His wind powered USB charger was designed to work with just two specific pieces, and while he says it does work to juice up his portable battery charger, he’s had slightly less luck getting it to charge his phone, but he calls it a work in progress.
“I’ve been wanting to do a project like this for a while now, and I started trying out some things with it, but then I got distracted with work and everything and put it on hold,” Dorsa says. “Then I saw Makerbot’s Catch The Wind challenge the other day and decided it was time to go back and actually make something of this.”
After experimenting with a variety of turbine designs, Dorsa says that Savonius cups proved to be the most efficient solution as they work well when printed in smaller sizes and tend to require very little wind to start them spinning. He says the fact that they only spin in one direction was an added bonus.
He also plans to incorporate a voltage regulator into the design at some point. Dorsa does offer a warning to those who use the system without the regulator.
“My knowledge of electronics is amateur at best. If you leave this connected to a phone or something for too long it might melt, or explode, or turn into a Decepticon,” he says. “I really don’t know, so use it at your own risk. I’ve had a portable charger hooked up to it for a while now though, and so far it’s been fine. The voltage this produces is pretty low, so I don’t think it’s dangerous, but just in case, I want to avoid liability.”
He says he selected the USB port used in his project as it’s advertised to automatically regulate output voltage to 5 volts at inputs between 2.5 and 6 volts.
Dorsa does say the he’s not fully sold on the efficiency of the system.
“Honestly, the other factor is that wind simply isn’t the most effective way to produce energy at smaller sizes like this since the turbine isn’t large enough to catch as much wind as is ideal, hence you don’t see a lot of wind powered phone chargers for sale either,” he says. “I do like wind though since it’s easy and very cheap to produce, which is why I want to make this work, I just have some more progress to make, and I am open to any suggestions.”
He adds that he’s also working on hand cranked and solar powered versions of the charger.
You can download all the necessary files to print your own version of Dorsa’s charger here on Thingiverse…
Do you have any suggestions to help Anthony Dorsa improve his 3D printed wind powered USB charger? Let us know in the Wind Powered USB Charger forum thread on 3DPB.com.