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Home-Built Aluminum Windmill Tower
Instead of spending thousands of dollars to buy a windmill tower, Curtis Flynn spent just $800 to build a tower to support his wind turbine. His experience as an engineer helped, but he actually just based his design on older windmills he's seen in Michigan.

    Flynn bought 25-ft. lengths of "angle aluminum" for the main tower structure. Though aluminum costs more than steel, Flynn says he doesn't have to paint it and it's lighter to lift into place using cables and levers.

    The tower has a 6 by 6-ft. base with the legs bolted in steel channels sunk in concrete footings.

    "My biggest challenge was to make sure it was strong enough to support the 150-lb. head and the torque of the wind," Flynn says. He braced the lattice tower with 3/4 by 1/8-in. strap aluminum for X-bracing and used 5/16-in. stainless steel bolts. In addition to the turbine head, the tower supports a 5-in. dia. steel pipe, which provides enough clearance for the 12-ft. dia. turbine blades.

    Flynn says he has been pleased with his Skystream 3.7 turbine, which produces 1,500 to 3,000 watts. He advises that anyone thinking about putting up a turbine contact the local zoning board first about regulations. He kept his tower under 40 ft., because there's more state permit paperwork and cost to put up taller structures.

    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup: Curtis Flynn, 14244 Center St., Eagle, Mich. 48822 (ph 517 627-0017; curtisflynn@yahoo.com).

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2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2