Tesla Turbine

by Jamo, published

Tesla Turbine by Jamo Apr 25, 2010
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A simple printable (mostly) Tesla turbine I made for the make contest to win a makerbot. I'm sorry about the bad previews, they're exports from SolidWorks.

A few notes:
Besides the Printer you need a tap set and a drill.
The disks and the spacers should be 5 layers thick.
The alternate Box1-pilot hole part replaces the 1/2in inlet and outlet holes with a .1in pilot hole. (now that I think about it, this should help with sag yes?)

I have no idea how well it will work, if i understand 3d printing correctly, the disks may warp badly which would ruin the turbine. The plastic probably wont hold up to very high rpm ether.


  1. Print the printable parts.
  2. Press the disks and spacers onto the rod. (I\'m assuming that your print will have a bit smaller id than 1/4in making a press fit possible)
  3. Thread the bolt holes for a 1/4in bolt.
  4. Drill out the central holes in the box parts to just over 1/4in.
  5. put it all together.

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You could design around harvested HDD platters, they make very good tesla turbine "blades" because they have good air friction and stand up to 5000rpm minimum.

I'm almost certain that plastic disks would not work at all, but I'll try to print a disk when my extruder stops blowing up.

I thought about HDD platters, but there are a few problems. I found it hard to find to a sufficient number of them, the drain holes need to be machined, and I wanted to make as much of the turbine as possible printed. If it's possible to make them, then I think they should withstand a few hundred rpm before they catastrophically fail, but before then they will stretch. Cd's (the closest thing I can find in use as disks) have withstood sustained 4-5000 rpm, but I think printed disks would have much lower strength.

A Tesla turbine doesn't use friction, it uses a boundary layer effect, I don't know what that means but I know it's not friction. So there is another problem with a printed disk, the disk needs to be smooth, not rough, so the disk would have to be made to large, then sanded down to size, so maybe
HDD platters are a better plan. I'm working on v2 already, ball bearings, drain holes that could be drilled without a turntable (making HDD conversion easier) and more math to make the turbine more efficient.