Gas turbine jetpack – test pilots wanted

Feeling brave and ready to strap on this jet pack? Well, that’s not all of it. What you see above is just the manifold with two nozzles that can be aimed for control. The gas turbine engine that is being designed for the project will attach to the large circular coupling on top. The finished suit, called a Monocopter, should weigh in at about 265 pounds. That kind of weight makes us think they should include a robotic exoskeleton to help support it during takeoff, landing, and just when standing around. This thing already looks like it belongs to a villain from the Megaman series. Here’s hoping it’s used for good and not to help produce an army of mean robots.

[Thanks Rob]

Hydropower generator

[Paul] wanted to have access to renewable energy at his cabin. It’s a relaxing place, nestled in a tall forest that shelters him from the sun and wind. This also means that solar and wind energy aren’t an option. But there is a stream running through the property so he decided to build his own version of a small water-powered generator.

He tapped into a reservoir about 200 feet upstream, split the flow into four smaller hoses, and channeled that into a five-gallon bucket. Inside the bucket you’ll find a Pelton wheel he built which turns a low-RPM generator. He manages to generate 56 VDC at 10 A with this setup, more than enough to charge a bank of batteries.

He does a great job of explaining his setup in the video after the break. If you’re looking for other ideas of how to cut down on your environmental impact check out this compost-powered water heater.

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Wifi hotspot powered by wind turbine and solar panel

Students at the Rochester Institute of technology have put together this WiFi hotspot that is powered by a wind turbine and a solar panel. It gets its signal through a parabolic antenna pointed at a near by building and repeats it for use in the vicinity. They are using a 30W solar panel, along with a 1/4 horse power 90V DC motor to charge two 6V batteries in series. On a windy day, the turbine has yielded 120W. Something interesting to note is a comment they made about blades. Though the ultimately decided to mimic a commercial design for wind turbines, they found the most efficient to be a single wood prop. Unfortunately, that prop was destroyed.

[via HackedGadgets]

BAMF2010: CMT 380X Blackbird

Okay, we lied, we totally want one of these too. The CMT 380X Blackbird is one wicked hybrid car!

Looking like it just rolled off the set of the next Batman film, the Blackbird is the brainchild of Electronic Arts Chief Creative Director [Richard Hilleman]. Starting from a kit car base — the Factory Five Racing GTM chassis — [Hilleman] created a unique 230 horsepower drive train combining a 30 kilowatt diesel turbine and 24 KWh lithium polymer battery pack.

As a purely plug-in electric car, the Blackbird has a range of 85 miles. In hybrid mode, range is extended to 500 miles. The car can accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds. Come decelerating, the car makes use of regenerative braking.

It’s strictly a one-off for the time being, but several companies have approached [Hilleman] about possibly commercializing the design. A couple more choice pics follow the break…

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Tesla turbines for fun and profit

[Rick] has been building Tesla turbines in various ways and posting his projects to youtube. For those who are unfamiliar, a tesla turbine is a fanless turbine that uses a smooth central disk spun by friction from a gas or fluid. Since the turbine itself has no protrusions, it is extremely stable. There are lots of other benefits, which can be explored on the Wikipedia page. [Rick], as you can see from the video above has found several uses for them, from Halloween props, to generators for lights, to an automated shake flashlight shaker, you can even watch him rev one up to destruction. Though most of these are at relatively low speeds, he has shown that he can make one from CD spindles that is stable enough to reach 10,000 RPM. [Rick] admits that all they really do is spin fast and make cool noises, but they do that pretty well.

Update: Moments after this was published, we found an instructable by [Rick] on how to build a blender using a tesla turbine.

Vertical axis wind turbine update

[Faroun] sent in his updated vertical wind turbine. After running his previous one for a while, he felt that the motor he was using was inadequate, it required too high of RPM to produce what he wanted. He didn’t want to gear it up, fearing that the light construction couldn’t sustain rotation.

He built a new version that has the same surface area of fins, but much higher RPM. The new one, dubbed V8 is made mainly from PVC and an Amatek DC motor. His goal was to produce 100 watts at 35km/h. He doesn’t really state whether or not he achieved it though.

British Steam Car

The land-speed record for steam-powered locomotion has been holding steady for 88 years at 127mph, but a team of British engineers and stunt drivers will attempt to break it with the Steam Car.

The Steam Car works by burning liquid petroleum fuel at 750° F, which heats 10.5 gallons of water, converting into steam. The steam passes through lagged pipes before it is injected into the 360-hp Curtis turbine at extremely high pressure and speed via compressed air hydraulics. It spins the turbine at over 13,000 rpm, powering the rear wheels, allowing the car to reach speeds higher than 150mph. The car itself is 25 feet long and uses about 1.86 miles of tubing. All of the hot pressurized steam is ejected from the exhaust, which means the car is only capable of running for about 3 minutes, and requires an 8-minute warmup.

The attempt to break the speed record will occur in late August at Bonneville.

[via Newlaunches]