How to Make a Windmill for a School Project

Build a windmill for a school science project. You can design and construct a windmill using many household items,based on the American wind machine design from the late 19th century, to create electricity. The windmill will generate enough alternating current (AC) to light a small light bulb. If the experiment is indoors, or on a calm day, you will need a small electric fan to create the wind.

How to Make a Windmill for a School Project
How to Make a Windmill for a School Project (Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • 1 bag of wooden craft sticks
  • 1 tube of wood glue
  • Paper towel tube
  • 1 large nail, 8cm or longer
  • 1 large wooden craft circle
  • Glue gun
  • Small fan to create wind
  • 4 small ceramic block magnets
  • Magnet wire
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Miniature light bulb

Build the Windmill

Step 1:

Create the bottom base of the windmill by gluing 10 wooden craft sticks, side-by-side to each other with wood glue.Repeat with another 10 wooden craft sticks, glued side-by-side. Glue the two bases on top of each other, in opposite directions, to make a two-layered bottom.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
Step 2:

Create the tower of the windmill by gluing the bottom of the paper towel roll to the center of the base using wood glue. Ensure the paper towel roll is tightly glued down by adding several coats of glue around the edges of the bottom of the paper towel roll.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
Step 3:

Push the nail through the top of the paper towel tube leaving an inch of space between the top of the tube and the nail. Spin the nail several times to create a large hole allowing the windmill to easily spin.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
Step 4:

Glue a large craft circle to the head of the nail using a glue gun.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
Step 5:

Glue six wooden craft sticks to the back of the wooden circle spaced evenly apart creating the fan blades.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
Step 6:

Test the windmill's spinning capability by pointing the fan toward your windmill and turning it on.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)

Generate Electricity

Step 1:

Attach two magnets to each side of the nail inside the paper towel tube. Wrap the entire roll of magnet wire around the top of the paper towel tube, surrounding the nail hole without covering it up. Tape down the magnet wire leaving both ends loose by about three inches.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
Step 2:

Cut back the plastic covering of both ends of the wire by at least one inch. Make sure all the covering is scraped off, exposing the copper colored wire.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
Step 3:

Twist each end of magnet wire around each end of the light bulb wire tightly.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
Step 4:

Test the windmill by turning on the fan which should spin the windmill blades and light the light bulb.

(Robinson Cartagena Lopez/Demand Media)
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