Tesla Turbine on steam

November 21st, 2010



Warning! Turn your sound down before watching video!

As a long-time fan of Nikola Tesla and with access to lots of steam, it was only natural eventually I’d build my own Tesla Turbine.

I machined the entire turbine from scratch (except the bearings and fittings) and getting thin discs affixed to a shaft such that it would be safe with steam and well balanced proved difficult. Eventually, I machined the discs and shaft from a solid piece of 2.5″ aluminum round stock, cutting away probably 95% of the material.

discs-small.jpg

I later used my laser tachometer and the turbine can easily spin up to 35K RPMs. Due to my non-ideal spacing between the discs, though, I’m not getting that much torque out of it. For the next version of the disc pack rather than using a lathe parting tool to cut the discs I’ll instead make a jig to hold a hacksaw blade in the cross slide and make much narrower slots.

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