Tesla CD Turbine With Scary Steampunk Laser PumpkinCutter Attachment




About: 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 Quantum Radios. "All children are artists. The problem...
If you wanna build something high tech, truly scary, cheap, and relatively easy for Halloween, this Steampunk Tesla CD Turbine is it! It uses recycled CD's, Neodymium magnets and a Magnetic Coupling to power tools and implements.

You can order the BEST neodymium super-magnets here:

From experience, I can tell you that it's scary enough to be running a high-speed turbine made from recycled CD's, supermagnets and glue. But running it with a magnetically-coupledSkilsaw blade, now that's TRULY scary! I would not advise anyone to try this. I only did it to prove a point or two, and they haven't quite made this alien technology safe yet.

This Tesla CD Turbine incorporates many subtle and amazing feaures, such as shaftless, bearingless, magnet-separated CD discs driving magnetically-coupled attachments to high speed.(huh?) More on that later.

The CD Turbine works on either compressed air or water pressure. It's cheap and easy to put together, lots of fun and makes cool sounds to boot.

Pumpkin Cuttin' Ceremony with the CD Turbine.

However, the PumpkinCutter Skilsaw Blade Attachment has a big element of danger ...for both people and pumpkins! Don't use it!!...I only use the Saw to draw attention to the wonderful attributes and power of this little CD Turbine device, and things got a little out of hand. I promise to never, hardly ever, do it again. (There was an unrehearsed Pumpkin Cuttin' Ceremony on Halloween, of course...hehe)

I have discovered that this is not a project to take lightly. (With humour, but not lightly.) Under water pressure the Tesla CD Turbine spins a couple of thousand rpm, but under air pressure it is a high-speed dangerous device that must be treated with utmost respect.

Lets remember, folks, this thing is just a CD case, CD's, and magnets. And glue. Lots of glue. (...and keep telling yourself that when you see the magnetically-coupled PumpkinCutter Skilsaw Attachment smoothly wailing away at way-too-high rpm!!)

This device is built for working demonstration purposes; to prove ideas, not for longevity and everyday use. Hence the danger factor. (i.e. yes, things could self-destruct at any time...hehe)

I can really only recommend building one of these with the PumpkinCutter Attachment if you are a truly dedicated experimenter, and promise to wear your suit-of-armour and carry a shield, and cower behide a far-off wall.

We can, however, make a "point" to have some real fun with something a little less on the leading "edge", so to speak. So I suggest to perhaps substitute a Nerf disc for the sawblade! or use a Frisbee! maybe make a CD Turbine-powered Frisbee Impeller?

Hi-Speed Testing of the Tesla CD Turbine

Step 1: Start With the Basic Tesla CD Turbine

See my previous Instructable on building the basic Tesla Cd Turbine, (see picture below)

Extra parts in this project will be the Magnetic Disc Pack, the Magnetic Coupler, the Blade (use cardboard or foam unless you are crazy like me.) and miscellaneous brass parts to give the SteamPunk look and feel.

You can orderthe BEST neodymium super-magnets here.

Step 2: Parts List

Here's the Parts and Materials list for the SteamPunk Tesla CD Turbine with Laser PumpkinCutter Attachment: ApproximateTotal Cost = $69.10

1.) Basic Tesla CD Turbine (without disc pack)
CD Case, Nozzle, and Extension. $10.00
CD Spindle Cover

2.) Magnetic Disc Pack:
8 CD's,
60 of 3/8 x 1/32 inch neodymium disc magnets $0.20 each = $12.00

3.) Magnetic Coupler
3 CD's
12 of 1/2 inch x 1/8 inch neodymium disc magnets $0.60 each = $7.20
12 of 3/8 inch x 1/32 inch neodymium disc magnets $0.20 each = $2.40
6 of 1 inch x 1/8 inch teflon furniture pads (Dollar Store $1.00)

4.) Laser Illuminator
Laser Pen (Dollar Store) $1.00
Brass garden-hose fitting to just fit over the pen, (to be used as off-on switch.) $1.50
2 Brass 2 inch x 1/4 inch screws $1.00
2 1/4 inch brass nuts $.50

5.) Miscellaneous
Hot-Glue (package of about 8-10)$3.00
Marine Goop (Marine Store)
Nifty brass and glass observation gage. $ 18.00 (Marine Scrapyard)
Brass Drainpipe $5.00 (on sale, Home Depot)
Scrap steel or brass 3/4 inch x 2 inchx 1/8 inch. $.50
Misc plumbing fittings $6.00
7-1/4 inch Skilsaw Blade (On hand)
Skilsaw Guard (on Hand, broken skilsaw)

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

Step 3: Make the CD Turbine Disc Pack

Assemble Disc Pack :
Working with a CD Spindle and your favourite useless CD's, open Spindle Cover and remove CD's from the Spindle. Crazy-glue six 5/16 inch x 1/32 inch neodymium disc magnets in appropriate locations, evenly spaced at edges on one CD, as in the picture.

Use a piece of medium sandpaper to rough up both the surface of the CD where the magnet will sit, and also roughen the mounting surfaces of each of the magnets. Use only a tiny drop of superglue for each magnet.

Flip over CD and carefully glue six more magnets onto CD to correspond with previously glued magnets on the other side. They will tend to pop into place at the correct locations "automagically". Make sure they don't overlap the edge of the disc.

Now put this first CD onto the Spindle of the CD Case. Put a small drop of glue on each magnet, and place another CD on top of the first. Glue on 6 more magnets to that CD. Put small drops of glue on the magnets. Place another CD on top of them. Continue in this manner until you build up a CD disc pack with 8 discs using 60 magnets.

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

Step 4: CD Spindle Modifications

The Spindle must be modified to allow the fluid pressure to escape. Carefully drill 1/8 "holes in the centre spindle shaft. Allow room between each hole to keep the spindle shaft strong, but put in as many holes as you can easily fit. I used 25 holes (3 high x 8 around, plus one at the top). You will have to clean up the inside of the spindle of shavings, and smooth off the spindle shaft of burrs.
An outlet on the bottom of the CD Spindle is optional and especially recommended for water-powered runs. (see 2nd picture)

Step 5: CD Case Mods

This is how to to modify the CD case to accept an inlet jet nozzle. My first turbine used a 1/4" outlet barbed brass fitting with 1/4 "pipe threads for the nozzle. I used a couple of pipe adapters to go from that to the female garden hose coupling and shut-off valve. I can connect garden hose water pressure directly to this shut-off valve, or switch to compressed air with appropriate fitting.
Make the jet nozzle by using a 1/4 " outlet pipe fitting and crushing the end to form a thinner wider orifice. It takes a little finesse, but hot-glue works well to stick the jet nozzle onto the CD case. Carefully cut a small hole in the side of the case to accept the nozzle, then position the nozzle at approximately the same angle as shown in the pictures. Start building up the hot-glue, a bit at a time, to keep the nozzle in position. Take your time and allow the glue to cool somewhat as you go, so as to not warp the case. Cut or grind the nozzle end flush with the inside of the CD case. Allow everything to fully cool and cure, then add plumbing fittings to adapt to the shut-off valve. Put the previously completed CD Disc pack on the spindle, and install the modified cover. The CD pack should freely rotate. If not, find out what is binding and grind or cut to suit.
Alternately, you could use a plastic nozzle, instead of brass, and glue it in with hot-glue in the same manner. I used a tapered ABS fitting in the CD Turbine seen below.

Step 6: Make a Magnetic Coupler

Now you need to make a Magnetic Coupler to enjoy getting useful energy out of the Tesla Turbine device. We'll use the same technique as the CD Disc Pack.

Start by placing a CD on top of the previously made CD Disc Pack. Line it up with the other CD's. Next, place a small drop of glue lined up to a magnet point on the CD. Take a 1/2 inch x 1/8 inch neodymium disc magnet and place it at the magnet point, on the glue. It will self-position quickly; just be sure not to let it hang over the edge of the CD as the glue sets.

Repeat at the other 5 magnet points, so that you end up with a CD with six magnets glued to it. Flip it over and glue on six 3/8 x 1/32 inch disc magnets, allowing them to attract and align with the previous six magnets. Again, be sure magnets don't overlap the edge of the CD as the glue sets.

Place this 12-magnet CD on the CD spindle to keep things lined up, then put a small drop of superglue on each of the the six visible magnets. Place a CD on top of this and glue it to the magnets. Glue on six more 3/8x 1/32 magnets, and then another CD. Glue on 6 more magnets, this time use the 1/2 inch x 1/8 inch magnets.

By now you have a 3-disc pack with magnets on both sides. This is the Magnetic Coupler. I added some stick-on Teflon pads to the Turbine side for smooth running,

Be sure the North-South polarity is the same for each glued magnet. In other words, you should end up with all south poles on one side of this Magnetic Coupler and all north on the other, similar to the CD Disc Pack previous.

The Magnetic Coupler should tend to repel the magnets in the CD Disc Pack, when placed at the top of the CD case.

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

Step 7: Skilsaw Attachment

The Skilsaw Blade Attachment" is very dangerous to actually use, but it demonstrates the power and versatility of the Tesla CD Turbine. Other attachments, implements, or tools are readily adapted instead of the Skilsaw Blade. For example, an auto alternator could be adapted, which will be the topic of a new Instructable.
The basic idea of the Skilsaw Blade Attachment is to use the Magnetic Coupler to magnetically clamp on the blade, while keeping it lined up at the centre hole. It is preferable to put a cut-off 5/8 " bolt or pin in the centre to keep the blade centered at high speeds. (any off-center wobble would be sheer disaster!)
That's it...the blade just clamps on magnetically to the Magnetic Coupler. The Magnetic Coupler just rides on the top of the CD case, while engaging the magnets in the CDCase. Scared enough yet??
Well, ok, I did originally test run the blade without a guard and without a shaft to hold the blade on; I lived through it, I won't do that again! My new setup is much more robust, with little or no possibility of blade fly-off. There is both a guard, and a stationary shaft attached to a screwed-in plate. It all worked really well during the PumpkinCuttin Ceremony, other than the guard got plugged up with pumpkin guts and slowed the blade down!

Step 8: Build the Guard

Having a guard with a spinning saw blade is very important! (thanks to everyone who kept reminding me of this idea.)
I started with a 7-1/4 inch Skilsaw inner guard and hack-sawed a piece off to make it conform roughly to the CD Case. Then I hot-glued it into position where it touched at various points of the CD Case, and at the connector that goes to the PVC inlet pipe. Check clearances as you go so the blade is centered in the guard.

Step 9: SteamPunk It !!

Ok now that the basic Tesla CD Turbine is built, we can add details to give it a great SteamPunk look.
I started by adding a brass drainpipe, cutting off the end so it would conform to the turbine case and cutting it to fit over the fluid inlet/handle. This piece was hot-glued securely in place and it becomes the handle. (make sure there is room for fittings, shut-off valve, etc.)

Step 10: Add a Brass Outlet Port

I used the cut-off piece of brass pipe to make a brass outlet. I smoothed the edges with a sanding drum on the Dremel Tool, then mounted it to the bottom of the CD Case, using hot-glue. It points roughly away from the operator.

Step 11: Install the Laser Cut Illuminator

Note: Don't point the pointy end of the laser into peoples' eyes. Also, don't point the pointy end of the Blade near people at all. Especially if it is running.
The Laser Cut Illuminator is basically a laser pen, with a pipe fitting engaged with a screw, acting as a switch, with another screw as elevation adjuster.

Step 12: Install the Special Really Important Blade Guide

The Special Really Important Blade Guide is a recent welcome addition to the Skilsaw Attachment of the Tesla CD Turbine. It has two purposes. It's main purpose is to guide the blade should it have a sudden desire to want to leave the Magnetic Coupler. A second purpose is to attach a handle so both hands can be used and because it looks cool and is a brass piece I just had to use somewhere on the machine. (hehe)

Step 13: Finishing Touches

Finish up by making sure there are no sharp edges(!) , that the glue is well reinforced, and that the Blade and Magnetic coupler move freely with the Magnetic Disc Pack which is inside the CD Case. I connected a brass garden hose shut-off valve at the air inlet and used an adapter to go to garden hose from the air chuck. I can easily convert from water to air pressure and back.
Please remember that running this turbine on air pressure is a very dangerous thing...it will certainly BLOW UP like a bomb with shrapnel if used on straight 120 psi without a load. If conditions are perfect, this magnetic version may withstand 11,000 rpm or more before blowing. But conditions are seldom perfect, and chances are that the CD's in the Magnetic Disc Pack could separate at much lower rpm than 11,000. Try to design the guard and CD Case to take this into account. Don't do demos of this turbine and expect it to be safe each time just because it was the last few times. Plastic discs can both flow and stress-crack and can fly apart at any time. Take all precautions!

Step 14: Pumpkin Cuttin' Ceremony

Did the thing really work?? The machine performed reasonably well, and the PUMPKIN ACTUALLY GOT CUT.
More importantly, I DIDN'T get cut and actually felt reasonably safe with this new design.


Step 15: Parting Shots & Videos

A few last pictures of the CD Turbine, plus some fun videos of the new Kitchen version of the CD Turbine. Be sure to check out my new Instructable on the Kitchen model at https://www.instructables.com/id/Turkey-Time-Tesla-CD-Turbine/

Also, check out my CD Turbine movie playlists in my you-tube / MrfixitRick

This is a video of the new Kitchen version running off the kitchen sink faucet.

This is the Magnetic Coupler acting as a Magnetic SuperStirrer. Kitchen Model CD Turbine again.

CD Turbine, Kitchen Edition and Dancing Magnetic Balls

Super SaladSpinner!

Blender Attachment...not real fast, but it does work!

Pencil Sharpener Attachment with Bullet-Proof Case

"Houston, we have a problem..."

Participated in the
The Instructables Book Contest



    • DIY Summer Camp Contest

      DIY Summer Camp Contest
    • Stone Concrete and Cement Contest

      Stone Concrete and Cement Contest
    • Sensors Contest

      Sensors Contest

    116 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    When the world comes back to stone age, i think you will be treated as a king!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    It has a sharp carbide blade that is meant for wood...and pumpkins! However, if the metal was aluminum and the blade going really fast, something will give. ;)

    A metal-cutting disc like welders use, would work much better.

    Actually, using the correct tool instead of this hot-glued together contraption would be a whole lot safer!! (but not nearly as awesome!)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes. The limitations are more that the magnetic drive can only take so much torque, and getting enough air pressure and volume to develop adequate speed and torque...


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Could you place coils of wire above the magnets and make this into a generator/alternator? I suspect that getting 12 V out of it would be about the max, but if you had a 'free' source of water like a spring house it would be capturing energy that would otherwise flow to the beaver pond.

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, this can be done. I have recently made such a generator that can light 50 LED's form faucet water pressure in a 2 inch Tesla Turbine.


    Thanks! It is humbling to have an older instructable come back to life on the main page, but this one is kind of a classic, I guess!


    I have known about Tesla for a while and I know about his inventions of the Tesla Coil, the electric motor, and telemechanics. But I had never heard of a turbine made by Tesla, so I looked it up in my dad's giant book with all of his patents and there was a whole section about his turbines! Thanks for introducing me to a new thing!


    I'm glad to hear you are learning about the Tesla turbine...there are good reasons why Nikola Tesla called his turbine," the greatest of all my inventions."

    Tesla really believed that his turbine would "make scrap of all the heat engines of the world" ! (...and maybe it will someday ;)


    8 years ago on Introduction

    OK, this is going to sound silly, but for the life of me I can't figure out where the water goes into the turbine and comes out again.

    Does the water enter the system along the outer rim of the turbine (the CD) and drain inward towards the spindle or does it go in at the spindle and flow out along the CDs?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    It can take a while to get the "hang" of the Tesla Turbine. It seems too simple to work!

    In the Tesla Turbine, the fluid enters the outer rim at high pressure and velocity, and exits out the centre (spindle) exhaust hole, imparting its energy while passing through the discs. The discs behave like a motor.

    In the Tesla Pump, fluid enters the centre inlet (or spindle) and exhausts at higher pressure at the outer rim. In this case, the discs are driven by a motor.

    I'm interested in just building the turbine this is awesome. looks more intimidating than it does lethal i like it.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Why not put the magnets closer to the cd hub?
    Wouldn't it still work; but there should now be allot less g-force on the magnets like when they are on the rim as before?
    Might allow higher rpms before failure?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If the magnets are closer to the hub, it seems like it would provide for higher rpms. That's not always the case, as the magnets can act as the washers that Tesla called for and help with starting torque by interacting with the fluid.

    Also, some of the devices I run require a higher torque than inner-mounted disc magnets can provide. The torque delivered by the magnets before slippage is determined by the radius and number of magnets.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    you talk about letting the pressure build up would it work with like Co2, compressed air or something.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    My Tesla CD Turbines will run on any source of pressure that doesn't melt the hot-glue. Compressed air works great. Or water pressure...or both!
    (see "Tesla CD Turbine Test Combining Air And Water" )

    The CD container can take up to 120 psi, but any restriction on the output exhaust will cause her to blow, capt'n! As I found out in one of the following movie..."Tesla CD Turbine Bursts on Kitchen Table"

    I tried a paint-ball canister briefly; it worked, but needed a proper regulator to control it.

    A proper Tesla Turbine can burn any fuel, or run on any source of pressure. The disc turbine design is the only type of turbine that can do this.