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What is a tesla turbine, and what exactly is it used for?

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  • What is a tesla turbine, and what exactly is it used for?

    I am a recent graduate of Focus:HOPE Machinist Training Institute and a current student in their Pre-Engineering course and I want to make the Tesla Turbine featured in the september/october issue of the magazine. I want to know any other helpful tips that you might have to make my work easier and more understandable. Like I said, I'm basically entry-level and I can't understand the advance terminology used in the mag.

  • #2
    What terminology is giving you trouble?

    If you've never done any machining before, that turbine project may be a bit much to tackle as your first project. Still, the explanation of how to do it is pretty good and people have certainly built projects that by rights are way beyond their skill level, so if you want to do it, give it a try. Just be prepared for it to be really hard. When you succeed though, wow! Will you feel good!

    Tesla was an inventor who was a pioneer in electrical distribution. There's a statue of him at Niagara Falls; my memory is hazy, but I think he designed/built one of the first power plants there. I think he was also an early advocate of AC power distribution, which brought him into violent conflict with Edison, who was a DC power man. Apparently, he also invented the particular turbine design that's being serialized in the magazine.

    What would it be used for? Anything that can be driven by a steam turbine, I suppose. Given Tesla's background, I imagine he planned to drive electrical generators with it.

    Lindsay Publications has a couple of reprints of books about Tesla's work.
    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
    Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


    • #3
      I am in the electric biz and have read many things on Tesla. A true genius and a mysterious person. He concieved using alternating current, three phase power, high voltage transmission, played with radio frequency, microwaves, ball lightning, and was working on a anti-gravity aircraft( that he never built). He died poor and forgotten. But he was a brain. PBS ran an excellent program a while back. See it if you get a chance.


      • #4

        The cool thing about a Tesla turbine is that it can run on high velocity gas or steam as well as fluids. Conversely, it can also be used as a pump (commercial units were available at the turn of the century) that are more effecient than a centrifugal pump. Pictures I have seen of commercial units had many more plates than the contructed model.

        I have considered building one using 3 1/4" plated media platters from D.O.A. hard drives. This would save a little mindless labour in making the plates. (JUST A THOUGHT)

        As far as the difficulty of the project it can be scaled down for smaller equipment - experiment - nothing wagered, nothing gained.


        [This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 11-21-2001).]


        • #5
          Tiffany, try doing a web search, on Tesla, you will be amazed this man was truly an man out of time, If he were alive today, he just
          may have pulled anti-gravity off, who knows.


          • #6
            to correct another user of the bbs, Tesla wasnt just an advocate of alternating current. he invented alternating current. along with Radio, the flourecent lightbulb, Radar ,the worlds first remote control boat, and gazzilions of other things that people neglect to recognize him for, I refer to cycles per second instead of hertz out of respect to Tesla. to say he was a genius is an understatement.
            that said; onto the Tesla turbine (patent no. 1,061,206 (1909). the "powerhouse in a hat". the best advise I can give you about building one is to talk to people who have already built one. there is a Tesla Engine builders association (5464 W Port Washington Rd.,#293,Milwaukee,WI 53217) that you can join and then find other enthusiasts in your area.
            If you are going to build one, the bearings are very important.keep this in mind. anyway,I wish you good luck on this project and I would like to see you post your progress on this bbs.