Build Your Own Homemade Wind Generator

Marshall Price built his own homemade wind generator, the article includes using wind energy to create free electricity, recharging batteries, and the investment cost to build the wind generator.

| July/August 1986

  • 100-103-01
    Marshall Price's ability to find treasures in trash culminated in the construction of this 2-kilowatt wind-powered generator. His $300 investment has reduced his electric bill to about $20 a month.

  • 100-103-01

Reprinted from MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 84.  

Marshall Price's "Basement-Built" homemade wind generator. A low-investment windplant that's a backyard tinkerer's dream. 

Build Your Own Homemade Wind Generator

"Dunkirk Man Builds Windmill at Modest Investment; Cuts His Utility Bill." That headline, followed by a short article, ran in the August 1, 1978, edition of western New York's Dunkirk-Fredonia Evening Observer. Hardly earth-shattering news, but it did stick in the memory of MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors . . . one of whom paid a visit to Mr. Price at his home on the shores of Lake Erie.

And what our staffer saw there was yet another example of commonsense appropriate technology: Mr. Price, a typewriter repairman by trade and a part-time machinist and welder, had pieced together—for about $300—a wind-driven electrical generator . . . one that has supplied much of his home's electrical needs since Mother's Day of 1976!

Make Do, and Make It Work

Marshall's story really began after the Price family built their lakeside residence nearly 18 years ago. The constant breeze blowing off the water served as an ever-present reminder that free energy was going begging . . . but it wasn't until Mr. Price started collecting information on wind machines, and ran across "a little red book on homemade energy" (THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS Handbook of Homemade Power), that he finally found the answer to the problem that had been keeping him from building his own plant: the need for information concerning the design and fabrication of the all-important wooden blades. Once he'd uncovered that technique, the rest, for the most part, was a matter of locating junkyard parts and fitting them together so they'd be compatible with one another and with the nature of the lakeside breezes to create his low-cost homemade wind generator.

"One thing about the wind here," he told us, "it's darned unpredictable. It can be blowing nicely at a steady 18 miles per hour, and then all of a sudden it whips up to 30 knots without so much as a how do you do. On top of that, it changes direction just as erratically . . . and that can play the devil with your equipment. A 12 foot rotor spinning at 200 RPM or so has tremendous inertia, and doesn't take easily to being reoriented."

3/12/2015 10:20:12 AM

Being from such an old article, would it still be possible to order Mr. Prices plans from here or somewhere else. I had them long ago and lost them. I would like to have them again.

DM Hebert
6/29/2008 12:22:56 PM

I am not new to the expert, easy to understand information of the Mother Earth News. Even though this article is more than two decades old, I knew that this article could help me with a home generator. I also knew that the information would be relatively timeless. I have taken the information I needed, using the proper reference source tags. Thank you for another successful project, Mother Earth News. DMH

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