, insert the main corkscrew into the pair of ball bearings.
Step 3: Add the electronics
With that done, take your miniature dynamo and mount it into place to one end of the main corkscrew. Connect the shaft from the corkscrew to the main shaft of the dynamo as needed.
Secure the dynamo into place on the frame using lengths of wood as needed too. Using other pieces of plastic, box in parts of the frame as required.
With that done, take your switch and other electronic components and assemble them as needed. Connect to the main dynamo and mount to the frame as shown in the video.
Test the generator by turning the corkscrew by hand. This should light up a small LED strip light. If not, adjust the electronics as needed.
With that done, your hydro generator is now basically complete. You can now either test it in a real river or build an artificial one and let your generator do its magic.
if you enjoyed this project, you might be interested in upping the ante a little by building a miniature hydroelectric dam?