Turbine Rotary Tool 60,000 rpm

by RichMac, published

Turbine Rotary Tool 60,000 rpm by RichMac Apr 19, 2013

Featured Thing!


Turbines have awesome power in a small package. This one spins up to 60,000 rpm using the airflow of a standard vacuum cleaner, sounds like a 747 taking off, produces amazing power, and sucks up its own dust!

This is an opportunity for someone to make a successful product. I have no commercial interest, and would be delighted if anybody developed it further. A good start would be to source a batch of shafts and spacers for people to experiment with.

The spinning top is an simpler project, also there is a small hand-held turbine rotor just for fun.

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where can i find the spacers and shaft?

anyone know what i can do t find it on ebay? amazon? B&Q

anyone kno where ic an get the metal shaft and thesmall add ons to it? l

Now that is just brilliant. There's another turbofan here that I tried to print and actually sent some of the compressor stages to Shapeways and they came back SUPER nice.....but this turbine, it's so beautiful, I think it's far more practical for play. Thanks for the info. I'd love to cast this and anything else I can get my hands on!

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To have some fun right now, make the hand-held rotor, use a 4mm bolt or nail, and make magic whizzing noises with your vacuum cleaner.

The Spinning Top requires a few bits, but no special machining. DO NOT PRINT the body, I purchased a 2" plastic wheel which has the strength for the high rpm. The shaft is 5mm all-thread or bolt, and the socket is a 5mm Philips head screw drilled out.

Top Video youtube.com/watch?v=6Wc73shHrsY
Turbine Tool youtube.com/watch?v=SuztgGhTRg0

The Turbine Dremel-type tool is awesome, but does require proper bearings and an accurate machined shaft. High speed requires excellent engineering. The bearings are 696, 6x15x5, from bearing shop, Ebay, or vxb.com, check the rpm rating for the type you find. The shaft could be just 6mm rod if you don't want power out, but the Dremel style tool head requires a tricky 9/32" x 40tpi thread for the nut, or may be metric for other brands.

The design is a 2-stage axial turbine, with 2 stators to twist the air, and 2 rotors to deliver the power. I considered a radial inflow design like the auto turbo, but the axial one is more compact.

The speed and power is amazing. It was only when doing the video that I realised it was doing nearly twice the speed of my Dremel, really scary! The rotor and blade design is my first attempt, it is powerful enough without any optimisation. I should change the pitch of the rotors to reduce the speed to match other rotary tools. The tool is great for cutting composites, as most of the dust is sucked up, instead of the Dremel's cooling fan which blows it everywhere including inside my goggles.

This could be an excellent production tool, laser-cut metal rotors would be good. PLA is good for this prototype, but cannot stand the elevated temperature of extended use.


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soupaboy on Feb 8, 2014 said:

where can i find the spacers and shaft?

anyone know what i can do t find it on ebay? amazon? B&Q

soupaboy on Feb 8, 2014 said:

anyone kno where ic an get the metal shaft and thesmall add ons to it? l

yzorg on Nov 21, 2013 said:

im gonna try to print these genious turbine with my B9Creator.. then make lost-form metalcasts from them later.

chris77uk on Sep 29, 2013 said:

is any chance to made an connector for an airbrush compressor.

MKD on Sep 19, 2013 said:

does it increase suction? im looking to mount one on a motorbike carburettor (forward facing intake) - kindof like a bolt-on supercharger...?

RichMac on Sep 19, 2013 said:

You would need to drive the turbine with an electric motor to increase the airflow into your motor. This could be a really neat project, but hard to calculate the size and speeds etc do it right.
Many years ago I fitted a supercharger to my car, but got the pulley ratios wrong. The power was phenomenal, but only a short time before the pistons melted.
Good luck, have fun!

cannonman on Sep 12, 2013 said:

Rich, Excellent design. Always wanted to build a gas turbine. I scaled it up for the 608 bearings and it is an animal in ABS. So far I have not been able to spin it to failure. Would it be possible to post the back housing Solidworks file? My dependencies failed on conversion. I had major (known) issues slicing it with slic3r failing to connect the blades to the body at the start of the print. Kissslicer worked but the skins were blobby. Working on Skeinforge now....

RichMac on Sep 19, 2013 said:

Sorry cant send any files now, I'm away from home for a few weeks.
Let us know if your gas turbine project goes, great idea, but heat is a problem. Need an affordable titanium printer!

SkyRider on Jul 26, 2013 said:

I thought you guys might get a kick out of this: if you scale this up to 1.5x, 608 bearings will snap in to the case *perfectly* and the smaller bearings you can salvage out of old printers will also snap in perfectly into the central stator. Now, after you are done, go cast it in Aluminum and use this as the turbine stage of a small turbojet when coupled with a centrifugal turbine found elsewhere on the 'verse. I printed mine on a Solidoodle and it came out super nice. Just remember to use Aquanet to keep everything on the heat-bed. Now if I can just find someone to cast the parts in metal and get a pair of combustion chambers done....LOL

xarlock667 on Dec 13, 2013 said:

Metal casting is extremely easy, depending on the application. For this, don't break the bank. Attach it to a rod and dip it in a thin mix of plaster of paris. ONLY DO ONE THIN COAT LIKE THIS. let this coat dry. Do 3 more coats, but pour a coat of sand over each layer while wet. This gives channels for water to escape. This is a VITAL step. After the last coat, heat the mold to 400+ and melt out the plastic. Keep the mold at 400+ for about 2-4 hours to get all the water out. cool it slowly, to prevent it from becoming brittle. Next, bury it in sand up to the hole left by the rod. Place a ceramic pot plant pot (I cant remember what they are called) over the hole. You will note a hole in the center of the ceramic pot. Almost like I planned it that way, huh? Put a thin sheet of aluminum foil over this hole and fill the rest with thermite. (Thermite is composed of finely crushed aluminum and iron oxide (rust) powder. Many recipies are readily available online.) Once the pot is filled, light it with a fuse, or something that will put distance between you and it. It will throw sparks over 8 feet, so be careful not to start fires. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES are you to spray the metal itself with a fire extinguisher. It will explode and shower you with molten metal. Not fun.
The end result will be a near perfect copy of your turbine in nearly pure cast iron. It will handle high temps, and lots of rough handling.
If you are interested in this kind of thing, check out backyardmetalcasting.com and go to the forums.

jack1197 on Jul 26, 2013 said:

imagine hooking it up to an air compressor, with a few modifications you could do crazy things, i think air compressors would provide more power...

Mknorr on Jul 14, 2013 said:

It says not to print "the body". Can someone tell my what part that is? To me, the body would be the housing, but it doesnt spin.

Tannius on Jul 14, 2013 said:

I have an old dremel that literally died on me a few years ago but I paid too much for it to just throw it away. now I know why I kept it. Parts! I'm now interested in figuring out how to build this into a CNC machine. Sucks the dust up as it's carving... so much to print, so little filament.

Cygnus1963 on Jun 24, 2013 said:

This is really cool I'm just finishing up my printer and this is going to be one of my first projects.

raultiger on Jun 14, 2013 said:

Turbine lathe anyone?

Someone who has better CAD skills than me should try (maybe using the 3 rotor version to add more torque) to convert this into a printable lathe.
The other printable lathes on thingiverse are cool, but this seems like it could be a lot more functional.
I could try to do it, but it would likely not turn out so well...

hen918 on Jul 8, 2013 said:

You do not want to run a lathe at 60000 RPM. You will probably need 100:1 ratio gearing.

apk on Jun 6, 2013 said:

could you make a more precise assembly tutorial? it'll help me a lot :)

RichMac on Jun 7, 2013 said:

The video shows the assembly ok, make sure the rotors are assembled the correct way. Let me know where you are getting stuck, I'll help.

murray6301 on Jun 6, 2013 said:

I have a simple question. What is the best rod material to use that you can still use a die to cut threads and reduce chances of rust?

RichMac on Jun 7, 2013 said:

The ideal shaft material is free machining mild steel. I turned down a old bolt, very tough with a bad finish. Aluminium is great to machine, also some brass alloys. If you have a choice, the specs normally show the machining qualities.

SlaveMassaDrivaJDCUBED on Jun 6, 2013 said:

I am working one one that is connected to an old norelco beard trimmer. 2013 Copyright ME, All rights reserved.

HaniC on May 25, 2013 said:

Anyone had any success printing this with a 0.5mm nozzle? Care to share slicer used and relevant settings?

I'm struggling to get a good slice without decreasing the set extrusion width to something much less than the nozzle diameter (which will usually result in a bad print).

Printcontrol on Jun 5, 2013 said:

I did it :) one thing is key - increase the nozzle diameter setting in the down to 0.2 - 0.3 mm... to play with extrusion width is more or less useless! take care of the first layer thicness setting - should be a bit higher than nozzle dia... otherwise Slic3r shows a missleading errormessage.

Using Slic3r 9.9 which is really crabby with filigran structures.
I'm working successful with a 5mm nozzle but a settung of 0.4 for nearly all I'm printing.

I uploaded 3 Verions of Slic3r Settings for PLA and ABS for you here http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

have fun

jwygralak67 on May 24, 2013 said:

Doesn't sucking the swarf through the turbine chew it up pretty fast?
...not that it would be hard to replace, or anything, but still...

RichMac on May 24, 2013 said:

I don't think the dust would damage the blades much. But I found the bearings are a problem
I bought non contact sealed bearings, they have a higher speed rating because there is no seal rubbing. But the vacuum sucked all the grease out, and replaced it with dust! Didn't last long!

MKD on May 15, 2013 said:

anyone know if this would actually increase suction on the vacuum?

drodgers on May 22, 2013 said:

Windmills do not work that way! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?....

Turbines don't give you free power, they drain power from the air rushing past in order to spin the rotor.

jeremycobert on May 15, 2013 said:

has anyone used one of these and tried to use it as a router on MDF ? I wonder if it would have enough power to get through the MDF and the vacuum could suck up the dust.

neobobkrause on May 15, 2013 said:

Sounds like enough people want a Dremel-compatible rig. I know I do. I'd look into sourcing a machine shop to produce a run of say 100 kits if somebody were to add a solid spec sheet for each of the parts to the dowloadable files list.

Thanks RichMac. This is what the buzz is all about.

RichMac on May 15, 2013 said:

Has anyone used E-Machineshop? They seem to have the right idea, but I gave up getting a quote as I didn't want to learn their cad package.

Printcontrol on May 13, 2013 said:

Really the most amazing Thing I found so far. Congratulations for this !

I'm just learning to get it out of my PRotos with a 0,5mm Nozzle - tricky to find a setup in Slic3r 9.9 to get a reasonable slizing quality.

Found Layerheight 0.2 and Nozzlediameter 0.25 brings pretty results with Slic3r...and on the Printer with ABS too :)

@RichMac: any chance to get the CAD Files ?

Have some Ideas to modify but do not have a tool to work on/with STL..

Thank you for posting this tool

cope413 on May 14, 2013 said:

In my experience, speed is more of a factor in print quality than layer height with prints that have/need higher detail.

A print like this with .4mm layer height printed with 20-40mm/s perimeter speeds will generally come out much cleaner and nicer than a .2mm layer height with speeds at 60-80mm/s

RichMac on May 14, 2013 said:

I printed in PLA on the Rep2, 0.4 nozzle, 0.25 layers for the housings, 0.15 for the rotors.

All my parts were very light, I only just found out I was using Fill% of 0.5 instead of 50!

I have uploaded the Solidworks parts files. 'Front Housing' (actually it is the back housing) contains the master sketches, this part is then inserted into the other parts so they access these sketches. This dependancy may fail when converted. Notice how I sketch the required size first, then offset the lines to allow for the peculiarities of the printer.

MovieGuy021083 on May 11, 2013 said:

Making one now out of ABS so far it is working well.

fernandogarzaw on May 11, 2013 said:

Is there any way to make a design of this turbine that would fit into an old dremel shaft? I think it would be amazing to be able to change that old dremel i don't use anymore into a vaccum turbine tool

RichMac on May 12, 2013 said:

Now theres a good challenge! Rechlesstryg turned down an old Dremel shaft, but still needed a lathe.
What about using the the whole body of the Dremel, including the housing and bearings? If you took out the electrical stuff, you would have room for the turbine rotors and stators, and let the air flow thru the existing cooling vents, enlarged. Just hook the vacuum hose to the back.

brianpott on May 10, 2013 said:

I work construction at hospitals. This would be great for rotozipping drywall.I just
printed one but now have to work on a shaft. Can't wait to try it out!

FlyHighRC on May 10, 2013 said:

that could eaily spin a 9x5 prop at around 15krpm..could make 30 ounces of thrust probably..worth a try? might take a while to spin up since the initial resistance would be high..would love to try and put one on one of my RC planes :D

FlyHighRC on May 10, 2013 said:

With a motor driving a centrifugal compressor which would give a strong vacuum :)

TakeItAndRun on May 10, 2013 said:

Nice work.
I would use it to spin up children tops.
Every kid has access to a vacuum cleaner.
And the mothers would propably be happy if there boys work the vaccum cleaner.

wALLe on May 10, 2013 said:

Simply genious I tell ya! You should just figure a way to sell the shaft where the dremel bits fit in, let others print the rest (I'd buy that metal part strait away). You do realise you just created a dremel at the fraction of the cost and it's even better because it sucks away any dust that could damage the lungs. Indeed we might tweak the blades to lower the rpm a little (also this would increase torque woohoo!).

With just a small additional cylinder at the base with an adjustable hole in it you could make it so that you can even adjust the speed (making hole bigger -> slow down).

Also going for standard skateboard bearings would make it more accessible...
Still the idea is super, and you show it works just as good as any dremel ;)

rp_one_labs on May 10, 2013 said:

I wonder why they haven't feature this design before..

gbleck on May 10, 2013 said:

I would think a simple adjustable vac break port would allow for adjustability on the rpm/torque curve. Dental air rotors have a high initial rpm but drop under load. Good for fine controle. For cutting through metal a direct drive brushless motor is better but for composite shaping and decay removal most use air rottor

gbleck on May 10, 2013 said:

I would think a simple adjustable vac break port would allow for adjustability on the rpm/torque curve. Dental air rotors have a high initial rpm but drop under load. Good for fine controle. For cutting through metal a direct drive brushless motor is better but for composite shaping and decay removal most use air rottor

IcanCwhatUsay on May 10, 2013 said:

As if my dremel wasn't loud enough... hahaha Thanks for the upload!

orcinus on May 9, 2013 said:

"Turbines have awesome power in a small package."

Actually, no, turbines have high RPM. And low torque.
And the power they output is pretty directly related to the power you're inputting (minus significant losses) ;)

Also, i'm pretty sure you can't patent the basis upon which the rotary tools used in dentistry have been operating for ages (granted, the direction of the air flow is different, but the operation is the same).

It's a neat idea, though, and looks to be useful for engraving and similar low-torque uses :)

Strahlex on May 9, 2013 said:

With the air flow control handle on the Dyson you could control the speed.

simonx on May 9, 2013 said:

Nice! It's got me thinking about other uses for vacuum powered turbines now, and I love it when someone's clever ideas do that.

northshore on May 9, 2013 said:

awesome product Mac.. v cool... re the issues with heat.. you could change the dia of the impeller and flatten the blades out as well.. speed leads to friction.

eried on May 9, 2013 said:


bottleworks on May 9, 2013 said:

I hope you realize that this project has the potential to become a very profitable product sold at home improvement stores. I would patent this, if you haven't already.

RichMac on May 10, 2013 said:

The best ideas should be in the public domain, makes a better world.

The only thing guaranteed about a patent is that you will keep pouring money into it. The Chinese will ignore it, and the big western companies could drag you thru the courts for years.

Open source is the go!

Strahlex on May 9, 2013 said:

You can't patent it anymore, a patent is only possible if nobody ever has talked in public about it.

PropellerScience on May 9, 2013 said:

I thought is was "first to file" now?

kqb09133 on May 9, 2013 said:

Can't patent it now, its in the public domain

SlaveMassaDrivaJDCUBED on May 9, 2013 said:

I hate to be a naysayer, although it is cool, But, that thing will have no torque. Lots of torque is required for a real tool. I suppose this will be ok if you want to take forever to grind something, or maybe a cut off bit. Maybe if you added plates, by alternating static plates and rotating plates, you would make it longer and give it more torque. I could see this for a dental drill design so it sucks up spittle and tooth parts , etc.

RichMac on May 10, 2013 said:

Actually, the torque is not too bad, and this design is the first try with no optimisation.
Cutting with the disc is interesting, it seems to have similar running torque to the Dremel, but is less likely to break the disc if it jams, as it has low stall torque and little inertia. Electric motors have about 7 x stall torque, which can cause tool damage or burning out.
The diameter, pitch and number of rotors could be adjusted to suit the torque and RPM for the tool.

samp20 on May 9, 2013 said:

This would be a great way to convert a 3D printer into a milling machine. The turbine is lighter than a Dremel which will mean less load on the stepper motors. With dust extraction too it would be ideal for things such as PCB milling.

7immy on May 9, 2013 said:

Soooo... what would happen if you spin this the other way round add a brushless motor and stick it on the back of an rc plain? Cheap jet propulsion perhaps?!

12345urbana on May 9, 2013 said:

it would not have enough propulsion force

Possert on May 9, 2013 said:

Awesome, truly awesome.

Not just because it is a cool product but the selfless way you have locked this open for every one. I hope people here understand what you have done and emulate your example. This is how the open source conquers. Thank you.

RichMac on May 10, 2013 said:

Many thanks to all of you for your positive comments.

Thingiverse is awesome!

jfrancis on May 9, 2013 said:

I think this is hands down the coolest thing I've seen on thingiverse. I'll build one and then try to work on the thermal problem. maybe making some of the parts out of machined PEEK or maybe even delrin? I'll have to talk to my buddy with an indexer on his mill, then aluminum would be workable. Maybe an aluminum part or two could dissipate just enough heat to stay away from critical points. Thank you so much for this! this needs to be the toolhead for a mill with built in dust collection!

shiver on May 9, 2013 said:

You really need to produce these it's an awesome idea don't let someone steal it from you! I'm making one in a bit if I can find the metal parts for the sanding AND suction! I always have the problem sanding plastic especially and getting dust EVERYWHERE it's annoying and unhealthy, this solves the problem easily!

AliC on Apr 30, 2013 said:

This is a fantastic idea, like all the best ones it's so simple.

I came across this on YouTube and had to come and find you, as this might be just the thing we need in our business.

svampus88 on May 8, 2013 said:

Try shapeways they will print for you.

MoonCactus on Apr 29, 2013 said:

Amazingly obvious and probably efficient unless it is not extremely well printed...
Probably one of the smartest of the DIY tools I've seen that the industry may not want to produce :)
wow :)

andrewupandabout on Apr 28, 2013 said:

Thank you and nice videos! Andrew (3dhacker.com)

Zh4x0r on Apr 27, 2013 said:

I kind of want to try to design one of these using emmett's gear bearings, just for the heck of it

daroon on Apr 26, 2013 said:

Hey RichMac, I work in construction and everyone I've showed your tool to wants one. The killer application for 3D printing may turn out to be selling the parts that can't be 3D printed. I would by at least a dozen, maybe more, of the metal shafts you used if the price is reasonable. How about a kickstarter campaign to make the first thousand of them.

RichMac on Apr 28, 2013 said:

Thanks for the enthusiasm!
I have just done this for fun, I have no commercial interest, and Australia is a long way from the action. There is a useful product here, why don't you give it a go? I looked at e-machineshop, they can make a number of parts and sell to other buyers, but I have no idea of price.

anfroholic on Apr 25, 2013 said:

I could see this used for drilling nozzles. .25 and .35mm drills need very high speed. Great work, thank you.

ril3y on Apr 23, 2013 said:

I wish there was a I LOVE button.

in_deep_thought on Apr 22, 2013 said:

I don't understand what is happening. Can someone explain it to me? What is spinning, how do you start it spinning (with that drill bit hanging out?), and how would you use something like this?

Sanjay on Apr 21, 2013 said:

Amazing work, truly one of the best things I have seen printed. My hat is of to you Sir.

Did you machine the shaft for the rotary tool version? Or was it scavenged from an existing rotary tool?

I have a CNC lathe etc, so would love to create a shaft (Or multiple shafts if others wanted them) - would it be possible to get the drawings for the shaft in a more lathe friendly format than STL?

RichMac on Apr 22, 2013 said:

Many thanks for your kind words, I hope you have fun with it!

I made the shaft, the small thread was a challenge on my Chinese lathe, your CNC lathe which will be much quicker. Once the shaft and bearings are done, the rest of the project is easier and very rewarding.

I have added the drawing for the shaft and spacers which need to be machined. Dremel collets, nuts and 3-jaw chuck are available, so its best to stay with their odd thread size. I have extended the shaft to allow for possibly adding a 3rd rotor behind the back bearing. I intend to reduce the blade pitch to reduce the speed, but may need an extra rotor for more torque.

Its amazing that the future challenge is to slow it down!

kwalus on Apr 21, 2013 said:


thajaykay on Apr 20, 2013 said:

This is awesome

ElectronicKit on Apr 19, 2013 said:

Great idea. If you could integrate the vacuum feature (somehow) into milling machines, drill motors, wood routers, etc. every manufacture would be using it. The setup I often use now is to drag out the 'shop vac' then jimmy up an awkward arrangement of placing the vacuum nozzle as close to the tool head as possible with tape or clamps.

RichMac on Apr 20, 2013 said:

Yes, i think the turbine would be great for low-power machines, there's a lot of power in a small package, and many options to change the torque/rpm specs.
Years ago I designed a CNC machine for milling foam for packaging. The drive motor, dust control and 5-tool-changer was a challenge. Now I would integrate each tool with an optimised turbine and bearings and change the whole unit.

nlancaster on Apr 19, 2013 said:

You sir have won the internet! I will be making one of these, as soon as possible!

DaleDunn on Apr 19, 2013 said:

I wonder if the design could be altered to cool the bearings (without sucking dust through them). Or perhaps some cooler-running bearings could be found. Ceramic balls with a very light oil or something.

RichMac on Apr 20, 2013 said:

Actually, I think the heat and bearing problems will go away if I reduce the blade pitch for only 30,000 rpm. This would more sensible for Dremel tools which are designed for that. But I don't know what that will do to the torque, there are so many variables, including blade pitch, rotor diameter, number of stages etc.

I am using a Ryobi 20L workshop vacuum, $60, 1250w, 150mbar suction

rp_one_labs on Apr 19, 2013 said:


recklesstryg on Apr 19, 2013 said:

How do you assemble it?

Arvin on Apr 19, 2013 said:

wow! very impressive.

Rasle500 on Apr 19, 2013 said:

Wow, that is impressive!