Tesla Turbine / Bladeless Disk Turbine

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Building a Tesla Turbine from hard drive platters

Please note that I am not a Physicist or a machinist (yet). I have been interested in Nikola Tesla for some time, and I was looking for a project to gain some experience in the machine shop. My job is to provide Lecture Demonstrations, so my goal was to produce a teaching tool rather than an efficient engine. For background material, Wikipedia has several good review articles about Nikola Tesla, the Tesla Turbine, the Boundary Layer Effect, and Reynolds Number.

At first I tried using CDs because of their large surface areas, but they didn't hold up too well under the milling machine. I also had a stack of platters from old and defective hard drives, but I didn't know if the smaller diameter disks would work as well. One problem I ran into is that some newer hard drives use ceramic disks instead of metal. They're still coated with metal, but they're thinner and a couple platters shattered when I tried to machine them:

My original plan for the center hole pattern had small holes (for threaded rods and washers for spacers), as well as large holes (for air vents).

Spacers I decided to be lazy and use the spacers that were between the platters in the original hard drive assemblies rather than machine my own. I turned a shaft from round stock. The rest of the platters look much better though (see the complete rotor assembly below).Tesla Turbine / Bladeless Disk Turbine Page 2 of 7 The second set of platters had radial arcs cut in them such that the inside edge of the radial cutout is close to the outside diameter of the spacers that I removed from the hard drive assemblies. This increased distance (roughly . The inside diameter of both the platters and spacers is .77" long which fits inside the 2" thick acrylic chamber. The wide part is 1.05" instead of . .98" until I knew the width of the chamber and the inside diameter of the bearings.012") may lead to turblent flow rather than laminar flow but will be close enough for this project.98" which is the diameter of the thick section in the middle. Shaft With the turbine platters and spacers complete. I left the whole length at . The hard drive platters were stacked and clamped to a rotary table between two sheets of scrap aluminium but the top disk (above picture) still took some extra damage.

75" x 2". drilled. The square block was mounted in a 4-jaw lathe chuck. Chamber The main chamber is an acrylic block machined down to 4. I made each collar . Bearings The bearings and brass fittings were the only new parts in this project (everything else was reused from scrap materials). Also. The final cutout is about . they can't be too wide or they will take up too much horizontal space inside the chamber. Rotor Assembly There are eleven platters and ten spacers held together by the two collars.75" x 4. The inside diameter has to fit on the shaft.Tesla Turbine / Bladeless Disk Turbine Page 3 of 7 Collars The collars are essentially wider versions of the platter spacers. These metric bearings were pulled from a box of old and used bearings and I had to machine the shaft and side panels to fit them. but they can't be too tall so they block the ventilation holes in the disks. There should be a fair amount of pressure between the two collars or the disks will rotate about the shaft instead of with it. The hard drive platters are hard to keep clean so I wore gloves when assembling the rotor.3" which is enough space for a #10-32 set screw to hold them (and everything else) in place. and then bored out.07" .

6" with a . I was going to cut the same radial pattern from the disks in the side panels.Tesla Turbine / Bladeless Disk Turbine Page 4 of 7 larger than the disks. Assembly .280" deep counterbore for the bearing. but I decided that wasn't necessary after a trial run with just the .47" thick acrylic and have untaped . However. The center hole is .25" holes for alignment to the main chamber. Many other Tesla Turbines that I've seen online have larger ventilation holes in the sides. I made the counterbore a few thousandths too big which allows the bearing to rotate in the side panel. The air inlet is taped for a 1/4" pipe thread and all of the other holes are taped for 1/4-20 socket head cap screws. The bearings are metric so I used the 4-jaw chuck and boring bar again to try for a press fit into the side panel. Side Panels The side panels are .6" hole.

and a 1/4 tube.Tesla Turbine / Bladeless Disk Turbine Page 5 of 7 The two brass fixtures are a 5/16 .45 tube union (picture 5). Complete Turbine . 1/4 pipe hose barb (picture 6).

Tesla Turbine / Bladeless Disk Turbine Page 6 of 7 CAD File The original AutoCAD .Nov.AVI file: .2005.2006): Video Click on the picture for a 22 MB DivX . Above sections last updated 11.May.dwg file is available here. Updates (27.

Please send any questions or comments to me at sbtroy@phys.May. Go back to my home page.washington.2008.com. View Alan Parekh's article at Hacked Gadgets.com.Tesla Turbine / Bladeless Disk Turbine Page 7 of 7 Links View my turbine write-up at Instructables.2006 and last updated on 15. Go to the Lecture Demonstration webpage. and Ron Musgrave and Mike Vinton in the Physics Department Instrument Shop (for all their patience and expertise). Acknowledgements I couldn't have done this without help and I would like to thank: Peter Federighi (for giving me the original idea).edu. .November. This page was first uploaded on 25. my boss John Davis (for going on vacation and leaving me to my own amusement).

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