How to Build Your Own Twin-Turbine Miniature Dam
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If you enjoyed our recent video on how to make your own hydroelectric powered hydroponics system, you might be interested in another hydro-powered project?
As you can imagine, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Materials and gear needed
- Bricks or similar
- Assorted plastic tubing and elbows
- Rubber tubing
- Quikrete cement mix and sand
- Spray paints
With everything in hand, it is time to get on with the build.
Step 1: Prepare the ground and make the dam
The first step is to create a trench to house the dam and create a reservoir for the dam. With that complete, mark out the position of the dam and excavate the trench floor and sides accordingly.
Once that is complete, mix up your cement as needed and add a layer to the base of the dam. Then add some more cement to the bricks and line the base of the dam accordingly.
Keep building up the courses o bricks as needed, but once you reach the third course, leave two gaps on either side for the water pipes. Cut two short lengths of plastic pipe and insert these into the dam structure as shown in the video.
Once in place, secure the pipes using more cement, and continue adding courses of bricks until the full height of the dam is achieved. You will need to trim down some bricks to it the space at times.
Once the main dam structure is complete, cover/skim the entire structure in cement.
With that done, demark the lower hardstanding downstream from the dam. Then fill the space with more cement, level of and smooth as needed.
Step 2: Make the hydroelectricity generator piping
While the hard standing cement is curing, insert two plastic pipe end caps, or similar, into the cement to denote the position of the hydroelectric generators. With that done, take your assorted plastic piping pieces and elbows, and construct the hydroelectric assembly as shown in the video.
At set intervals, drill holes through the tubing to mark the positions of the "spokes" of the pipes assembly. Insert a short length of rubber tubing into each hole as shown.
For the center drum of each assembly, take a length of larger bore plastic pipe and drill matching holes for the "spokes". Glue a metal pipe nipple into each hole as shown.
With that done, complete the main ring and insert the rubber tubing "spokes" to the center drum. Rinse and repeat to make a second, but a mirror image of the first assembly.
Once complete, spray paint both assemblies in the color desired - in this case, blue.
Step 3: Make the hydroelectric generators
Next, cut a pair of plastic disks and demark the center and positions of the impeller blades. Next, cut a series of the impellor blades and glue them into position on the plastic disks.
With that done, glue the other side of the impeller/centrifugal pump into place.
Next, take all the plastic parts and assemble them on the hardstanding of your dam. Make sure all the pipe fittings are secure and water-tight.
With that done, take your small dynamos, wire them up as needed and attach the centrifuge wheels to the end of the dynamos as well.
Once done install them in the center of each centrifugal assembly. With the assemblies now complete, you can fill up the reservoir of the dam and flood the pipework as needed.
The pipework should divert the water into the center pipe to create a whirlpool. Complete the wiring from the dynamos as shown in the video.
Once done, complete the wiring to some lights, open the dam's valves, and let the dynamos do their magic!
If you enjoyed this interesting build, you might be interested in another dam-based project? How about, for example, making your own four-sluice mini-dam replica in your back garden?
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