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27 Homemade Generators For Running Small Appliances and Power Tools

How would you like to have a DIY generator that costs you almost nothing to build? Harnessing the power of the sun or wind to power your electrical devices, regardless of where you may be, is easier than you may think. Whether for home, office, campsite, cabin or any other location where you would like free electricity, use our list of diy ideas for building your own homemade generator. A great idea when building in a remote area when an electrical source is not available, yet the need for power tools is there.

1- Bicycle Power Homemade Generator

Clean and free power provided with the use of an old bicycle. Use these DIY generator plans by Treehugger to build your own free electricity generator with old bike parts and a few other components.

Below are short steps to make this bicycle power homemade generator.

Build or buy the bicycle stand. Make the front bike stand by a 4x4x24” wood blocks. Sandwich the two support blocks on either side of two high blocks by sawing about 4 inches off of the 2x4s. Attach the motor to the back wheel or chain as you like. Find a motor that will mount the cylinder and attach the motor to the upper plate of aluminium.

I would like to recommend this diy bicycle power generator to you as it is made using what you already have in hand i.e bicycle and some other componenets. Run this generator without fuel, sun, winds etc. by doing some cycling as well as getting a healthy exercise at the same time.

With a multi meter check the voltage coming out of your motor and connect the positive output of motor to the positive input of charger and vice versa with the ground wire. Use 18 Amp-h battery and connect the terminals. Connect inverter to the battery to convert DC to AC.

Homemade Generator
Bicycle Power Homemade Generator, Image via: Treehugger

2- Homemade Gas Generator

These free plans will show you how to build a small and powerful gas generator. It is a DC generator that is run by a 4 stroke gasoline engine.

This would be great to use at an off grid homestead or hunting camp. It would also be very useful for charging the car battery when you are miles away from a charging station. A gas generator has many uses and it is a valuable tool for anyone who is wanting to find ways to cut back on the amount of on-grid power they use.

The 4 stroke gas engine is small, lightweight, and uses very little gas. This is the size motor that is typically used on weed eaters and leaf blowers. They are lightweight and powerful enough to handle several tasks at once, like powering a small appliance, charging electronics, and providing lights.

The small size makes it a portable homemade generator by instructables so you take it wherever you go. Its usefulness and low building cost make this a must-have item. These free plans are detailed and make building this DIY generator easy.

Everyone should have a homemade generator on hand just in case of an emergency and the power goes out. The small size of this gas generator makes it easy to keep stored on a shelf in the garage until it is needed. You will feel more secure during rain storms when you know that you have a source of electricity that is free and easy to use.

Homemade Gas Generator
Homemade Gas Generator, Image via: instructables

3- Science Project Generator

This mini homemade generator building project would be great for a school science project. It’s an easy build for a student and teacher or parent can easily work along side the child to teach some basics about how electricity works. This project would provide a good teaching tool for the classroom or home.

It’s not only good for a science project, these free YouTube plans show you how to create a mini functioning generator. The DIY generator is small but it has enough power to charge a cell phone or run a small fan.

If you don’t have enough electric outlets in your home to charge all of the family’s electronic devices, a DIY mini generator like this one could be very useful. it would also be good for charging your phone or iPad while traveling. The small size of this DIY generator on youtube makes taking it along with you very easy.

Place the mini generator in your backpack and take it to school, on a camping trip, road trip with friends, or any time that you may be away from an electrical outlet and can’t charge your phone.

It is always disheartening when your phone battery is almost dead and you have no place to charge it. This mini generator will solve this problem and you won’t have to worry about a dead phone or laptop battery again.

This project is easy and inexpensive to complete when you follow these detailed plans.

4- Recycled Flywheel and Alternator

This is a great way to recycle used car parts to create free electricity for your homestead or camp site. This YouTube video will show you how to take a used flywheel and alternator and put them together to generate enough electricity for your home.

This DIY electric generator will generate 7kw 230v. That is enough electricity to run low watt household appliances, like lights, television, and refrigerator with plenty left to charge all of your electronic devices.

The cost is minimal if you have a flywheel and alternator on hand. All thats left to build is a small metal frame to sit the generator on and a little wiring. It is an ideal build for a mechanic and easy for the non-mechanic with this instructional video.

This homemade generator on Youtube is easy to take along with you when you go camping so you can have the comforts of eletricity without the discomfort of a power bill. This would be nice to take along with you for tailgate parties during the football season. It could power small cooking appliances, a television, and a small fridge that will keep beverages cold while you enjoy the football game.

Build this flywheel and alternator generator for use at home so you can live off grid or at least reduce your electric bill each month. Then when you are ready to travel for a day or two and will need electricty at your destination, take this homemade generator along with you.

5- Van de Graaf Homemade Generator

What does a nail, a soda can and a rubber band have in common? They’re all components of the Van de Graff homemade generator by sci-toys and this ideas will show you how to make a generator to power small appliances. The step-by-steps instructions are easy to follow for this unique project.

Van de Graaf Homemade Generator
Make a generator to power small appliances, Image via: sci-toys

6- Mini Homemade Solar Generator

As small and portable as a personal ice chest, this mini homemade generator by instructables is actually built with a small ice chest. Don’t let the small size fool you, this DIY generator can provide the power to light up a room.

Here are brief steps to make this homemade generator.

Drill 5 holes on the top of lid, four for the panel to be mounted on the lid and one for panel wire. Bolt the panel to the lid and ran the wires throw. Place the 12v socket and applied glue to the nuts. Drop the battery and plugged in the battery. Plugged in the power and test the lamp with a compact fluorescent bulb. See also some other DIY solar generator projects.

Mini Homemade Solar Generator
Small Homemade Solar Generator Idea, Image via: instructables

7- DIY Wind Generator

Harness the wind wherever you may be to keep your batteries charged and your electronics up and running with this homemade wind generator by motherearthnews. Cheap and easy to build with only four basic components. Consider building a DIY wind power generator as a companion to solar panels so you can have free electricity on days when the sun doesn’t shine.

DIY Wind Generator
Cheap and Easy To Build DIY Wind Generator, Image via: motherearthnews

8- Simple DIY Generator

Sometimes simple is all you need, like this simple and effective diy generator by creative-science.org. This basic design and step-by-step instructions on how to build a generator will even give a novice DIY’er free electricity for small appliances and power tools.

Simple DIY Generator
Simple Generator for small appliances and power tools, Image via: creative-science.org

9- Backyard Homemade Wind Generator

Easy and inexpensive to build, yet this DIY wind powered generator by thekevdog can produce as much power as a high-dollar, store-bought solar panel. Follow the easy steps detailed in the instructional video and build your own three bladed backyard wind generator and start saving money on your utility bill today. See also DIY windmill ideas to produce electricity on a small level to run some power tools.

DIY Wind Generator
Three bladed backyard wind generator, Image via: thekevdog

10- Portable DIY Solar Power Generator 

Here are plans for building a solar powered generator by instructables that goes where you go. This DIY solar generator is easy to build and is the perfect power source for camping trips where a few modern conveniences are desirable. Turn on a light, watch your favorite television program or listen to your favorite music wherever the camping trail takes you with this portable solar power generator.

Portable DIY Solar Power Generator 
Building A Portable DIY Solar Generator , Image via: instructables

11- Tool Box Homemade Generator

An old plastic tool box can house a portable homemade generator like this one by intrepidoutdoors that you can take anywhere. For less than $200, these DIY plans will enable you to power up your power tools wherever the job needs to be done. Since the DIY generator is housed inside of a tool box, it will be easily recognizable on the job site and never get left behind at the end of the work day.

Tool Box Homemade Generator
Tool Box Homemade Generator, Image via: intrepidoutdoors

12- Low Power Generator

A great DIY project for a school science project and it really works! Use these plans for building a low power, cheap and easy generator by wikihow for demonstration of what can be accomplished with a few components and little ingenuity.

Low Power Homemade Generator
Low Power Homemade Generator, Image via : wikihow

13- Free Energy Generator

Learn how to making a free energy generator like in this Youtube video tutorial from easily available and cheap material. Use this guide to make your own inexpensive homemade generator.

14- Easy Homemade Generator

Learn how to build a small DIY generator in this instructional Youtube video tutorial. The detailed video is easy to follow and will provide you with a clear understanding of how generators work and will enable you to build one for your own use.

15- Small DIY Generator

Learn how to build a small electric generator like in this Youtube video tutorial using a gas-powered engine.

This homemade generator is powered by a 4-stroke gas engine and will provide enough electrical power to meet basic household needs. Great to have on hand for times when the power goes out at home.

16- Phone Charger DIY Generator

When the power goes out and your cell phone battery is dead, you need an emergency source of electricity. This homemade generator on youtube will provide enough electrical energy to charge a phone and power a light bulb in case of an emergency.

All you need is a cordless drill and a couple of other common household items and you can power your way through an electrical emergency with this easy to build generator.

17- Hydroelectric DIY Generator

If you have a running water source nearby, like a swift-moving stream, this hydroelectric generator can provide enough electricity to power basic appliances so you can live off-grid.

If you don’t want total off-grid living, learn how to build a generator by greenoptimistic like this one to supplement your primary power source and save money.

This hydroelectric DIY generator would be ideal to build and use at a fishing cabin or campsite that is only used part-time. It would provide electricity when needed without a monthly utility bill to pay.

Hydroelectric DIY Generator
Hydroelectric DIY Generator, Image via: greenoptimistic

18- Thermoelectric Homemade Generator

These detailed plans will show you how to make a generator by wired that has no moving parts and is very reliable. Thermoelectric generators are the types used on space crafts where reliability is essential.

This DY project would also be good for use as a school science project since it is easy to build with items you probably already have on hand.

Thermoelectric Homemade Generator
Thermoelectric Homemade Generator, Image via: wired

19- Powerful DIY Generator

If you are looking for a DIY generator by instructables that can provide enough electricity for an off-grid homestead, this is the one.

Each brushed magnet in this homemade generator will provide 110 volts of electricity, and the number of magnets used in this DIY project is up to you. High voltage electricity is produced with a very low RPM so the electrical output is steady and reliable.

Powerful DIY Generator
Powerful DIY Generator For An Off-Grid Homestead, Image via: instructables

20- Lawn Mower Engine DIY Generator

Don’t trash that old rusty lawnmower if the engine is still good. Re-use the lawnmower engine and give it new life as part of a homemade generator.

These free plans provide written instructions as well as detailed pictures of how the project should look at each stage of the building process. Used lawn mower engines can be purchased cheaply for this project if you don’t have one on hand.

Lawn Mower Engine DIY Generator
Lawn Mower Engine DIY Generator

21- Hydroelectric Homemade Generator

For less than $50 you can build this hydroelectric DIY generator by publiclab that will provide enough power to run small appliances and power tools.

Great for use in a small workshop that is not wired for electricity or for an off-grid homestead that is near a running source of water. When trees or surrounding landscape prevent the building of a homemade wind generator, a water-powered generator can provide the needed electricity.

These detailed instructions also include a list of materials you will need for this DIY project so the build will be easy and inexpensive. Power up what you need, when you need it, without increasing the monthly electric bill.

Hydroelectric Homemade Generator
$50 Hydroelectric Homemade Generator, Image via: publiclab

22- Bicycle DIY Generator

What can you do with an old bicycle, an old treadmill and a few pieces of leftover lumber? Build a functional homemade generator like this one on youtube that can provide electrical power for your household.

This is one of the most most popular idea in our roundup. You also get healthy exercise with this completed Bicycle DIY generator project. When you want to generate electricity, you have to take a ride on the bicycle. The bicycle is stationary, so it won’t take you anywhere but it will give you heart-healthy exercise and enough power for small appliances and power tools.

This bicycle generator is easy to take with you on camping trips and will give the kids something to do if they get bored.

23- Small Homemade Generator

Make sure you always have a power source to recharge a phone battery no matter where you are with this easy to build DIY generator on youtube.

Easy to build and compact so you can take along with you wherever you go. Ideal for backpacking, camping, or other long-distance travel where you might not be close to an electrical power source for several hours.

24- Lawn Mower Powered DIY Generator

The engine on a lawnmower is powerful and is perfect for use on a DIY generator by instructables. These free plans show you how to use a lawnmower engine to build a 500-watt generator that can power small appliances and power tools.

Most of the parts for this DIY project were gathered from junkyards and recycle centers, so the cost of the build is very cheap.

Lawn Mower Powered DIY Generator
Lawn Mower Powered DIY Generator, Image via: instructables

25- Recycled CD Homemade Generator

This would make a great science project for school and for inspiring children to take old things and make re-purpose them into something new.

One of the main components of this homemade generator by instructables is old CDs. Energy is generated when the CDs rotate and enough electricity is generated to power an LED light bulb. Not only is this a great science project and learning tool but it’s also a functional generator that can provide light without the use of electricity.

Have your kids build a couple of these DIY generators to keep on hand in case of an emergency.

Recycled CD Homemade Generator
Recycled CD Homemade Generator, Image via: instructables

26- Battery Powered DIY Generator

Be prepared the next time the electrical power goes down with this battery-powered DIY generator by instructables. You can store enough power in deep cycle batteries to get you through a power outage.

Ideal back-up generator that can be customized to meet the electrical needs of your home or office in case of a power outage. Store the charged batteries away until the next time they are needed so your home or office can continue to function like normal when the power goes out.

Battery Powered DIY Generator
Battery Powered Homemade Generator, Image via: instructables

27- Screw Hydrogenerator

If you would like to be able to use water power to generate electricity, check out these free plans that will show you how to make a generator that can do just that. There is an instructional video to watch and written instructions for you to follow.

This is great for the family that likes to spend time hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting out in the wilderness. After you build this homemade generator by interestingengineering, all you will need is a little running water to start generating electricity. A small creek or branch out in the wilderness will enable your screw hydrogenerator to generate enough power to enjoy some of the comforts of home.

This generator is lightweight and easy to carry along with you in a backpack. You will be able to have electric lights after dark and have enough power to run an electric fence around your camp to protect you from predators.

This simple design uses water power to turn the large screw and as the screw turns, it generates electricity. A simple wood frame holds everything in place while the water pours over the screw. The screw is made from lightweight plastic sheeting and the frame could be constructed from PVC pipe to make the entire generator even more lightweight and portable.

Even when you are roughing it out in the wilderness, it is still nice to have a few basic comforts of home and this little generator will help provide those comforts.

homemade generator
Screw Hydrogenerator, Image via: interestingengineering

Conclusion:

Save on your electricity bills or get a free energy source when you are in a remote area. By using solar, wind power, hydro and mechanical power you can make your own homemade generator to run small appliances and power tools. From out list of  diy generators you can select any one that you find easy and comfortable to build to suit your needs.

Here we have prepared a questionnaire to answer some common questions.

FAQ’s

How a does generator works?

An electric generator works on the principle of electromagnetic induction. Turning the rotor inside the generator makes an electric current flow in each section of the wire coil. Each section becomes a separate electric conductor and the motion is turned into electrical energy.

A gas powered generator has an internal combustion engine which provides the mechanical force needed to generate an electrical current through copper wiring. The engine fires and is converted to electricity which travels directly into the home or building.

Generators are used as a back-up power source for homes, businesses, and medical facilities.

Can generators be AC or DC?

Generators can be either AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) and they can produce either type of power. However, you may need different generators for different power needs.

The rings inside of a generator are the difference-maker between AC and DC models. An AC generator has slip rings that provide a smooth surface and a DC generator has split rings that communicate differently

As a general rule, portable generators produce only DC power but can be fitted with an inverter so they can also produce AC power.

What are the different types of generators?

There are two basic types of generators known as AC and DC. However, this basic type branch off into 7 other categories:  Portable generators, Diesel generators, Solar generators, Inverter generators, Whole House generators, Gas generators, and Natural Gas generators.

Each category of generator works in essentially the same way the defining factors for the best one will be how you need to use a generator.

How do you make electricity with magnets?

Moving a magnet around a coil of wire pushes the electrons in the wire and creates an electrical current. This motion induced energy, called kinetic energy, is converted into electrical energy by a generator.

References:

Forbes, Home Improvement Electrical, by By , and Samantha Allen, “How Much Does A Generator Cost?” https://www.forbes.com/home-improvement/electrical/generator-cost-guide/

WebMD, “Generator Safety: Tips for Running One Safely”, by Alexandra Benisek, published: September 18, 2023, https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/generator-safety-what-to-know

Linked In, Meromac, Published May 24,2023, “Best Practices for Extending the Lifespan of Your Generator”, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/best-practices-extending-lifespan-your-generator-metromac

About Farhan Ahsan

My name is Farhan Ahsan,I am web enthusiast, writer and blogger. I always strive to be passionate about my work. I started my work at the beginning of 2007 by engaging myself with detail reading and exchanging information with others. Since then things and times have changed, but one thing remains the same and that is my passion for helping and educating people, building a successful blog and delivering quality content to the readers. I always love to write about gardening, sustainable life, off grid living and homestead farming.

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67 comments

  1. I am a a keen gardener and at present are all but self sustaining with the exception of milk,bread etc.
    I also have a small hydroponic unit set up in a glass house and it produces tomatoes, spring onion, lettuce, and a few other veg.
    My hydo unit is run from solar power to power the pump.
    My solar power unit also protects my food bank of 3 chest freezers and one upright freezer and one fridge.
    I want to support the solar power system with a wind turbine and are looking at the convertion of a 12 voilt alternator from a car as the main source.
    Are you able to offer any information on this type of system.

  2. Very enlightening sir. Engineering is great . Hope to try some out someday soon

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