Tesla Valve

This project targets students’ design abilities within a tight set of parameters. Students are tasked to design and print their own variation of Nikola Tesla’s “Valvular Conduit”, more commonly known as the “Tesla Valve”. They will have to research the classic Tesla valve design and its modern contemporaries before designing and performance testing their own refined design.
ComputingDesign and TechnologyHistoryMathematicsPhysicsScience
Years | Grades
8th Grade | 12-13 years9th Grade | 13-14 years10th Grade | 14-15 years
Lesson 1: 90 minutes Lesson 2: 90 minutes Print Time: ~10 hours

Tesla Valve Trailer
Locked Play 00:45


  • Design and measure with precision to an accuracy of 0.1 mm
  • Design and 3D print a Tesla valve to the specifications given
  • Demonstrate how to align and combine objects in 3D CAD software
  • Employ tolerances and offsets
  • Refine the design to reduce filament usage and print time
  • Test the performance of the refined Tesla valve design

Tools and equipment

  • BE3D eDee printer and computers equipped with CAD software
  • Example models
  • 1 x 10/12” balloon per group
  • 2 x cable tie per group
  • 1 x set of fasteners per group (see lesson plan for more details)
  • 1 x stopwatch per group
  • 1 x tube of silicone sealant or petroleum jelly to form an airtight seal

Skill requirements

To participate in the lesson, students should be able to:
  • Use TinkerCAD, Fusion 360 or similar CAD software at an intermediate level
  • Be comfortable using DeeControl software including adjusting print settings
  • Use the BE3D eDee 3D printer

Tesla Valve walkthrough
Locked Play 4:29

3D models overview

  • Total print time 9 hours 5 minutes
  • Total filament 27.9 m
  • Additional non-printable components
  • Printed all at once
  • 50 minutes
  • 0.7 m
  • 30 minutes
  • 0.4 m
  • 5 hours
  • 17.8 m
  • 2 hours 45 minutes
  • 9 m
Note: Values are calculated for one set of models.

Lesson resources

  • Lesson plan
  • Example models
  • Worksheet
  • Walkthrough
  • Presentation
  • 3D models
  • 3D print instructions
  • Curriculum alignment