Engine Hacks: Build A Turbojet From Junkyard Parts

Turbo chargers from cars are readily available and easily modified, so why not modify a turbo into a jet engine?

While [Mike]’s junkyard jet made the rounds on the Internet over a decade ago, the theory behind the homebrew turbojet is still sound. After pulling a turbo out of a 1983 Nissan Pulsar, [Mike] built a combustion chamber out of 2-inch pipe fittings. The propane fuel is ignited with a simple motorcycle spark plug and produces a hot and powerful blast of air twenty feet from the exhaust.

We suppose [Mike] wasn’t satisfied with such a puny engine made out of junk, so he decided to step it up a notch and improve his engine. After some development, [Mike] managed to build another jet out of a larger turbo that doesn’t require a constant spark. The newer engine produces ‘hurricane force wind’ 10 feet from the exhaust. We’re not sure how much thrust that translates into, but we’re a little surprised this engine hasn’t been mounted to a go-kart yet.

Check out the walk through and demo of the junkyard jet after the break.


14 thoughts on “Engine Hacks: Build A Turbojet From Junkyard Parts

  1. Like the end to any good date, the mantra behind any engine is, ‘suck, squeeze, bang, blow.’

    Really? On HAD…
    Well it made me chuckle, but I’d imagine there will be a bit of commotion about this line.

  2. My friend has 2 of these made out of caterpillar turbos mounted to a stand with a nice carbon control panel. He built a “swirl” style combustion chamber and bolted it to the turbo. They throttle up and down like a real jet engine and put out about 150lbs of thrust each. Pretty sick (and deafening) to watch them run! Gets the neighbors curious too though lol

  3. Well if you were to actually read this OLD article youve linked to….rather than just ogle the video…

    “The newer engine produces ‘hurricane force wind’ 10 feet from the exhaust. We’re not sure how much thrust that translates into, but we’re a little surprised this engine hasn’t been mounted to a go-kart yet.”

    Then you would not be surprised as you would have read…..

    Today I finally found the time to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I measured the thrust produced by the engine.” “The scale only read 2 to maybe 2.5 pounds. A depressingly small amount of thrust. According to a formula I saw on the DTT mailing list this equates to at the most 1.5 Horsepower. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was putting out more energy in noise than in thrust.

    2.5 pounds of thrust probably wouldn’t push a lightly loaded bicycle across smooth and level ground. Even with a proper nozzle I doubt I’ll get much more thrust on propane. The pressure in the propane tank is the limiting factor. I really need to find the time to work on the conversion to liquid fuel. “

  4. if anyone wants to build one go here-


    and here


    I built a few of these, a great way to learn how to handle a turbine without the financial risk. I was on Junkyard Wars about 8 years ago and we built a turbocharger jet. (lost to mark nye who built something totaly f’d up!) I’ll also be on a new show called Mad Scientist that airs starting sept 28 10 pm on National Geographic.

    I don’t have a lot of money or a big workshop, but I am motivated and resourceful. Follow your passion and who knows where you’ll end up. Been on Speed Channel twice too!

  5. @fallen:
    The fact of commentary about the Unquestionably Unwarranted phrasing is a given.

    The article and the truly VERY WORTHY display of Hackery could have stood on it’s own merit!

    The fact that PERCEPTION IS REALITY seems to have been missed by the phrase’s writer.

    How do we want Hackerdom entire to be Perceived?

    That’s what is placed into motion every time we’re given a choice to go for- or NOT..take that cheap shot of derogatory whatever. Most of us dare not scream innocence either- silence tends to approach approval rather quickly.

    Call my comments one more attempt at “Social Hacking” and BtW- your life is affected by such boorish in that context- commentary. Tarred with the same brush was an older semantic that still makes good sense as a cautionary meme!

    Either we declare some forums as a “back room” where crudity is unremarkable, Or we set a higher standard. Which one do we want HaD to be? For now- that’s directed to all the participants from the site owners down to well- you reading this :}

  6. I had an idea like this some time ago.

    Around that time, I also took a tour of a factory where they make jet engines. The combustion chamber is all about not having the combustion against the outer walls of the chamber – and the piece inside starts out as a simple sheet of metal.

  7. “Like the end to any good date, the mantra behind any engine is, ‘suck, squeeze, bang, blow.’”


    I’m glad HaD has a bit of moderation for the comments these days. Perhaps the same could be done for the contributors.

  8. Frankly, I thought the jet engine was a bit of a letdown. A clever concept, but it doesn’t actually do anything but burn fuel and make noise.

    On the other hand, his telescope page is pretty incredible. Cutting down glass tables and melting them into 14.5 inch mirrors for his home-built Dobsonian telescopes? Yeah, I think I just got a new life goal.

  9. I’m considering giving this a shot with a Holset HX55 turbo. They’re cheap and easy to find on eBay, and they’re more than 5x the size of what the guy in this article used. I wouldn’t doubt that with a pair of HX55’s and liquid fuel, you could make one hell of a base for a high-power RC aircraft.

  10. I am a helicopter (jet) engine mechanic. The difference between a jet engine and a regular piston engine is the constant combustion cycle. Its good that he got it to run after the fuel is initally combusted, without having to use additional spark. It shows that he finally got steady combustion air [It should only have to light off once, and flameouts rarely occur!]

    Pretty interesting, it is this guys project that makes me want to start my own, but I don’t have the facilities to create a jet engine. Someday though! I already have a turbocharger I bought just for this purpose!

    Elsewhere on the internet, a guy made a turboshaft engine by cutting up steel pipes into fourths, then welding it to a spool and then sandblasting it to a smooth surface. He has it running a generator.

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