– Handmade Generator Generation


Hand Generated Motors Workshop (Working Progress)

As we hear more and more about Climate Change and humanities distraction from the natural world I want to create a space that could be used to encourage dialogue about these important issues in a creative and participatory way. My dissertation from my BA discussed the pros and cons of participation in art so I am interested in creating my own events so that I can inform this research further.

I have recently become interested in electronics and came across a YouTube video detailing how to make a handmade hand cranked electricity generator out of mostly found objects. This small hand held device could be used to light up a small filament bulb or LED if using a diode (Diode used to change from AC to DC). Well I was wowed by its simplicity. The ability to harness electricity (a natural force) from nature that causes minimal impact on our environment is the holy grail and vital for our survival on this planet.

I though it would be a wonderful project to create a popup workshop/event that could show people how to make their own tiny generators. Empowering them with knowledge that renewable energy works and to help dispel the myth that we are slaves to nonrenewable energy sources. The natural world does not need to be destroyed due to the human desire for power. These small generators could potentially be made larger and by the power of wind or water could generate more energy. Nature provides us with what we need if we know how to look.

I have not been able to run this workshop yet as I am still trying to source some items that I need. I managed to get loads of copper wire from asking around and using freecycle and some magnets from old hard drives, however I still need more strong magnets. Hopefully in the new year this project will blossom.

Photos of Process so far


Jan 2015

I did manage to get my hands on two rather large spools of industrial copper wire and job lot of really powerful industrial magnets. This is a positive step forward.

Much Frustration!!!

I am still finding it difficult to actually get the motors to work. I may need to get advice, just not sure where from. I have been trawling the Internet for advice and not been able to get much. I built the a few different prototypes using different sized magnets, cardboard containers, lengths and widths of wire and also using a 1.5w filament bulbs and small LED bulbs (LEDs need a Bridge Rectifier (Using a small Diod IN4001) to convert the current from AC to DC, also it is difficult to generate enough power for LEDs by hand cranking.)

I really want to get this working….eventually to the stage where I can create a real miniature wind turbine using reclaimed or recycled materials (I am thinking aluminum cans).


Tried to use taped pennies to stop the magnets snapping back together.


Prototyping – a number of different attempts can be seen here:


A job lot of strong magnets – problem here is that they are so strong it is quite easy to catch your fingers “Ouch!”


Ideas for posible propellers and altrenative methods of spinning the magnets.