SinkScience With the Tesla CD Turbine




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...
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 previousInstructables.

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.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Materials (Total Cost less than $ 60.00)

-25 CD's (or number to fit your spindle case.)
-CD Spindle, with Cover (one with a thicker base works best)
-Water Nozzle (such as the "Holland Garden House Plastic Power Nozzle")$1.29
-Hot-glue sticks - best ones you can find for plastics. ( about $3.00)
-Super glue and Marine Goop ( a couple of bucks worth)

-12 of 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch cylinder neodymium magnets
(6 for main Disc Pack, 6 for the Magnetic Coupler = 12 total at about $2.25 each = $ 26.80)

-132 of 1/32 inch thick x 3/8 inch neodymium magnets for magnetic disc pack spacers
(6 ea. x 22 discs = 132 magnets at $.019 each = about $25.00)

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

Total Cost of Materials less than $ 60.00 (Plus Accessories)

-Blender...........$1.50 Thrift Store
-Bowl................$1.00 Thrift Store
-Spinner...........$1.50 Dollar Store
-Salad Spinner.$5.00 Dollar Store
Total Cost of Accessories = $9.00

-Hot-glue gun
- Drill (optional)
-Dremel (optional)
- Knife (sometimes)

Step 2: Some Background and Set-up Hints

This instructable will show how to set-up the Tesla CD Turbine at or near a sink, with the water inlet pressure line coming from a sink faucet spout.

The water outlet of the CD Turbine is at the bottom of the centre spindle post. What worked well for me was to set the CD Turbine on top of an Airzooka (minus it's plastic membrane), and set the whole works in the sink. The turbine drains directly into the sink, and the water noise level is quieted with the Airzooka around it. Plus, it looks Star-Wars awesome!

Alternately, drain hose connections from the Turbine can go to another water usage area such as a garden or pool, instead of draining directly into the sink. That way, each time the garden is watered, the turbine will rotate (or vice-versa). This remote drain also enables the risky, but extremely rewarding, idea of a SteamPunk Parlour Model or Tabletop Model CD Turbine such as hinted at below.

Keep in mind that this unit, in spite of it's capabilities (which are many...), the CD Turbine is not designed for long-term use. The CD's may de-laminate under wet conditions, the glue may not hold and leaks could develop, the case may rupture with overpressure, etc. I'm still learning best construction techniques to pass on. Stuff can happen. So, no mission-critical endeavours yet, please.

On the other hand it's darn pleasing to make something from almost nothing, that's versatile enough to run many household jobs from just plain water pressure from the tap. And my personal Kitchen CD Turbine has been reliable, leak-free and problem- free for two weeks now of daily occasional use. (so far, so good!)

Free energy! (as long as you don't have to pay for your water, that is.) Even if you do pay for water, there are many situations where the CD Turbine could be run and the water used for it's original filling a sink or a swimming pool, for example. It's an extremely adaptable device!


Step 3: How to Build the Kitchen Model Tesla CD Turbine

Building this model Tesla CD Turbine is similar to the instructions in my previousInstructables.

However, in this scenario, the turbine might be used in a kitchen or living-room environment, so we need to adapt to the situation. The CD Turbine works easiest draining directly in a sink, where the outlet can run resistance-free to a drain. Plus any leaks get caught by the sink, so using it there makes most sense. We want to raise it off the bottom of the sink, so I used an Airzooka for that. Otherwise, the Tabletop version, removed from a sink, requires extra plumbing, including an outlet adapter and large-size low-restriction outlet hose.

For water pressure, I used a universal faucet adapter to fit the stainless garden-hose to the sink faucet spout. The other end of the hose goes to the Turbine inlet nozzle, which is a hot-glued-on Holland Power Nozzle. (See pics below.)
The outlet hole of the nozzle is a little too big for best nozzle velocity, so glue in a tight-fitting piece of small tubing for better performance. I used a short length of 10 ga wire insulation, and glued it in with crazy glue. Cut it off flush with the case, so that the discs won't hit it when they go around.

Building up the main Magnetic Disc Pack is very similar to the previous Instructable. I started with a "seed" Magnetic Pack with 6 evenly spaced magnets to act as a template for the new magnetic disc pack. I used 1/32 x 3/8 inch magnets to space the plates. That's 6 magnets per plate, times whatever number of plates, to build it up to about 1/8 inch from the top of the CD Case, about 30 discs x 6 = 180 magnets (or less than $30 worth)

The toughest part in making this machine is to glue in the water power nozzle to the side of the CD Spindle Cover. Even this is not too difficult, for I have simplified the process for this model CD Turbine.

Here's what to do about the nozzle: Fire up (that is, plug in) the glue-gun. You're going to use the glue-gun to pierce the inside of the CD Spindle Cover. I'll say that again. You're going to use the glue-gun to pierce the inside of the CD Spindle Cover. there. I said it. So, that's about it. You melt a little hole into the Cover, from the inside, such that the Nozzle can just fit into it (from the outside, of course.) Fit the nozzle in and start gluing. Just make sure that the Nozzle doesn't go in too far as the glue sets, and is at the correct angle. The Nozzle needs to clear the discs inside the case. You should end up with something like below...

Don't forget to drill out the center post of the spindle as shown in my last instructable on basic CD Turbine building.

You can test the unit without gluing the cover on, but it will be messy!

Dry the cover and base well before hot-gluing.
Once the disc pack is rotating freely, then glue on the cover to the spindle base. Work carefully to avoid bubbles which will leak.
Congrats, the CD Turbine should be ready to run!

Step 4: Build the Basic Magnetic Coupler

What's a magnetic coupler, anyway? A magnetic coupler enables the transmission of mechanical energy through a magnetic field interaction. It happens every time you push one magnet with another with like poles. This Magnetic Coupler is almost magical.

The Magnet Coupler was covered in a previous Instructable, and it's simple to build. Glue two sets of two CD's together with crazy glue,( or preferably methylene chloride, the solvent for polycarbonate CD's.) Keep each set aligned when gluing.

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

After the glue is set, take one of the two-disc sets and drop it over a Spindle Post onto a previously-made magnetic disc pack. The magnets underneath will help align the 1/2 inch magnets that are to be glued to the CD disc, and the spindle post should keep discs aligned. If you don't have a magnetic disc pack to act as a magnetic template, then just mark off 6 equal segments on the disc and line up the magnets to these marks. Small irregularities will be tolerated in this low-rpm (up to 1500 rpm) water-pressure version of the CD Turbine. On air pressure it's a different story entirely- things must be very well balanced in that case.

Scuff up the 1/2 inch magnets with sandpaper so they will stick better, then apply a drop of crazy glue to each one and place on the two-disc set. A total of 6 magnets will be glued on. They should self-align as the glue sets. When the glue is dry, scuff the 6 magnets, put a drop of crazy glue on each and glue on the top discs. Goop may be added to coat the magnets and surrounding disc surface for harsh environments and as a shock buffer. should now have a cool Magnetic Coupler!

A movie of the Basic Kitchen version of the CD Turbine and Coupler

Step 5: Build a CD Turbine Kitchen Gadget : the SaladSpinner

The Super SaladSpinner Attachment

A SaladSpinner is easy to build.
1.) Get a Salad Spinner.
2.) Attach 3 Neodymium magnets to the bottom.
3.) Start Spinning!

It's almost as easy as the above!

For demo purposes, I didn't even glue the magnets to the spinner; just used a backup magnet on the other side of each of the three places the magnets were attached. For actual use it is important that these magnets be epoxied on, so that there is no possibility of them falling off and being eaten. (note: Ingestion of supermagnets can be fatal! Keep supermagnets away from small children. ).

The magnets correspond with the magnets of the CD Turbine, and couple magnetically. Magnets around 3/8 to 1/2 inch diameter should work. Make sure they are in repel mode compared to the magnets in the CD Turbine Disc Pack, so they engage into the magnetic field of the Turbine better.

Happy Spinning! I find this to be one of the most useful and satisfying applications of the CD Turbine I love to see that handle a whizzing around by itself!!

Step 6: Build a CD Turbine Kitchen Gadget: the Blender

Building attachments for the CD turbine is relatively easy. The main thing is to make a Magnetic Coupler fit something.

Take the Blender, for example. I recycled a dead blender from the Thrift Store for this project, and made a standard Magnetic Coupler fit by gluing a CD spindle post onto the CD of the Coupler. The post and Coupler were then pressed into the rubber base hole of the blender, and, with a bit of tweaking, it was good to go. I put a screw in to hold it a little better.

This Blender doesn't go very fast on tap water-pressure, but it's ok for stirring and minor blending. Someday I'll run it on air pressure to really get those blades spinning!

Newest Addendum to above: Here it is with first test running on combined air and water pressure...!!
And two followup videos..."Recirculating Tesla CD Turbine with Power Boost Blender"
and "Tesla CD Turbine Blender Bursts On Kitchen Table" (oops!)

CD Turbine Blender Attachment

Step 7: Build a CD Turbine Kitchen Gadget: the Punch Bowl SuperStirrer

This Kitchen Gadget attachment I call the SuperStirrer, simply because it does a super job of stirring. It's like a lab magnetic stirrer, but on steroids!
This one is easy...simply place a Magnetic Coupler in a Pyrex or plastic bowl, turn on the water pressure to the Turbine and watch it go!
The Tesla CD Turbine is great fun for stirring up a Punch Bowl on special occasions, so that's what I'll show in the following pictures and video...(hehe)

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

CD Turbine Punch Bowl SuperStirrer.

Step 8: Build a CD Turbine Holiday Decision Maker

Have a hard time deciding what to do with all your spare time on the holidays? You need a random Holiday Decision Maker to help with the answers!

Again, this one is easy to make. I picked up my Decision Maker at the Dollar Store, but it could be home-made easily. This spinner card even comes with spare blanks to be printed with your favourite activities. Any board-game spinner works fine with the CD Turbine, too.

The secret is to attach two magnets , one at each end of the rotating pointer. The magnets should be super-glued so that they are in repel mode to the magnets on the CD Turbine, thereby allowing magnetic coupling. As the turbine is spun up, the Decision Maker spinner rotates. When the Turbine is shut down, the spinner turns to the random spot to tell you what to do. Ahh, life is easy. (Well, we can pretend, anyway...)

CD Turbine Holiday Decision Maker.

Step 9: What Else Can I Do With a CD Turbine ?

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    148 Discussions


    7 months ago

    This is neat to look at, but it's merely transferring energy and at a loss. The water pressure used to run the turbine is generated using an electric pump. You are most assuredly paying more for the electricity to provide water to the turbine than the electricity the turbine actually can provide. Also, the mechanical energy the device is transferring can be more efficiently produced with another device... Stirring your punch bowl with a small motor. Running the device on Solar or wind power and recycling the water in the pump would make it more efficient. :) The phenomenon with the backwards moving ball is simple magnetic physics. Try it with a cube magnet and you'll get a different result. It is neat though!

    Wood Sunglasses Guy

    2 years ago

    I looked at this instructables version as well as the older one you did. Fantastic work. I would love to make this.


    3 years ago

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    3 years ago

    The Neodymium magnets is the strongest material in the world, 99% of the neo magnets are imported from china, we are chinese top ten magnets manufacture. We provide high quality magnets with unbelievable low price. See: <a href=""></a>

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Rahul Abande

    4 years ago

    do we need to drill holes only at the top and bottom part of the centre post, or would it make any difference if the whole post is drilled

    1 reply
    mrfixitrickRahul Abande

    Reply 4 years ago

    Drill the whole post with holes, and sand them down smooth. It makes a difference, as the fluid must exit through the discs.

    On The 3dge

    6 years ago on Introduction

    would these magnets still work right if i stacked them to achieve roughly the same size

    4 replies

    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.


    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.

    spark master

    7 years ago on Introduction

    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......

    1 reply

    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.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    are there any cheaper magnets that would work well? with this? if so, where can i buy them?

    4 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.