Windmills are used to harness the power of the wind. The wind turns blades attached to a mill, providing a machine with power. The earliest windmills were used to grind grain. This means early windmills were located near rural areas and farms. Later on, windmills were developed so they can pump water for irrigation. Modern windmills used to generate electricity are also called wind turbines.
If wind passes through solid obstructions in its path, it loses most of its power. For windmills to get the best wind gusts, they are often built on rising land. The mills are also built to be taller than any surrounding structure.
The Components of a Windmill:
- wind blades
- nacelle or gear box to facilitate blade movement
Instructions for Making a Windmill
- Wind blades can be made from lightweight wood or plastic. The size of the tower and base will determine the size of the wind blades.
- The base of the windmill should be strong so it can support the whole structure. A windmill that stands 5 feet tall should have an 18-inch square base and weigh 20 lbs. You can use a sandbag or concrete for the base to achieve stability.
- Use a 2 x 4 plastic PVS piping to support the windmill tower of a 5-foot windmill.
- The nacelle of the windmill usually contains a gearbox. However, if you are building a basic windmill, a simple shaft is enough to connect all the blades and give it power to spin.
Making a Scale-Model Windmill
A scale-model windmill is one that basically gives people an idea how a windmill works. It shows how the blades are turned by the wind. It also gives an idea as to how the blades should be shaped and what its dimensions should be. Here are the materials you need for building a windmill scale-model:
- windmill pattern (often just for the blades of the windmill)
- heavy-duty construction paper
- wood stick about 2″ wide and 12” long
- paper fastener
Building Your Windmill Model
- Windmill scale-model templates are available. You can also design your own by basing it on existing models.
- Glue the pattern to a cardboard or stiff construction paper.
- Cut out the pattern.
- Attach a paper fastener through the center of the blades and push it into the piece of wood.
- Secure the wood to the ground and observe the windmill blades as they turn slowly.