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Tesla turbine from a CD disc pack


Simple Tesla turbine made out of CDs housed in a plastic CD “cake box” disc pack. Several different experiments are tried, using air, water, magnets, no magnets, saw blade attachment(!), etc. See the other videos on the YouTube link.

Revin’ Up the Tesla CD Turbine II With Magnetic Disc Pack – [via] Link


  • HOW TO – Build a 15,000 rpm Tesla Turbine using hard drive platters – Link

18 thoughts on “Tesla turbine from a CD disc pack

  1. rdarlington says:

    Turbine? Not even close. Paddle wheel with very high friction. I have high doubts that this will work with that friction and such a low flow rate you’d get out of a garden hose. It will most likely pop apart before there is sufficient force to spin those discs.

  2. garethb2 says:

    From Wikipedia:

    The Tesla turbine is a bladeless turbine design patented by Nikola Tesla in 1913. It is referred to as a bladeless turbine because it uses the boundary layer effect and not a fluid impinging upon the blades as in a conventional turbine. The Tesla turbine is also known as the boundary layer turbine, cohesion-type turbine, and Prandtl layer turbine (after Ludwig Prandtl). One of Tesla’s desires for implementation of this turbine was for geothermal power, which was described in “Our Future Motive Power”.

  3. PattiS says:

    That’s so cool – I’d noticed the case didn’t fill up with water and was wondering about what was going on. I wonder why they don’t use the boundary layer effect in hydroelectric generators?

  4. MadScott says:

    Conventional turbine powered saws are nothing new — pneumatic and hydraulic ones are commonly available, though the Tesla turbine concept is interesting. Looks like a lot of mechanical friction in the saw assembly, which depends on fluid friction (viscous adhesion) against the disks’ surfaces to work at all…is there video of it actually working?

  5. wa8wte says:

    Tesla Turbines have been around a long time, low torque,high rpm…originally designed for steam, compressed air, helium, etc…not water…steam is most efficient I think, because some of the vapor condenses to micro-droplets on the disks, adding momentum…then thrown off… you do need very good high rpm bearings, and the disk material has to be light and thin, yet strong enough to not come apart from centrifugal/centripetal forces….with fluid air or magnetic bearings, very high rpms are possible, in applications like dental drills, jewelry saws, micro grinding & milling tools, possibly very small generators for laptops, cell pones, etc…


  6. MrfixitRick says:

    Hi, I’m the inventor of the Tesla CD Turbine. I have a new improved model, the Tesla CD Turbine II, that is slimmer and stronger. I have had it to 1200 rpm on water so far, without tweaking, and 14,500 rpm on air at half-throttle. (it will likely go to 25,000 rpm without exploding) The new version CD Turbine can do 600 rpm just by blowing into it hard.
    The CD Turbine has a unique Magnetic Coupler that enables various implements to be magnetically attached. For example, there is the notorious fearsome Halloween Skilsaw Blade (AKA The Steampunk Laser PumpkinCutter Attachment). Also, a new MeatGrinder Attachment. More practical uses will be an air-powered generator or pump. Or perhaps a water-powered cellphone charger or tile-cutter. The non-electrical rotating magnetic field has uses on its own as well.
    Check out videos of this thing running on my YouTube/MrfixitRick
    There is an Instructable(dotcom) on building the basic CD Turbine that I have posted called “Build an Amazing Tesla CD Turbine” A more advanced instructable dealing with the Magnetic DiscPack and the Magnetic Coupler is coming real soon.

  7. MrfixitRick says:

    …and thanks for the supportive and interesting posts.
    I’m going to take this project to the max, and you won’t believe what the future of this device will hold!

  8. MrfixitRick says:

    Instructable on building the more advanced Tesla CD Turbine, Steampunk Edition, available from

  9. macrumpton says:

    The turbine is awesome (extra points for using both the contents and the packaging), but the sight of that saw blade held on by a few magnets is really scary. It takes no imagination at all to see that coming loose at 15000 rpm and going on a rampage.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
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