|Build Your Own Wind-Powered
Written by Mike Young, and posted on the ready store blog
One of the most important jobs when you’re growing your own food is ensuring that your
garden is getting an adequate supply of water. If you are in a situation that requires you to
grow a lot of your own food, keeping the garden watered by hand can be a time-consuming
Following an economic collapse, electricity and other forms of nonrenewable energy will be
very scarce, which means you won’t be able to rely on powered water pumps. Fortunately,
there’s an alternative.
Humans used wind power to pump water for centuries prior to the industrial revolution, and
following an economic collapse, you can return to this technology – with a few modern
additions. In fact, you can build a wind-powered water pump out of recycled bike parts and
PVC materials. And you can do it cheaply and easily with these instructions.
Step 1: Wheels & Gears
Small bolts (must fit into the gears)
Teflon or electrical tape
Two mountain bicycle wheel rims
1” PVC pipe tee
2-inch wooden dowel, slightly smaller circumference than the PVC pipe tee
1. Attach 2-inch bolts to every other hole in one of the two gears, and 1-inch bolts to the
other gear. Attach nylon spacers to the 2-inch bolts using Teflon tape; this will be the
vertical gear, while the other will be the horizontal gear.
2. Mount the horizontal gear on the axle of one of the bicycle wheel rims.
3. Mount the second bicycle wheel rim on the first to create an open “drum” using three
4. Install the bicycle wheel rim “drum” to the top of the PVC tee using the wooden dowel to
hold the axle rod securely in place, but with enough room to allow it to spin freely.
5. Secure the PVC tee to the top of a tripod.
6. Attach the vertical gear to the horizontal part of the PVC tee, perpendicular to the
horizontal gear. Mount the gear on a ball bearing to allow for free rotation. Shore up the
sides of the gear to prevent it from wobbling.
7. Attach a ball bearing to the back of one of the teeth on the vertical gear; this will allow the
pump connector to move freely on the gear (see below).
Step 2: Making and Installing the Wind Foils
5 Lightweight plastic (styrene is optimal) sheets, 10” x 18”
Enough silk to cover one side of each panel
1. Sand the dull side of the styrene sheets and coat with polyurethane adhesive.
2. Attach silk to each panel and trim off the excess.
3. Punch two holes on the long sides of each foil, large enough for a bicycle wheel spoke to
4. Drill five holes in the rim of each bicycle wheel at even intervals.
5. Insert spokes into the wheel rims from the inside of the rim and secure at the center with
plumber’s epoxy. Let dry.
6. Slip the foils onto the spokes and secure with the epoxy. When the epoxy dries, screw
spoke nuts onto the end of each spoke to further secure the foils.
Step 3: The Pump Connector
18” PVC pipe with elbow connectors
5 bicycle spoke nuts
1. Attach elbow connectors at either end of the PVC pipe.
2. Drill five holes at one end of the PVC pipe, one inch apart, and attach bicycle spoke nuts.
Alternately, you can heat the spoke nuts over an open flame and push them into the PVC
pipe. Secure the spoke nuts with epoxy.
3. An elbow connector will slip over the ball bearing on the vertical gear, allowing the
mechanism to move freely between the windmill and the water pump.
Step 4: Water Pump
2x ½” or ¾” PVC pipe
1” PVC pipe
PVC pipe cap
2x Metal washers
2x Foam washers
2x rubber washers
1” PVC tee
1” or ½” threaded reducer
½” nylon barb
¾” or 1” bushing
1. Assemble pump according to the schematic.
2. Attach the eye hook and ball bearing to the top of the pump.
Step 5: Final Assembly
2x screw clamps
1. Sink the post into the ground at the location where you will place your windmill. Brace the
lower part of the pumping mechanism to the metal rod for stability using the screw clamps.
2. Center the windmill above the pump, high enough that the pump connector can fully
extend and contract.
3. Secure the tripod legs to the ground.
4. Attach the pump connector to the ball bearings on the vertical gear and the water pump
5. Attach the hose to the base of the water pump and run it down to your water reservoir.
We know there are many ways to make your own water pump, we would love to hear your
thoughts and ideas. If you have any that you have made we would love to see your pictures
of your final product.
*The images used in this article are brought to you by DIY Pics.