Wind Turbine Challenge


Rippl3D’s Wind Turbine Challenge enables players to design and 3D print wind turbine blades to understand turbine blade geometries affect performance. Change the behavior of the wind source and see how it affects turbine blade performance. The challenge supports a variety of ways to play so you can mix it up and always have something different to explore.

Relevant STEM Principles

Rotational inertia, aerodynamic force, torque, area, electrical power generation.

STEP 1: Pick Outcome Type

Max Power

In the Max Power test stand, the 3D printed Wind Turbines are mounted to an electric motor that is exposed to a
wind source. Our test stands use computer cooling fans that generate roughly 50CFM. Using a voltmeter the millivolts of electricity can be measured and the power generated can be calculated.

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Altering the wind source speed and shape changes the optimization of the Wind Turbine Blades. Can you identify what changes drive optimization when wind speed is faster? slower? wider? narrower?


In the Max RPM (revolutions per minute) test stand, the 3D printed Wind Turbines are mounted on a shaft and exposed to a wind source. Our test stands use computer cooling fans that generate roughly 50CFM. Using a tachometer the RPM of the turbine can be measured.

STEP 2: Pick Challenge Type

The Turbine Blades have four parameters that can be adjusted

  • Blade Angle
  • Blade Height
  • Blade Length
  • Number of Blades

A Challenge type can be selected to best suite the event audience.

Design Considerations

  • Rotational drag decreases with
    • Shorter blade length
    • Shorter blade height
    • Fewer blades
    • Larger blade angles (parallel to the wind)
  • Power gained from wind stream increases with
    • Increasing blade length
    • Increasing blade height
    • More blades
    • Larger blade angles

Power Calculation

Power generation is determined by measuring any two of the following Voltage (V), Current (I), or Resistance (R). With these measurements, the Power can be calculated with the appropriate formula from the formula wheel. The unit used for Power is Watts (similar to the units for Length can be Inches or Centimeters).


In the Wind Turbine Challenge 2.0 you will use the voltage and resistance measurements to calculate the Power your wind turbine blades are producing.

Using the equation P = V²/R and measuring Voltage and Resistance you will be able to determine the power produced.

Multi Meter Operation Help

Voltage Measurements

  • Set multi meter to read Volts DC – use the 200m scale (this is 200 milliVolts full scale)
  • Readings on meter will be in milliVolts

Resistance Measurements

  • Set multi meter to read Ohms (Ω) – use the 200 scale (this is 200 ohms full scale)
  • Readings on screen will be ohms

Unit Help

1 Volt = 1,000 milliVolts

1 Watt = 1,000 milliWatts =1,000,000 microWatts

Challenge Types

Turbine Blade Design

The Turbine Blade Design Challenge helps players design and built custom turbine blades. Players use the design tables to configure unique turbine blade designs and then download the STL file for printing.

How To Play
  1. Login to Rippl3D Challenge site
    1. Select the Competition for your event
    2. Select the parameters you want to test
    3. Save the design and record the Job Number on the Job Sheet
  2. Download Turbine Blade STL file
  3. 3D Print the Turbine Blade Design
  4. Put the turbine blade on the test stand and measure the outcome
  5. Record results on job sheet
  6. The Competition Coordinator will enter the score for your job number
  7. Review the results and try again to improve your score

Unlimited Design

The Unlimited Design Challenge Type is a great way to incorporate STEAM. For this challenge, players are expected to design and build unique turbine blades that interface with the test stand. It is their job to review the test stand interfaces and determine the right fit to perform.


This challenge provides multiple scoring options

  • Test stand for objective scoring results
  • Audience subjective judgement for “Best” Design

It is important to remind players that most of us will not buy a car that we think is “ugly” and we still want it to “perform”! STEAM integrates the beauty we like with the performance we want.