Bright and shiny renewable energy. The Zoetrope on a temporary stand.

The Zoetrope

Status: Complete

Attachments: (To download, right-click the file and select "Save Link As")

Construction Guide (26.4MB), (Mirror), (Djvu), (Compressed)

Magnet Layout Template (SVG)

CAD files for metal parts (SVG & DXF)




Image Gallery

The Zoetrope is a vertical-axis wind turbine made from common materials such as stove pipe, metal brackets, plastic sheet and a trailer hub. Many of the materials can be found at local hardware or home improvement stores, the rest can either be made at home or purchased online. The Zoetrope was commissioned by Washington (USA) resident and renewable energy supporter Mike Marohn to provide supplemental water heating.

Applied Sciences made the decision to open source the wind turbine and provide a freely available introduction to wind power, thereby allowing others to improve the design and functionality. The construction guide represents a realization of the open source decision. It details the build process and includes a complete materials list as well as recommended tools.

Something to keep in mind is that the power output of The Zoetrope is specifically tailored to the site where it is located and the application for which it is being used. Water heating is a cumulative process that can accommodate wide fluctuations in power and voltage. This is ideal since the site can routinely experience 25m/s (60mph) wind gusts. Putting that potential energy to use without burning up the stator means lower efficiency in light wind as a trade-off. During limited testing, power outputs of 150-200 watts were observed, but with a unidirectional anemometer and varying load resistance, those numbers are definitely approximations. The "official high" sustained wind speed during the testing period was 9m/s (20mph). In building your own turbine for your own application, you could tailor it to get better low speed performance than The Zoetrope.

The Zoetrope framed by autumn colors.


The coil winding apparatus in action.

Some decent wind turbine action.

Close-up of the alternator. The air gap was later shortened.


As a courtesy, we maintain a list of resources that may prove useful in wind turbine construction. Applied Sciences has no affiliation with any of the listed sites. - One of the more popular DIY wind (and renewable) power sites; an excellent source of information. - A store run by the same people who run Sells useful materials for building wind turbines and renewable energy systems. - A purveyor of a good selection of materials for building wind turbines. - Site with information concerning different designs of vertical-axis wind turbines (VAWT).