Picture of Tesla Tornado Christmas Tree
Here is a Christmas tree with a twist! 

This metre-high tube uses a magnetically-driven Tesla Pump to create a beautiful water vortex. With green food colouring and lights behind it, it makes an awesome alternative to a Christmas tree!

Nikola Tesla patented the Tesla Pump (U.S. patent #1,061,142) in 1913. It featured only flat discs to supply pressure from the pump, and makes use of the same "adhesion of fluids to a surface" and boundary layer principles as the simple, but effective, Tesla Turbine.

This Tesla Tornado is made using a Subaru blower fan motor, complete with its 3-position speed switch mounted on the base. The blower motor has a flywheel fabricated out of Lexan with 6 neodymium magnets mounted in it.  It magnetically couples with 6 magnets in the Tesla Pump disc pack, which is inside the vortex tube.

The Tesla pump discs are magnetically driven by the blower motor flywheel magnets, so there is no direct connection. The pump disc pack is self-centering, and there is no rotating shaft, shaft bearings, or seals required!  

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

1.)  Subaru Heater Blower Motor, complete with stock plug-in 3-speed switch and resistor circuit. (from 1980's-90's Subaru or other equivalent electric motor)
2.)  Lexan Polycarbonate tube, approximately 1 metre or more in length. 6 inch is a good diameter.
3.)  7.5 cm length of same 6" tube as above for motor mount. (or custom length to your motor specs)
4.)   2 of 8 inch x 8 inch Lexan plate, 1/4 inch thick. (one for Motor mount plate and one Tube bottom plate)
5.)  3 of brass threaded rod, 1/4 inch x 8cm, for motor mounting, with wingnuts and washers.
6.)  12-volt heavy-duty on-off switch. 
7.)  6 of 1/2 x 1/2 inch neodymium magnets, preferably N52 strength
8.)  6 of 3/8 inch x 1/32 inch neodymium magnets for each layer of discs (typical 8 discs x 6 each = 48 magnets)
9.)   Fondue base, found at a Thrift store
10.)  Polycarbonate solvent  (methylene chloride)
11.)  12-volt car battery or equivalent
12.)  CD discs, from 3 to 30 depending on design. (less discs require more rpms to get same effect. I found 8 discs worked well)
13.)  Crazy Glue 
14.)  4 of 1/4 inch bolts, nuts. Brass or stainless preferred, for bolting Motor Plate to Tube Plate.


Circle-cutter attachment for a drill press. (Can substitute a jigsaw if necessary)
1/4 inch tap for threaded holes.
Drill and 1/4 inch bits 

Would it be possible to add a waterproof  version of this:http://www.instructables.com/id/LED-Throwies/ to the water chamber? It would save having to plug in/arrange lights behind it and make it possible to move around or farther away from an outlet.
minus the magnets of course, maybe add some sort of bobber type float to avoid getting sucked into the bottom, with just enough buyoancy (sp?) to stay away from just floating on top also.
mrfixitrick (author)  Shades of Grey4 years ago
That idea could certainly work. I did try a regular light bulb and was able to get it to completely submerge, and control it's height in the tube!
Szajba4 years ago
epic idea
riverreaper4 years ago
if you put a chamber in it like half way up with a hole in the center for the votex to get threw it would the water all just end up pushing its sellf out the top or would it not even rech the top , i was tinking of away to get fish to survive init , ok dizzy fish , probly have to stop it to feed them , wonder if they would still swim in cyrcals ?
mrfixitrick (author)  riverreaper4 years ago
Hahaha, I had the same thoughts myself! The Tesla Tornado would make a great fish exerciser...to build strong and healthy fish. The slow ones, however, would be subject to natural selection...;)

Since it has a 3 speed control, you could start them off easy, with a gradually increasing exercise program.

riverreaper4 years ago
put floresants in your water dich the crismaslights an put a blacklight tube style as bulbs arnt that good , then you could try also as most artstores sell floresant paints you could drop difernt colors in as its spinning , result the best lava lamp anyone ever seen ...just an idea to your already asum job
mrfixitrick (author)  riverreaper4 years ago
Fluorescent is a good suggestion...I'll try that at Christmas this year!
or tittle wiches
mrfixitrick (author)  ninja doom255 years ago
 Both are good suggestions. I tried little duckies that were fridge magnets, but they got stuck on the discs magnets and messed things up. I tried beads, but they just swirl around at the bottom. 

A light bulb or soda bottle can get sucked to the bottom easily...movie about it to come soon!  Subscribe to my YouTube at  www.youtube.com/mrfixitrick
i love it this is crazy but my sister thinks you should put miniture light farm animales in it
Doctor What5 years ago
 This is great!  It would be fun to see what would happen if you sent a duckie down it...
mrfixitrick (author)  Doctor What5 years ago
 Hehe, I did! But the ducks were fridge magnets, and got caught in the magnets of the Tesla discs, jammed them up, which required me to dismantle the whole thing!!
robots1995 years ago
Why are you running iMovie 09 on your iMac?
mrfixitrick (author)  robots1995 years ago
 What do you think I should use as a movie app?
iMovie is fantastic if you're not a pro. If you happen to know your way around a video production studio, Final Cut Pro is the choice of many production houses and TV stations. And me. :) 
 Wow that's a little insulting. I make awesome movie shorts using only iMovie HD from either 06 or 08. If your a real pro you can make great movies without the use of fancy, EXPENSIVE, and over-achieving applications such as FCP. 
I had no intention of insulting you. Sure you can make great stuff with iMovie, that's what I said. Yes it's fancy and expensive, but it is still the choice of the majority of professional video producers and TV stations. And while you can make great stuff with iMovie, with a bit more time and skill you can make really really great stuff with FCP :) 
 Brilliant use of technology and design. You always show the reader a way to have fun with science.  
imrobot5 years ago
post a video please! :)
mrfixitrick (author)  imrobot5 years ago
Thanks, mr robot... Video is now up, and more to come!
My cousin has a hexagonal tank that's roughly 5 feet high and 3 feet across.  I wonder how 5 of those would look going in it....  (drools)

I have been following your works since the beginning. You could get a tv show!
Cool Dude!
red-king5 years ago
 this looks amazing!
astro boy5 years ago
 try starting with clear water and put cooking oil in the top with it and see what happens. i want to make this but i probably wont have everything to do it.
oldestgeek5 years ago
Great Job! I like this.
muttyfutty5 years ago
This Is a fantastic Ins'ble!
Can't Wait to try it!

Excellent job!!! Thanks for sharing.
*  *  *  *  *
Happy New Year!!!
ironsmiter5 years ago
That's one of the longest vortexes I've seen!
For length of funnel vs diameter, it IS the longest I've seen.
goeon5 years ago
 Awesome 5 stars and a happy new year