Introduction: The Making of the Prototype Tesla CD Turbine

This video shows the initial thought process and first attempt to assemble a working prototype Tesla CD Turbine.

The thought process starts with... if McGyver met Tesla, and they wanted to do something cool to recycle CD's, and save the planet besides, what would happen?

A neodymium magnet ring comes into the picture, and a prototype Tesla CD Turbine is constructed.

You can order the BEST neodymium super-magnets from K&J Magnetics here.

For a scary movie of this initial first prototype running, click here.

For a more sane movie of the latest docile Kitchen Edition of this machine, used in my SinkScience movie series, click here.

For latest building techniques for the CD Turbine, see my new instructable

See all my science Sci-Art videos at:

And, finally, The Tesla CD Turbine web site:


rimar2000 (author)2007-12-03

Well, if the idea behind omitting the written explanations was to remove we not anglo-speakers, has turned out of wonders. I can read the English acceptably, but I don't understand anything when I listen it. Especially if the pronunciation is not very clear.

mrfixitrick (author)rimar20002007-12-03

rimar2000, I have 3 instructables on this device, with lots of pictures, words, and videos:
Build an Amazing Tesla Cd Turbine
and Tesla CD Turbine With Scary Steampunk Laser PumpkinCutter Attachment
Turkey Time Tesla CD Turbine .

nnaji_ih (author)mrfixitrick2013-11-25

I admire this work and i feel you can be of great help to me. Im working on a tesla turbine project and i had a few questions which could aid me if answered. Could you work backwards to create a prototype? Like starting from the power? What do you recommend as a choice of power rate for a small scale tesla turbine prototype like yours?

mrfixitrick (author)nnaji_ih2013-11-25

The power range for a small Tesla turbine is quite varied, depending on the rpm potential, the pressure and volume of fluids going into it, and the number of discs. Generally, a 5 or 6 inch size Tesla turbine might range from 1 watt (like mine on faucet water pressure), up to 50 kilowatts like Tesla's first small turbines that ran on steam.

More pressure = more performance = more money required for exotic materials and processes

There is a saying in racing, "Speed fast do you want to go?"

The power rating of a Tesla Turbine will be directly related to the nozzle inlet pressure, specifically the speed and mass of the particles. The power increases with the square of the speed of the discs, and directly with the number of discs. (Double the speed, 4X the power. Double the discs, 2X the power.)

The turbine nozzle will be designed to be small enough to give a maximum speed to the incoming particles, but large enough (or use many nozzles) to pass enough volume of material.

Starting from the power, you need to decide what type of power. The Tesla Turbine can run on all these materials and more: steam, compressed air, gasoline, propane, water, helium, straw and hay, etc.

Will the turbine run on compressed fluids, or by burning a combustable?

uguy (author)mrfixitrick2007-12-03

But, you felt compelled to produce this practically unintelligible video instructuble! So much for progress.

mrfixitrick (author)uguy2007-12-04

I made this video before my 3 instructables. It shows the initial thought process for inventing and prototyping. Guess I'm an idiot for thinking it would be appreciated. I guess intelligence isn't your specialty, either.( "instructuble" is spelled "instructable".)

rimar2000 (author)mrfixitrick2007-12-04

Your work IS appreciated, mrfixits.

I propose you "the second mile": to write the speaks of the video as text. I like your work.

mrfixitrick (author)rimar20002007-12-04

Hmmm, good constructive idea, rimar2000. Thanks, I'll think about that!

rimar2000 (author)mrfixitrick2007-12-04

Thanks, I have seen them already, and they seemed me very interesting. My observation about the video was more by the purpose to bother than because I fell it thus. I am a little joker, but not always that is done evident. Besides, I understand that this page is in English language and I have to accommodate me it, in the measure of my possibilities.

jjadam (author)2011-04-23

hey man, i reelly like this thing, im gonna attempt to make a hydrogenerator using the radiator fan engine, but i dont quite get how u made the inlet pipe.
i understand that water flows throught the cs box making them turn but what does all that complexity about the pipe connecting the tap to the box have to do with anything?
if it's crucial i hope u can elaborate for me on what to do about it :)
also, does it matter if the magnets inside the cd box are like triple the size of the ones u used? cuz i cudnt find ones that small...
thanks man ur awesome :D

mrfixitrick (author)jjadam2011-04-23

The inlet nozzle is one of the most critical items of the Tesla Turbine. This is because the nozzle shape determines the fluid velocity, and  the fluid velocity SQUARED determines the power of the turbine.

So, fluid velocity is very important. The fluid velocity can be increased (up to a point) by using a smaller hole for the inlet nozzle. The exact nozzle size is determined by the number of discs used, the pressure and volume of fluid available, and whether air or water is the fluid. So, for example, a 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch nozzle hole size might be appropriate, but a 1/2 inch hole size probably won't work at all.

The magnets can be bigger, but quality usually beats quantity. Big magnets means more internal resistance inside the turbine, which might result in less power. I use the N50 grade neodymium magnets which are very powerful. The lighter the magnets, the better for turbine performance, but they aldso must be strong enough to work as a magnetic coupling for the device you are connecting to such as the generator.

Good luck with your turbine and let me know if you have other questions!

jjadam (author)mrfixitrick2011-04-24

ok cool, so i just have to increase the velocioty of the water going into the cd box by buying a 1/16 inch nozzle to connect at the end of the pipe.
but what is the "Orbit Watermaster Walkway Tunnel Kit and Super Sweeper Extension Nozzle...available at Home Depot. Fits 3/4 or 1 inch PVC" for? and can u give me some kind of a more abundant substitute with simpler wording? (i live in lebanon)
does the number of CDs make a difference?
sory for any inconvenience :)

mrfixitrick (author)jjadam2011-04-24

The "Orbit Watermaster" is simply a tapered plastic nozzle that goes on a pipe. It's used to flush out dirt or move gravel.

As long as your pipe ends with a 1/16 inch hole size directed at the discs, that is the most important thing. It doesn't have to be a tapered nozzle, but tapered is more efficient. Drilling a 1/16 inch hole into a pipe plug at the end of the pipe, would work too. Or you can glue or screw smaller pipes together to reduce them to 1/16 inch opening.

Increasing the number of CD's will increase power up to a point. You need to have a few discs (say, 5) as a minimum.

jjadam (author)mrfixitrick2011-04-24

thankyou my friend :) that's all i need. i'll tell u if i face any problems :)

mrfixitrick (author)jjadam2011-04-24

Any problems can be solved through communication ;)
Have an enjoyable learning experience!

alvin9861 (author)2010-06-11

I haven't yet got around to doing photo yet. I had a machinist make an adapter for the turbo shaft. The 2 end housing have been removed. I am building new housings to contain the discs. One that sustain disc distuction if it happens. I'm using 8 in dia discs.

alvin9861 (author)2010-06-10

I have started redesigning a auto turbocharger into a tesla turbine. Because a turbo can run up 60k rpms, it is designed to handle it. I had to build a larger chamber for turbine with a few mods. So far it has worked out good.

mrfixitrick (author)alvin98612010-06-10

Tell me more about your project turbine. Did you add discs to the turbo shaft? Lots of turbos spin over 100,000 rpm and some of them go up to 220,000 rpms! Any pictures you could post?

jonnymoonshine (author)2010-03-21

Don't let the negative creeps grind you down mrfixits - your instructables are truly awesome and inspiring! Please keep them coming!

aservantofhis (author)2009-04-20

hi, i new to this and still dont quite understand it fully but i want to ask you, what is the point of the magnets and what do they do? also if this was to run on air pressure, the power consumed to compress the air and to run the turbine would be greater than the power output from an alternator attatched to the shaft? is that true? Also, if that is the case, then what is the actual benefit of this turbine? Hope you can help me understand more

The magnets have several functions. The smaller 1/32 inch thick magnets are used as spacers between the discs to maintain the optimum disc spacing and for ease of assembly. The larger 1/2 inch neo magnets on the top disc of the turbine are the drive magnets to enable an external magnetic coupler to turn by the magnetic coupling. Also, the magnets are a rotating magnetic field, which can be used to obtain electrical power from the turbine as an alternator directly. And, finally, the magnets are also part of a plan to magnetically levitate the turbine disc pack, thereby enabling a bearing-less, shaft-less and seal-less turbine! This is not free energy, and is like any air motor in the sense that it will require more power to run it than what you get out. The air compressor will need more energy to compress the air than what comes from the alternator. The Tesla Turbine is an underdeveloped design whose time will come again because of the modern materials available today. I believe it has the potential to be the lightest, most powerful and efficient fueled engine possible. Thanks for your interest! Any more questions let me know.

hyrulianshinobi333 (author)2009-01-30

one question, how did you get this awesome

I was forced into it! Seriously! I developed severe allergies to my work as mechanic, lost my business and declared bankruptcy. I spent my last few dollars on magnets, to try to rebuild my life doing something different. I made a decision to be an inventor of magnetic things, and to promote the name of Tesla, and the Tesla CD Turbine was born! I've always wanted to be an inventor, but was too busy working to follow my passion. Sometimes having your life turned upside down can be a good thing!

volucris (author)2007-12-21

What strength were the neodynium magnets?

mrfixitrick (author)volucris2007-12-21

The 1/8 inch cubes were N48. The 1/4 inch spheres at the top of the inside disc pack were N38. The magnetic coupler I first used had 3 of 3/4 x 3/8 inch N42 neodymium magnets. I currently use 3/8 inch x 1/32 inch N42 spacer magnets and 6 of 1/2 x 1/2 inch N42 top magnets. The current magnetic coupler uses the same 1/2 x 1/2 N42 magnets. Generally, I would go to stronger magnets (N50) for heavy-duty use...and weaker for kids or less demanding applications.(N38)

volucris (author)mrfixitrick2007-12-22

Thanks. I'm definitely going to try this one out.

NachoMahma (author)2007-12-04

. I like it! . Yes, it's a little hard to understand the words at times, but still a great job. Keep 'em comin'! . McGuyver ain't got nuthin' on mrfixits. :)

mrfixitrick (author)2007-12-04

This video was never meant as an instructable, even though it shows how I built the prototype CD Turbine. It was meant to show an interesting use of used CD's for a ReadyMade magazine contest. I'm offering it because I thought it might be good background info for my three other Instructables. Perhaps it is inappropriate. I'll take it down if I get any more negative comments. I'm open to input...What do you think, people?

About This Instructable




Bio: I am re-inventing myself as an inventor, after too many years as a mechanic! I enjoy learning from Tesla disc Turbines, magnetic motors, and Crystal ... More »
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