Centre for Alternative Technology

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Build a small wind turbine.

  • Sat 23rd - Sun 24th March 2019.
    Course starts at 10am and ends at 4pm on the last day.
    Course fee including full board accommodation £200.
    This course runs again on Sat 5th - Sun 6th October 2019.

  • Dates, Times & Fees

Course details

Drawing on Tom Dixon’s. Drawing on Tom Dixon’s. 10 years of experience teaching people how to build small wind turbines we have developed a new course that is customised to maximise the practical and theoretical learning outcomes. The fact that you build it yourselves from scratch gives you a great understanding of the underlying scientific principles involved.

Over the weekend we build an electricity generating wind turbine from simple materials using a range of hand tools and techniques. Participants each carve a wooden blade, manipulate powerful magnets, and assemble the turbine. Once all the parts are brought together the complete turbine is tested with a fan and you can see how your hard work is converted to electricity!

Please note – The turbine we will make is similar, but not the same as the Hugh Piggott machine as we will not be casting the alternator in resin, this means that the turbine we make, whilst working as an electrical generator, is not be suitable for permanent installation. However, the skills and theory taught will leave participants with a better understanding of how wind turbines work and how to make one themselves should they wish.

By hand building all the elements you gain confidence in your own practical ability. The range of tasks involved allows you to get a sense of which skills you may be interested in developing further. You also attain a fantastic sense of achievement as you see the project develop from a pile of raw materials through to a fully working system.

The sessions are:

Blades – each person hand carves a wooden wind turbine blade with an aerofoil profile based on an introduction to fluid dynamics and blade design.

Electrical generator – after an introduction to electromagnetism the group creates some copper coils, prepares its output wires and solders them all up into a three-phase stator. Each person then secures a number of powerful magnets into a rotor to make up the other part of the generator.

Electrical system – the group learns about the different components that make up a safe wind turbine electrical system while wiring them all together to make a battery charging setup.

Assembly – the group bolt together all the component parts to complete the turbine and learns about the importance of mechanical overspeed protection, blade balancing & maintenance.

Testing – the group connects the turbine to their electrical system, watch it spin and charge some devices!

Your tutor for this course is Tom Dixon.

Things you need to know

Due to the nature of this course some practical work will be done outside. We strongly advise you to bring waterproof clothing and steel toe-cap boots are mandatory.

You must be over the age of 18 years when this course starts.

Booking, Fees and Cancellation policy

To book a place on a course, please choose one of the following options:

• Book Online- the “Book online” button is either below, or in the top right corner of the screen and follow the instructions.

• Call the Courses Department on 01654 704 966 with your bank card details.

Please note: a £100 non-refundable deposit is required to secure your place.

The balance of the course fee is due 28 days before the start of the course.

Our course fees include full board accommodation, tuition and materials, unless otherwise stated.

Please also note our Cancellation & Refund Policy
a) The £100 deposit and 1 day course fees are non-refundable.
b) For courses of 2 days or more when you give us this notice of cancellation:
• 28 days or more – refund minus your £100 deposit.
• 8 to 27 days notice – refund minus your £100 deposit for sales of £200 or under. On sales over £200 - 50% refund.
• 7 days notice or under – no refund.
c) CAT reserves the right to cancel any courses. Deposits and fees will be returned in full should this happen.


Course Fees.

Start Date

Bed & Breakfast the night before the course starts

Book Now!

Email courses@cat.org.uk
or phone 01654 704 966

There are places available on this course.

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