How to Make a Tesla Turbine (Greenest Turbine)

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Introduction: How to Make a Tesla Turbine (Greenest Turbine)



If you like this instructable please vote for it in the Epilog Challenge coming up. I have spent alot of time and effort trying to make this easy to understand and easy for anyone out there to do. I hope you enjoy and please rate and vote.

This Instructable will show you how to construct a turbine from reused parts and a couple of new materials. This turbine can achieve speeds of up to and possibly accede 15,000-20,000 running speed rpm's and top rpm's reaching around 30,000 to 35,000. This project can be run on about 40 psi but I have run mine on up to 100 psi and it will really started to scream (I would not sugest running it with that much pressure for more than a few seconds, I was just testing it to see what it could do, it was very dangerous and it could have or was close to flying apart). But to make this project even greener you could run it on steam. Or put it downstream and direct water flow to it and run it just as a hydroelectric plant, this turbine is very strong and versitile. Also please rate this instructable.

The reason for making this instructable is because I have been scanning the internet and to make one of these and the outcome of it will either not look very nice or they are very hard to find materials to make them or the materials are too expensive and usually the directions are very complicated and leave parts out. If any of you feel that I have left any parts out please leave a comment and I will try to put them into my instructable and if you have any trouble with any of this please make me aware of it and I will help you out.***PLEASE READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE INSTRUCTABLE BEFORE STARTING YOUR BUILD.

Also something that I would love to see done is to have someone build a boiler, this turbine and a small r/c vehicle that could be powered by this. You could even put a generator on the turbine to power the electronic parts of the car. Although you would need to gear it down a bit so it has more torque and less rpm's but if anyone does this or has seen it done please let me know so I can see it.

I am not liable for your versions of this and for this failing horribly and hurting someone so please do not run this on any more than about 70 psi and don't run it too long with that much pressure it will spin at around 15,000 rpm's at about 40 psi which should be good enough unless you are showing it off to friends or family, then crank it up but don't blow it up.

***Update, After seeing what this project could do I am now deciding what kind of motor to put onto this to actually power something and I am working on a copper exhaust system that will come together like the headers of a car to direct the exhaust flow upwards instead of straight out. I will be putting on how to build and attach these things within the next two to three weeks. I will post sometime soon.

Step 1: Parts

Here is a picture of all of the parts and tools needed for the construction of your turbine. 10 hard drives, which if you go to your local high school they will willingly give you however many hard drives that you want just be polite and let them know what you are doing with them (you only need nine but just in case you mess up). You will then need two pieces of 1/4 inch plexi-glass that are 7x7 inches. Then about a 2.2 " piece of 4 inch diameter schedule 40 pvc pipe and if you want you may be able to find clear pipe for a better look. An exacto-knife or sharp knife. Safety glasses. A small bench-top lathe or mini-lathe. Then eight bolts that are 31/2 inches long and anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4(which is unnecessary but if that is what you have go ahead) inches in diameter. Then you will need 8 bolts and 16 washers to go along with them. Also, you will need some tubing; I am using 3/8 inch id 3/4 inch od plastic tubing. Then you should have two bearing and part of you project will be based on these so I chose two 1/4 inch id bearings with 5/8 inch od. These are Fafnir S1KDD7 bearings. You will then need some precision measuring equipment such as a micrometer and a good ruler. And on your lathe you should have a tailstock with a dead center or live center. And a 6-7 inch piece of 1-1/2 inch diameter Aluminum. The only parts out of the hard drive that you will be using are the platters and the spacer rings so save them and you can throw the rest out or save the very strong magnets in them for another project. I forgot to mention you do not need to have the same size bearings as I do just whatever you have lying around. But I have found that the smaller they are the higher speeds they can handle and if I were you I would not go under a 1/4 inch inner diameter. You should also have a set of drills and a drill. Just to be clear here is a list of materials. See pictures if you have trouble understanding what anything is.

Materials

-10 hard drives (local high school [tech department])
-8 bolts (I will be using 5/16) (hardware store or look around your house for some laying around)
-8 nuts (I will be using 5/16) (hardware store or look around your house)
-16 washers with a 5/16 hole in them (hardware store or look around your house)
-Some 4" pvc pipe (The finish length will have to be 2.2") (hardware store or ask a local plumber ,it is a small amount so they may give it to you for free just remember to be polite)
-2 pieces of plexi-glass that are 7x7" (hardware store)
-1 pieces of 1-1/2" diameter aluminum 6-7" long (probably will have to order off the internet like I did)
-2 ball bearing I am using some with an inner diameter of 1/4" and outer diameter of 5/8" (hardware store, you do not have to use the exact ones I am)
-About a foot of plastic tubing (hardware store)
-JB Weld (hard ware store but you can use almost any strong glue you have around such as super glue)
-Silicon sealant (automotive store, ex. Advance Auto Parts or maybe Lowes or a hardware store will have it) if you don't know what this is there is a picture of it in here

Tools

-Exacto-knife (almost any store)
-Safety glasses (almost any store)
-Some kind of lathe (I am using a South Bend) with a tailstock and dead center or live center (if you do not have a lathe try to get a machine shop to do it for you but you will have to pay them depending on the owner anywhere from $10 to $60 where I work you might get it done for $20)
-A micrometer and precision ruler (order off the internet buy a good brand don't cheap out so it will last a while if you do not have one but if you are giving it to a machine shop to do don't worry about these)
-A set of drills (hardware store)
-A drill press or milling machine would be nice but a hand drill will be fine (you probably know someone that has one that would let you use it if you do not have one)

Extras

-Krylon spray paint (hardware store)
-Lock nuts instead of regular nuts listed above in the materials section (hardware store)

Step 2: Make the Shank

This part will be very easy for anyone with some machining experience, for instance I am 15 and just purchased a South Bend benchtop lathe and this entire project was done with this. I will put some machinist drawings in to make this part of the project much easier. This took me about 7 hours on the lathe to make so make sure you have some time. This is where you with be using the 1-1/2 inch aluminum. You should put this piece into your lathe in between the chuck and the tailstock. Just follow the drawings for this step. Also the two ends of this shank will be fit into the bearings so machine them to the inner diameter of your bearing not mine, unless they are the same size, in that case make it like mine. Please click on the Machinist Layout file to get the dimensions of this part. Also if you have any trouble understanding these dimensions please contact me and I will try to help you out. Note that this picture is not drawn to scale.

Step 3: Retaining Ring

This ring will be the exact same size as the larger portion of the shank. All this will do is ensure that all of the hard drive platters and rings will stay onto the shank. I will once again put a machinist's diagram into the pictures to make it easier to understand. In this piece you will also have to drill and tap a hole for an 8-32 set screw. This will make sure that the ring does not come off. Again if you have any problems understanding the image please contact me. This picture is also not drawn to scale.

Step 4: Drill Holes in Hard Drive Platters

The drilling of these holes should be fairly easy, all you will need for this is a drill press, but a milling machine would make it easier. I just used a drill press. You will need to drill eight holes 25 mm from the center of the hard drive disk. These holes will be spaced 45 degrees apart. You can easily plot this out on a piece of graph paper with a protractor before you drill it to ensure it is correct spacing and everything. And it is ok if the holes are not at the exact space on every disk because they are not on mine and it works just fine; just make sure they are no more that .030" difference. When drilling these holes remember to use a sheet metal drill unless you figure out a way to keep them all together while drilling, because it will warp your hard drives. Also you may want to look at the hard drive layout file for some help on what to do to lay it out. You will need to make eight of these. Ohya and use a 3/8" drill bit for this. Also do not use the diagram that I made because the holes on that are too far off the make this project be same, it WILL be off-balanced if you were to use that it is just an example to help you.

Step 5: Drill Holes in Plexi-glass

This step will be based on the bolts that you used and the bearings that you used but it will consist of an eight hole pattern with the holes spaced 45 degrees apart just like the hard drives. Then you will drill a hole in the center of the sheet of 7x7" plexi-glass, I drilled a 5/8 inch hole because of my bearings and then you can just drill an appropriate sized hole for your bearings. In only one of the pieces of plexi-glass you will need to drill a few holes around the center hole for exhaust ports. The larger the hole the larger the high rpm's horsepower and the smaller the holes the more low rpm torque. I drilled four 3/8 inch hole around the center, 25 mm out from the center, so you could use the same pattern you did for your hard drive disks just skip every other hole. And four 3/8" hole is about right in the middle of the two rpm ratios. Also, use a 3/8 inch bit for the eight hole for the bolts to go through if you are using 5/16 bolts like me. These holes are 2.5" from the outside of the 5/8 inch hole you drilled in the center or if you did not drill a 5/8 inch hole they are 2.8125" from the center. This is another eight hole pattern like for the disks so like I said before space them 45 degrees apart.

Step 6: Cut Pipe and Drill Air Inlet

Cut your pvc pipe to 2.2" and then drill a hole the size of your tubing into the middle of your pvc pipe and offset it a little bit so it is at an angle so that when the air enters it, it immediately starts spinning inward. Once this pipe is cut to make sure the whole end surface is even, take it on the lathe and face it off until smooth, then take some 600 grit sandpaper and smooth the ends so no air can escape when the plexi-glass is put onto the ends. If you want to skip the sanding then just put some silicon or mopar sealer around the ends to keep the air from seeping out. On my project I did not do this, I just sanded it because in my opinion it gives it a better appearance. This step is pretty self explanatory.

Step 7: Put Bearings Onto Shank

When putting the bearings onto the shank just make sure to put some jb weld or some super glue on the inside of the bearing so it will not move once assembled, just put the glue on during the assembly process so everything lines up correctly. Remember that it will be spinning at around 15,000 rpm so if it would slip or run out of the bearing it would be very bad. These do not need to be put at any set position but when you do this make sure that they are not right up against the larger parts of the shank, I designed this so the bearings can have a little bit of room so do a dry assembly first to make sure everything fits then glue everything. And make sure that the bearings line up with the plexi-glass sheets you want them about centered in the plexi-glass, not too far in or too far out.

Step 8: Assembly

First put one of the hard drive disks that you have not drilled onto the shank. Then layer them with a spacer from the hard drive and then put a disk with the holes drilled in it, spacer, disk, spacer, disk and so one until you end up with just a spacer on the end(After you do a dry assembly then put a few drops of superglue between each disk and spacer so they will not spin on the shank, that is not what we want them to do. After you do this put the retaining ring on and tighten up the set screw. Once this is done you can put the rest of it together. The last picture in this setting is the assembled shank and disks sorry I do not have a better picture.

After this is done then take the piece of plexi-glass without the exhaust ports in it and put the eight bolts into the hole you drilled previously. Then flip this piece over so the bolt heads are on the bench or table you are using. Then lay the pvc pipe onto the piece of plexi-glass with the assembly of the shank and disks (look at the extras section first). Then you should take the other piece of plexi-glass (the one with the exhaust ports) and slide it onto the eight bolts that should be standing strait up now. After that take the last eight washers and slip them onto the bolts. Then put the eight nuts onto the bolts. The project should now be coming together. Then once you tighten up the nuts (remember to put the bearings exactly where you want them and then center your pvc pipe around the disks before tightening the nuts) then put your piece of tubing into the previously drilled hole and put a plentiful amount of silicon sealer all around the tube and the hole so no air will leak out from this area. Then put the appropriate air fitting that you have on the other end of your tube and you are ready to run it after the glue dries of course. On to taking it further.

Step 9: Taking It Further

Now what you may want to do and you may have noticed in the previous steps that throughout the instructable my pvc pipe transitioned from plain white to blue. If you plan on painting your project do this before assembly. I used Krylon because it is in my opinion the best spray paint out there and it will bond to anything.

Another thing to help your project stay together but is not necessary is to use lock nuts instead of regular nuts. I did switch over and use these after I thought about it for a while and I believe it will help to keep your project together longer.

Also one thing that I did not do and I am now wishing I did is polish the ends of my plexi-glass. This is something that I do not know how to do but I imagine that you should be able to easily find it somewhere on the internet.

Something else you may consider is making a steam boiler. This is something that I know how to do but it will take another instructable so if I get enough responses for me to make this I will so if you would like to see one on Instructables please let me know.

You may also want to make a Tesla pump which is just about the exact same thing as this except the water or fluid will enter from the exhaust ports and will exit from where we are putting the air inlet which is where the plastic tube is. Once again I am sorry but I do not know how to make one of these but If you do let me know of the site and I will post a link on how to do this, same for polishing the ends of the plexi-glass. And your turbine could power this too.

These are just add-ons so do not feel that you have to do these things to make your turbine run because I have only painted mine and made a boiler for it which make this project very green. Speaking of that you could also add on a small D.C. generator of some sort and light some L.E.D.'s with it and having your project run something else always makes it look better, please if any of you make one of these send me a picture and I will dedicate a section to all of you that make one.

***Note: you may want to make a ball valve system so you can quickly shut it off if something were to go wrong and it makes it nice to be able to control the speed if you want to I have a picture of this if you want to see mine.

Step 10: Copper Air Input Instead of Plastic Tubing

To make your finished turbine look better with a copper air input instead of a plastic tubing one you will need the following materials.

Materials

-9" of 1/2" copper pipe
-Pipe cutter
-45 degree copper coupling
-90 degree copper coupling
-Air fitting
-Coupling with threads to fit your air fitting
-Torch
-Solder
-Soldering paste
-Mothers mag and aluminum polish and a rag if you want to polish your cooper
-Teflon tape
-Silicon
-1/2" fasteners for copper pipe

Ok to start we will have to cut our old tubing about 2 inches out. And since that tubing fits perfectly into the 1/2" copper pipe will just slide it right over the tube that is already there so we do not have to drill out our pvc and take the whole turbine apart. Now cut your copper pipe into the following lengths: 5", 3", and 1/2". At this point in time put some teflon tape around your air fitting and thread it into the copper coupling with the threads. Now take the 5" copper pipe you previously cut and put some soldering paste onto it and slip it into the other end of the coupling with the air fitting in. Now fire up the torch and solder these two pieces together.

Take the 3" piece of copper pipe and solder the 45 degree coupling onto it. On the other end of the 45 degree coupling solder the piece of copper pipe that is 1/2" long (this is for the plastic tubing to fit into; it will not be a snug fit into just the coupling so we have to do this unless you want to waste a large amount of glue sealing the two together). Then on the other end of that same pipe solder the 90 degree coupling on.

Now take the 5" copper pipe with the air fitting on it and solder that to the 90 degree coupling that is already attached onto the other pipe. The copper pieces are now all together.

(***Skip this step if you do not want to polish your copper pipe) With all of the pieces of copper together take some mothers polish (if you want to) and polish the copper (I prefer a shiny finish because it will draw more people into looking at what you have really done).

Now slide your tubing into the copper pipe and re-silicon anything if it breaks loose and also put a little bit of silicon inside the copper pipe in the 45 degree angle piece so it make a better seal. Now let this dry overnight. Now that you have done this your project will look much better. Also if you see the pictures with the tape on them it is just holing the copper pipe there until I get some fasteners. But if you have already gotten them fasten away.


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219 Comments

0
daInstructe
daInstructe

Question 5 months ago

This is really cool, curious to know how much hp this generated?

0
RobertM4
RobertM4

5 years ago

has anyone tried, giving the disc plates an airfoil shape to increase the airflow speed?

0
cyberhacks
cyberhacks

Reply 11 months ago

you could give the inlet a airfoil shape, but doing it to the plates might not always be as smart, you can do it slightly to the beginning ang the end to avoid friction. but using a airfoil would disturb the even speed difference. the air normally acts almost like a spinning disk itself because the outside spins faster and the inside slower. using a airfoil shape might give some parts a relative difference which would make the "layers" of the air disk spin at different speeds which can cause loss of efficiency. however whenever you notice this air vortex disk doesn't work as a disk and has a speed difference than a different shape disk might indeed make it more efficient.

you can alsways test it, since any test can give interessting results

0
Elite Robinhood
Elite Robinhood

5 years ago

What should be the working fluid....?

0
cyberhacks
cyberhacks

Reply 11 months ago

anything that doesn't destroy your turbine. things like air, water, steam(water), mercury, etc. often tend to use well for it and are simple to use.

0
Elite Robinhood
Elite Robinhood

5 years ago

What should be the hard drive material...?

0
cyberhacks
cyberhacks

Reply 11 months ago

material that you can't easly bend, it is also nice if it doesn't easly break. the main problem with this type of engine tends to be that the used material will eventually stretch due to the high rotation speed which causes the motor to lock itself. so stone might work very well as long as it doesn't have small cracks which could cause parts of stone to fly of, you need a stone(or material) that can resist a strong pulling force. however stone often will not suit due to imperfections in the fabrication which cause vibration. so in reality metals are used, almost any metal will work, however metals like spring steel or hard steel will work well for things like this due to the hardness and it not breaking as easly. ruby might also work well but you probably won't use that doe to the fabrication cost of the disks.

0
m-behzadi
m-behzadi

2 years ago

hi..... Thanks for the wonderful tutorial.
how can i measure the torque of a tesla turbine ?
HP and N.m

i would be so grateful for help

0
cyberhacks
cyberhacks

Reply 11 months ago

you could calculate it if you know many other factors, or if you use Tesla's values from the origingal prototypes. however if you have a tesla turbine you could make a shaft like a propellor at the output of the engine, on each side you have it extend 1 m(or a different length if you adjust the calculations. this is equally long on both sides in order to keep it in balance since you don't want to measure that shaft along. at the end of one side you can now add weights until it will no longer move the weights upwards/ almost goes in the wrong direction. this would be your N.m when starting the engine. you can combine this with the rpm it will reach under that pressure to get it's minimum HP.
the problem with the tesla turbine is that you can not easly(without specialized material) measure the maximum N.m torque and the maximum HP under a certain pressure. this is because it becomes more efficient under higher speeds.
However a N.Tesla turbine will get to almost 100% efficiency so you can almost use the force(pressure and speed) of the input liquid, gas, material as the output hp.
to get it more precise you could subtract the friction such as for example in the bearings the vibration if your engine isn't made almost perfect, and the relative ratio to the circumference of the outer end of the disks, and the last point before the air exits.

0
Jivitesh Punj

hello i was wondering if you could give me a detailed explanation of the working of this turbine.like where is the inlet for steam or water, and how will it start or stop?

0
cyberhacks
cyberhacks

Reply 11 months ago

the N.Tesla turbine works mainly on the cohesive force on the surface of the plates, the air enters on the outside of the turbine in angle around horizontal in relation to the disks, however at a different angle is also possible like it is done in this instructable as long as the outside is round enough. inside there is a plurality of flat disks or plates on which the propelling material exerts it's force. we use air as a example now. the air enters at the outside of the inside hollow space and moves the fastest, you can see this as a layer but it is more like a tornado. but seeing it as layers you could say that in order to match the disks speed the air will every round move at a slightly lower speed because this energy is converted into movement energy of the disk. the faster the turbine and the wind moves the more "layers" you would get because the air needs to rotate at a lower speed to get further inside.
water, air, or whatever goes in on the outside side of the projected circle and exits as close to the center as possible(increases efficiency). it starts adding force to the rotating motion when you push water, air, or such through it in the right direction, it stops adding force when you stop that, the motor will most likely remain rotating for a while however because it is efficient which means it doesn't have much of a breaking force unlike for example a diesel or gasoline engine which will almost directly stop rotating when you stop the fuel.
for using this in a car or plane you can for example use gears, breaks, clutches or other. a car engine needs to stay turning because it takes a lot of energy to start, a N.tesla turbine will stay turning because it has the energy and when made right doesn't just lose (as much of)it internally(that fast). also you would want to keep your n.tesla turbine running fast because at high speeds it becomes more efficient.

there is also the original pattent which describes it more clearly and is more simple to understand as well as more detailed. https://teslauniverse.com/nikola-tesla/patents/us-patent-1061206-turbinehttps://patents.google.com/patent/US20020182054A1/en

0
sj6445
sj6445

Question 2 years ago on Step 10

i was considering doing this for a project and was just wondering what the rough overall cost would be,
thanks

0
AlanB169
AlanB169

4 years ago

Hi. What volume of air (@ 40psi) did you use at top speed and what was the power output (if measured)? Or does the turbine just free wheel?

0
StarrS6
StarrS6

5 years ago

Ok, havent made it yet, thinking on using tgis in accomplishing our self sustaining lifestyle.....question though, what did you use for the retaining ring? I did not see it in the list of materials? Great job btw, 15 and doing this, absolutely amazing!

0
BrentM53
BrentM53

5 years ago

http://www.wisewaypelletstove.com/stove-specs.html

0
BrentM53
BrentM53

5 years ago

Tesla was incredible. What you have here really interests me. Thanks for sharing.

I have a non electric gravity fed pellet stove that I heat my house with all winter. It has an attachment capable of producing 160 degrees of constant steam that could be used to power this type of turbine.

If I were to use this with the turbine do you think I could run my house with this set up adding a couple of pulleys to increase the torque and an electric motor.

Would it produce enough power to run 3 appliances water heater, dryer, and stove requiring 220?

Would it be capable of running lights, fridge, TV's, computers?

My average electric bill is $200.00 I think the KW per HR is about 8 cents.

Any feedback would be appreciated.

0
vern1530
vern1530

5 years ago

Do I need to make the shaft out of aluminum, for I have 1/4 round stock

0
VeronicaJack
VeronicaJack

5 years ago

im sure you'll build it yourself. I made it 2 weeks ago thanks to inplix website.

0
ricom93
ricom93

13 years ago on Introduction

i'm new to this field and i was wondering if it would be possible to adapt the tesla turbine to produce energy for things such as household appliances