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Balloon Powered Turbine

by petropixel, published

Balloon Powered Turbine by petropixel Feb 6, 2013

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This was an idea I had when fiddling with the balloon car. I spent the day thinking about how to make it instead of going out to buy new balloons, so I haven't actually tested it with a good balloon, but sticking a straw in the inlet and blowing spins it up pretty fast and makes a cool turbo whistle sound.

UPDATE: I actually bought new balloons! 12" "helium-quality" party balloons. They spin the turbine, but they have larger necks so you have to hold the balloon in place and there is some leakage. I'm working on a version 2 with a larger inlet, as well as a larger diameter output shaft.

UPDATE 2: Version 2 is here, and you can see it work! youtu.be/8Q6svYMZowU
It only runs for about 3 seconds, I'm assuming that's because I opened the inlet up? Maybe because I don't want to pop a balloon this late at night again. Sounds cool, though.

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what i am going to use it for is a turbo drive for my traxxas revo 3.3 puttign a tub on the existing hole and puttign it on my rc's exhaust drilling hole next to the other to make it an exit for air to go into the rc's air intake to the engine

could be the basis for a helicopter toy!

I found that after a few seconds of running at 90psi the parts wore themselves together and the friction between them went away. After that a ballon can spin the turbine quite easily.

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Measure the necks on the balloons you're going to use. If they're about 10mm. print all the parts that don't have a 2 in the filename. If they're closer to 15mm, print version 2.

Run a drill bit (13/64 in or 5.18 mm) by hand through the hole in the housing, then slide the pin through the rotor, fit it into the housing and clip the pin on the other side. The clip down't seem to stay put, but I haven't has it come off and send the rotor flying either. Glue it in place if it bothers you.
If you've downloaded version 2, you might not have a drill bit big enough (it'd have to be a bit over 10mm), so clean up the hole and the pin with sandpaper instead. The clip seems to fit better.

If you want to be really cool, you *could* design some sort of machine or vehicle around this. It's already got peg sockets to snap it in, you'd just need do design a new pin that works as an output shaft.


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harrisonj11315 on Aug 16, 2013 said:

what i am going to use it for is a turbo drive for my traxxas revo 3.3 puttign a tub on the existing hole and puttign it on my rc's exhaust drilling hole next to the other to make it an exit for air to go into the rc's air intake to the engine

inventworld on Feb 27, 2013 said:

Did a high speed test with compressed air. The turbine was well ballanced. Only issue was the retaining clip could not handle the force. I think it went well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

bball61 on Jul 28, 2013 said:

could be the basis for a helicopter toy!

petropixel on Feb 27, 2013 said:

The wheel clip from the turbine car http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... can also be used as a heavier-duty turbine retaining clip. In my testing I found it added too much friction, but this could be overcome by sanding it, or maybe just adding a source of constant air pressure instead of a balloon?

Mattcad on Feb 23, 2013 said:

I love this design, just one question;
How did you print the turbine? With supports or without?

petropixel on Feb 23, 2013 said:

You should be able to print all these parts without support.
On the turbine wheel itself, the fins/blades provide enough support to print the ring around the top.

Emmet_Brown on Feb 7, 2013 said:

This brings me to the idea to design gadgets which are powered by air, e.g. using a vacuum cleaner. So you won't need any electronics or engine to let it run.

I will see if I can design a vacuum cleaner engine which can be used as universal engine.

MacGyver on Feb 7, 2013 said:

Make it into an air raid siren! I've seen one other siren on thingiverse but it wasn't very loud.

petropixel on Feb 20, 2013 said:

I've been playing around with this idea. Shrank that other siren down to the size of this turbine, printed it and... it barely sounds different than the balloon turbine alone. Tried running it with a power drill, no sound and very little air movement. Still have one more idea to try.

mcg1355 on Feb 6, 2013 said:

Very cool. Would there be heat concerns with running this as part of machine as suggested? I suppose you could modify it for bearings around the shaft if it was a problem.

What material is that? I'm loving the color!

petropixel on Feb 6, 2013 said:

Didn't really give much thought to heat because my research (googling "balloon turbine" and watching this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... ) showed the runtime would only be 10-15 seconds. I suppose it might become a problem if you had a much larger balloon or a hose from an air compressor.
The material is Makerbot blue ABS.