Build a 15,000 rpm Tesla Turbine using hard drive platters

Picture of Build a 15,000 rpm Tesla Turbine using hard drive platters
Here's a project that uses some of those dead hard drives you've got lying around.

In the Tesla Turbine, air, steam, oil, or any other fluid is injected at the edge of a series of smooth parallel disks. The fluid spirals inwards and is exhausted through ventilation ports near the center of the disks.

A regular blade turbine operates by transferring kinetic energy from the moving fluid to the turbine fan blades. In the Tesla Turbine, the kinetic energy transfer to the edges of the thin platters is very small. Instead, it uses the boundary layer effect, i.e. adhesion between the moving fluid and the rigid disk. This is the same effect that causes drag on airplanes.

To build a turbine like this, you need some dead hard drives, some stock material (aluminum, acrylic), a milling machine with a rotary table, and a lathe with a 4 jaw chuck.

Wikipedia has a good review article (, as well as articles about

Nikola Tesla,
the boundary layer effect (,
and Reynolds number (
(which determines if the fluid flow is laminar or turbulent).

I run my turbine on compressed air (40 psi), and it easily reaches speeds of 10-15,000 rpm. While the speed is high, the torque is low, and it can be stopped with your bare hand.

I have more details on my webpage (
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andras.nolsoe4 months ago

How are the discs attached to the shaft? are they welded?

same doubt can someone reply to my mail

WSF2 months ago

star washer actually helps the rotation buy guiding the air/water to the vent holes as the star extends above the vent holes. If you can see what difference that makes in the rpm.

Maybe instead of using water or air you can use another kind of gas or liquid that might produce more friction on the platters and create more torque. I really have no idea what... Just trying to think outside the box here....

Team_Omega10 months ago

Is it possible to add more torque by attaching a gear system, or by adding "fins" to the disks. I realize that it will lose a lot of speed, but will it gain torque?

athan912 months ago

do you know if it can work with a water exit hole?

nerd74731 year ago

I want one!!!

Would it be possible to, instead of having the exhausted air be released, have it be forced into another tube to re-use it? (I'm toying with the idea of using this as a drive for an airsoft minigun, with the exhaust air propelling the BBs)
chungsan4 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
There is no such thing as a free lunch.
I don't know about that. If you look at energy we are just fractioning it.
You just don't always get the choice of what you want for lunch :)

I'm a science person but there is a paradox which binds me to my religious brethren and sisters.

Which is more troubling a God which always was.

Or Infinity and or something created from nothing.

God would have to be infinite and spring from nothingness
Science can choose one or the other.
Isn't it strange how religion insinuates itself in the most unexpected places like some undiagnosed disease.
I honestly have no idea what you just said.
You said there is not such thing as a free lunch.

I'm saying there is always a free lunch, you just don't always get to choose what you are eating.

I was trying to be funny at first. (MY Geek humor sometimes does not translate well)

And then I got serious. In the end there are things we cannot know or comprehend. --- Paradox.
Infinity and Causality are paradoxes.
What created something out of nothingness?
If you are infinite then you have no creation or end.
Causality is a paradox? Please elaborate.
Causality is a paradox is the sense if you have a finite universe, then something must have created it. (It need not be God) The problem is that at some point you are down to where there was nothing before, and then how does something spring from nothingness?

If not you are dealing with infinity. With infinity nothing has ever been created or destroyed its just changing form?

Still infinity is a paradox for causality because its saying their is no beginning or end, just points between numbers.

Some things are unknowable, and non computable.

Whitehead in the Principia tried to save us but failed.
Something comes from nothing all the time, easy example is the spontaneous creation/destruction of particle and anti-particle pairs. That's why we have the PROVEN concept of vacuum energy. Also, why we can theoretically have the big bang springing out of nothingness and in this light we have no need for a god to exist...other than the "god-particle", kinda need that guy ha.
I'm going to go over there now.

Godel The man who reduced the principia to ashes.
Makes complete sense to me, as long as you think of infinity with a positive and negative span. What kimberlyp is saying is that something infinite does not have a beggining... I personaly think infinity to be an endless forward reach that starts at a given point and then never stops so in my eyes the paradox isn't a paradox at all but I do respect the alternative view point. Thanks for making me think about it.
Religious Paradox:
Can god create a rock larger than he can move? lol
Yes, well with causality we can pick a particular point and go forward on that point towards infinity.

But Causality is always a function of the state before that point in time.

Maybe its a circular function? Symmetrical on the macro scale, and non symmetric locally. IN which case we keep returning to 0 and all numbers are positive? We descend into a world of fractals. An infinite rabbit hole that keeps Excedrin selling well.

Something without a true beginning or end is as wacky as any religion!

Causality either maps to infinity or God or it breaks down and is no longer valid.

Causality needs time but if there is no change in time, ie: the universe is reduced to a single common state variable, then all we need is activation energy based on a density function of that state variable, which results in a second state variable.

Then you can map it all with a circular function and say everything is infinite and be satisfied. Except I would say why is there anything?

Science shows us how things work or can work, and philosophy and or religion tells us why?

So to rephrase: How is it that we can get something from nothing?
In the Universe I live in energy and matter are the same thing in different clothing. Practical physics deals with finite measurement. Mathematical abstractions do not have this limit.

Religious Paradox:
Can god create a rock larger than he can move? lol

I would say no based on the 1st law of Thermo. It would be over unity!

I agree o.O
Or free pie...
Oh, woe is me.
What did he say?
Something about perpetuity, I've forgotten.
Oh ok So he probably said that you could connect the end pipe to the opening pipe to get free power?
TheStudio71 year ago
Nice, though I stopped reading the comments when some one started the god bs thing. Can we keep reality and stupidity separate please?
maikel21 year ago
a conventional rotary compressor runs more than 100k rpm to develop vacuum to sucks outside air continuously thus compressed it.if this device run at that speed can it become a compressor???
bulsatar2 years ago
For those that don't like math but are still confused: notice that it is basically a closed system (rotationally) from the point of force (the air being blown in). The air circulates in the first platter set until the air pressure is too great and it escapes through the center holes of the platters (ignoring air escaping from the outside edges). This creates a pressure differential between the side of the hole being "pushed" on and the "back side" of the hole, inducing a spin. The pressure differential builds in the next platter layer and then moves out again, and again, and again until it escapes freely from the last platter set's center holes.
Because of energy loss from air escaping around the platters, friction from the bearings and other natural energy sinks, the inside platters exert more torque pressure than the outside ones (math stuffs go here for proof).
Good thing about this design is that you can use some "simple" thermodynamics to have a relatively low pressure, large area front condensed into a high pressure, small area front to get your air pressure from the wind for "free" (think of a properly tuned funnel) to drive an electrical generating motor thingy off of the axle with those new found magnetic thingies...
FlashSC5 years ago
I'd like to ask the silly question here, but, where does the pressed air comes out?
Maybe i missed something...

Thanks for the tuto.


You're not!
This IS a stupidly designed device.
the air actually escapes thru the shaft hole.
This is actually correctly designed, with the exhaust escaping through the shaft hole.

The Tesla turbine relies on the boundary layer effect and centrifugal force. The air gets forced to the center and out the shaft hole. An exhaust port on the side would ruin the design of the turbine.
no. CENTRIPETAL. not centrifugal. why does everybody think its centrifugal??
Centrifugal doesn't even exist!
Centrifugal does exist, it depends on your plane of reference. If your plane of reference is the object which has a centripetal force acting on it, there is a centrifugal force.
Nope! :) Centrifugal is merely inertia perceived as a new force.
It's all to do with plane of reference.
If you have a rotating plane of reference, you can have a centrifugal force. Look at the Wikipedia article for it.
Nope! :) Centrifugal is merely inertia perceived as a new force.
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