SinkScience with the Tesla CD Turbine

For this Instructable, I have tamed the wild beast "PumpkinCutter" CD Turbine of the last Instructable and made it into a fun, smooth and safe kitchen tool that runs on water faucet pressure!

Basic Kitchen Model CD Turbine and Magnetic Coupler.

This instructable will show how to make the experimental Kitchen Model Tesla CD Turbine, made from only CD's, CD Spindle, supermagnets, water nozzle and glue. Powered by faucet water pressure, this model Tesla CD Turbine can actually help with the meals and with family fun. (note: Experimenter's experience may vary...;)

A big plus is that the CD Turbine reuses CD's, millions of which get dumped into landfills, and take 200 years to break down. The Life Cycle of a CD is quite interesting; click here for a cool poster all about this.

The CD Turbine can also be a great way to re-use and re-cycle broken kitchen gadgets. For example, a blender or food processor may have a burned-out base motor. A perfect candidate! ( see step 6 & video).

It's amazing the number of fun games that can happen with a CD Turbine. Yes, it sounds nuts (even to me as I write this ;), but the CD Turbine can even put life into tired old board games! (see step 8 & video) I had a couple of dazzled kids earlier today who were mesmerized by the spinning spinner attachment for the turbine.

Building the basic Tesla CD Turbine has been described in my two previous Instructables.

This design, a Kitchen Model CD Turbine will differ in several areas, simplifying construction. This model is taller, giving a little more torque for tough kitchen jobs...(like salad spinning, blending, or having to stir a mixed drink; all examples I will show...hehe)

The taller size of this CD Turbine also recycles more old CD discs.

Punch Bowl Stirrer...(one heck of a punch...;)

Here is a video of my assistant Rowan using the Tesla CD Turbine as a cool Science Fair project.

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would these magnets still work right if i stacked them to achieve roughly the same size
mrfixitrick (author)  On The 3dge1 year ago
Those magnets are about 3/8 inch in diameter, and are quite a bit less powerful than the 1/2 inch magnets I used. They will work to some extent, but they will slip easily, which will break the magnetic coupling effect. It's ok for projects that don't need too much torque to run.
mrfixitrick (author)  On The 3dge1 year ago
Those 1/2 inch cube magnets will work for most cases. At a strength of N35, they are somewhat weaker than the N42 or N52 strength magnets.

The best choice of all is the 1/2 inch cylinder magnets like these in N42,, or preferably N52, like these...

The N52 are very strong and harder to manage that way, but also provide the best coupling action.

The strong coupling factor is most important for projects that have high torque loads that require lots of water or air pressure to run the turbine. Generally, this means using 10 discs or more at 1/16 inch spacing to attain decent torque, and pressures of 50-80 psi water, or 100-150 psi air pressure.
ok thanks for the guidence on the magnets
great demo, interesting, but as a practical matter

waste of water , a very precious commodity.

now if you can run it off solar made compressed air......
mrfixitrick (author)  spark master2 years ago
I recognize your point, but note that 3/4 of the planet is water, and in the northwest, hydroelectric dams make power with it. I live in a rain forest...It rains here regularly, most of the year. The main problem with water here... is getting rid of the stuff!

Please check out my other, more green-friendly instructable and watch the videos there that do use precisely what you say...I use solar power to charge a 12 v. battery, which runs the air and water pumps that supply the turbine with pressure.
Cool gadget if you don't mind the extreme waste of water...
Sazumo5 years ago
are there any cheaper magnets that would work well? with this? if so, where can i buy them?
mrfixitrick (author)  Sazumo5 years ago
There are likely cheaper magnets in China if you can order direct. It will be a lot of hassle and a couple of months wait.

I get my magnets from K&J Magnetics because they are the only ones I have found that have the 1/32 spacer magnets. They have an easy to navigate website with a great selection.

To build a simple, cheaper CD turbine, you can use smaller drive magnets. Instead of 6 of #D88 (1/2 x 1/2 inch N52 neodymium, $2.90 each), you could use 6 of the # D84 which is a 1/2 x 1/4 inch N42 neo at $1.10 each. The drive won't be as strong, but will work for 90% of experiments.

The separator magnets between the discs could be smaller too. For example, the #D401 would work fine, and costs $6.50 for 50, which would be enough for a fine 9-disc turbine.

So that's a total of about $13.00 for magnets, plus shipping. Add a $2.00 plastic nozzle, and the CD's and case, and you could possibly build a working turbine for $15.
Plus another $7 for a magnetic coupler to add accessories.
i found the 1/2*1/2 magnets to be 3.52$ though they may have just upped the prices.
mrfixitrick (author)  dfghjzx2 years ago
The prices for neodymium magnets have increased a lot recently.
there's also absolutely no reason for using magnets as the separator...
mrfixitrick (author)  Kinnishian3 years ago
Although not necessary, there are several reasons for using magnets as separators:
1. Ease of assembly. Once the first layer of magnets is constructed, the rest just pop on.
2. Stronger. The magnet spacers can hold each other on without glue up to 1000 rpm.
3. Correct thickness for disc spacing at 1/32 inch.
4. Helps increase the magnetic field of the magnetic coupler. This is how the power is transferred from the turbine, either by direct magnetic coupling, or by using pickup coils of wire as in an alternator.
neo-sky3 years ago
you could add blades to make it a puree machine to make salsa,cut up onions,etc.
Kinnishian3 years ago
WOAH. That's the link you keep linking to. It says partner, so I assume this is a affiliate link. That is 100% ok *If you mention it*, but it is not right to not mention that. People do not know why you recommend kjmagnetics so fervently in your post, and assume its only because they're a great store (and they are, but you're linking an affiliate link- it's widely known not to be kosher not to tell people you're affiliating).
riverreaper3 years ago
weres the aultinator an why arnt you powering a lightblub or chargeing a phone with that , or is that class c ?
mrfixitrick (author)  riverreaper3 years ago
I hooked up an automotive alternator to the Tesla CD Turbine, but it took all of the power of faucet water pressure just to get the alternator up to 500 rpm, which is not enough to generate power with it.

I have tried several other methods of getting power from the CD Turbine, including using a Subaru heater motor, a shake flashlight, and a wind-up generator. See my YouTube movies called SinkScience # 9, #10 and #14 in this SinkScience playlist: :
kriogenic5 years ago
Hey there, I beleive I have an explination to why the magnet goes backwards. When the turbine is spinning anti clockwise the magnets spin around with it really quickly, when the magnetic ball is placed ontop since the rotation of the turbine is anti clockwise the repelling force of the magnets is always hitting the magnet on the oppisite side of the forward direction (sorry if that dosnt make sence I tried to draw a picture to explain my result is attached). This is just my speculation and I got some magnets and tried it out i found if spinning a disk with magnets on it really slow the ball would just snap and click onto one of the magnets but if i spun it quick enough the ball would try to snap to the center and be thrown off the back of the magnet and it repeated picking up momentum. -Andrew
Take a ball and put it on a sheet of paper. Quickly yank the paper out from under the ball and see where the ball rolls.

Same principle.

The force under the ball drives it to rotate in the opposite direction due to the friction on the under side. Once the movement is started, momentum would carry it and cause it to continue around, driven by the counter rotating magnets underneath.

what i think: in order for the ball to follow the direction of the magnets they would need to go at a slow enough speed for it to keep up. however, when sped up, magnets pull the ball in the opposite direction. if the ball were a magnet, you would probably right. it's only an iron ball though :\
p4trick954 years ago
Could this be used to power a centrifuge? To possibly separate sediments? I was planning on making a working centrifuge for a project. Would the tesla turbine spin fast enough to separate cream from milk? Also, would the magnetic couple be balanced enough to not tip over the whole contraption when 2 vials of liquid are place in a bowl at the top?
mrfixitrick (author)  p4trick954 years ago
The cream separators range from 1400 rpm to 8000 rpm depending on model. The Tesla Turbine is normally designed for high rpm, but would likely have to run on 50 - 100 psi air pressure to attain those speeds. The magnetic coupler would be supported by a stationary shaft like a CD spindle as seen in this movie:

Then the centrifuge could be on it's own support system so it would not rest on the turbine.

I suggest you could consider this idea:
The Tesla Turbine already has a separator designed right in. The centrifugal forces inside the turbine will only allow lighter material to go to the central exit. 

For example, I did an experiment using both air and water pressures in the turbine at the same time. The water tends to spin around the rim of the turbine case, and refuses to move to the middle until the case gets filled more with water.

Sometimes in a steam-driven Tesla Turbine, drain holes are drilled to allow excess water to drain out the rim. Otherwise, the water will cause extra drag on the discs, and some loss of power. 

So, what you could do is run the turbine at high speeds, powered by milk! Udder pressure, of course! (hehe) It might require 50-100 psi fluid pressure to get the rpms over 1000 - 2000 rpm. 

felixh5 years ago
if you have a broken hard drive that is just sitting around you can get crescent shaped neodymium magnets from the portion that moves the actuator and one could also use the platters in place of the cds also. There is two magnets and four platters usually and the magnets can be snapped in half with a little force
mrfixitrick (author)  felixh5 years ago
Yes, there are a couple of Hard-Drive Tesla Turbine Instructables. Perhaps the magnets could be incorporated into a design.
true along the lines of the connecting peace perhaps?
does adding more turbine blades give you more torque for the same amount of airflow? Or can you just pump in more with the same number. I am curious as to how to maximize the mechanical output. I've always thought of using a wind turbine to pump water to a higher point of my yard and let gravity pull it back down a pipe system through some kind of electric water turbine, that way the energy potential can be stored in the upper container till it is either full or needed. Limited factors are finite space and storage capability.
mrfixitrick (author)  Rahdzhillaxxx5 years ago
Adding more discs (the Tesla design is called a blade-less turbine) will not necessarily increase the torque. You would be better off increasing the velocity of the fluid flow. The Tesla design works best (best torque) at higher rpms. There is a torque "knee" in the power curve such that from about half of max rpm to max rpm is the sweet spot.

You will need high pressure to get much work out of the Tesla turbine. You will get about 1/2 a psi of pressure per foot of vertical elevation of the storage tank. I only get about a watt of power out of this CD turbine with a 20 psi pressure. That would be a 40 foot elevation. You would need to locate the tank 100 to 200 foot high vertically to get decent 40-80 psi pressure. And the pipe will cause a big pressure loss if it is too small. The flow will need to be in the order of 5 - 10 gallons per minute.

It is interesting to note that a Tesla Pump could pump water up to the storage tank and the same unit be used as a Tesla Turbine to extract the fluid power.

Here's a video of a fellow with a Tesla Turbine powering a Tesla Pump
I'm grateful for the info. I'm more of the trial and error kind of guy than the do the math and get it right the first 1-100 times LOL My Sister has an ideal spot for this but the most I'd get for height is about 25-30 feet. Then again the energy to get the water up to 100-200 ft would probably defeat any gains. but hey I'm full of ideas and time right now. Thanks again for the info
mrfixitrick (author)  Rahdzhillaxxx5 years ago
I like seat-of-the-pants trial and error as an experimental basis better than facts and figures. One real machine running even poorly is worth more than several chalkboards full of why it won't work. It's interesting to read Nikola Tesla's biography and how he employed visualization in his inventing. He never built a device that he didn't already have running in his head!
sollu5 years ago
can it generate electricity
mrfixitrick (author)  sollu5 years ago
Yes, the CD Turbine can generate power in many ways. Here are some ways I have found...
cd415 years ago
lol kind of funny when you think about it the slower it goes the quieter it gets unlike every other generator
whats the point of building this?
I have thought of about twenty viable uses for this in the first six seconds...
lol, you could use some copper wire and make the top a generator! Make it power some lights or something and still get water!, better than just wasting that pressure
mrfixitrick (author)  NetReaper5 years ago
Yes, I've lit LED's with coils of wire above the magnets, but it really needs a N-S-N-S-N-S rather than the N-N-N-N-N-N setup for magnets.
mrfixitrick (author)  u_r_teh_svck6 years ago
There is no point unless you really like to play with magnets and magnetic fields, hydraulics, motors, gadgets, contraptions or rotating things. Or if you enjoy re-using appliances, re-cycling things, having fun with kids around the sink, or making free energy devices. Or if you just wanted to make Tesla a household name and attempt to change both the past and the future. Other than that, no point, really.
i agree, as a closet cultivator low and effecient energy comsuption is paramount, any thing we can recycle and use for free why not, and why not NOW. U_R_Teh_svck just imagine for half of a second that Y2k would have thrown us into the dark ages, Tesla and his machines are the building block of HOW we would recover from said darkness. While everyone else is rioting the clothing stores and the malls you better be im heading to my local radio shack and other electronic component stores, so that while your defecating in the dark in your brand new nikes im nice and comfortable in my self sustaining house of energy. great instructable MrFixits, keep them coming.
or to make a axial flux alternator
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