Casting Turbines For A World Speed Record Motorcycle

[Anders] is going to beat the land speed record for a turbine-powered motorcycle. It’s a project he’s been working on for years now, and just this week, he put the finishing touches on the latest part of the build. He successfully cast the compressor for a gas turbine engine that’s twice as powerful as the one he has now.

This compressor piece was first 3D printed, and this print was used as a positive for a sand – or more specifically petrobond – mold. The material used in the casting is aluminum, fluxed and degassed, and with a relatively simple process, [Anders] came away with a very nice looking cast that only needs a little bit of milling, lathing, and welding to complete the part.

In the interests of accuracy, and just to make sure there’s no confusion, this ‘jet’ engine is actually a gas turbine, of which there are many configurations and uses. The proper nomenclature for this engine is a ‘turboshaft’ because the power is directed to a shaft which drives something else. This is not a new build; we’ve been covering [Anders]’ build for the better part of two years now, and although [Anders] intends to break the world record at the Bonneville salt flats eventually, he won’t be beating the ultimate land speed record – that title goes to a car – and he won’t be beating the speed record for all motorcycles. Instead, [Anders] plans to break the record for experimental propulsion motorcycles, or motorcycles powered by electric motors, steam, jet engines, or in this case, ‘turboshafts’.

It should also be noted that [Anders] frequently does not wear hearing or eye protection when testing his gas turbine engine. That is an exceedingly bad idea, and something that should not be attempted by anyone.

As an additional note for safety, in the video below of [Anders] pouring aluminum into his mold, the ground looks wet. This is terrifically dangerous, and steam explosions can kill and maim even innocent bystanders. This is not something that should be attempted by anyone, but we do thank [Anders] for sharing his project with us.

24 thoughts on “Casting Turbines For A World Speed Record Motorcycle

    1. Yes, thank god. If he tried to spin something with that kind of casting quality, I’d be terrified of what would happen. Looks like he’s using a premade impeller for the other half. I wonder what kind of pressure ratio he’s running at. If it runs too hot without backside cooling he’s going to get impeller flowering that will just rub the shit out of the case.

  1. Anders is very safetyminded, but he has a laidback attitude so it might not look like it.

    I’m sure he has earplugs in all of his videos, and a lot of other precautions taken before the camera is started.

    I am following all his projects, and although using an excavator to smash old Volvo-engines to recast them as jet engines himself is probably is the most impressive, he has other plans too, involving a full size Rolls Royce Viper Jet engine in his garage for future use.

    Stay tuned!

  2. I love people like this, Record breaking nutters strapping themselves to rockets but with no helmet? I am not too sure a helmet would do much if you crashed this bike but I hate it when people like him flaunt basic safety rules. It’s not a great image too show children especially when he will appeal too so many, Enough of my safety lecture though I hope this guy does well and beats that record.

    1. DARE TO DREAM JACK, DARE TO DREAM!

      “It seems that a former Air Force sergeant had somehow got hold of a JATO (Jet Assisted Take-Off) unit. JATO units are solid fuel rockets used to give heavy military transport airplanes an extra push for take-off from short airfields.

      Dried desert lakebeds are the location of choice for breaking the world ground vehicle speed record. The sergeant took the JATO unit into the Arizona desert and found a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, accelerated to a high speed, and fired off the rocket. The facts, as best as could be determined, are as follows:

      The operator was driving a 1967 Chevy Impala. He ignited the JATO unit approximately 3.9 miles from the crash site. This was established by the location of a prominently scorched and melted strip of asphalt. The vehicle quickly reached a speed of between 250 and 300 mph and continued at that speed, under full power, for an additional 20-25 seconds. The soon-to-be pilot experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks under full afterburners.

      The Chevy remained on the straight highway for approximately 2.6 miles (15-20 seconds) before the driver applied the brakes, completely melting them, blowing the tires, and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface. The vehicle then became airborne for an additional 1.3 miles, impacted the cliff face at a height of 125 feet, and left a blackened crater 3 feet deep in the rock.”

      http://www.snopes.com/autos/dream/jato.asp

        1. Do I even need to extrapolate? I even posted the link to the answer… In theory you were supposed to read the quoted text and then follow the link to find out it was false.

          “Son, I am disappoint.”

  3. I want to reward Brian’s good behavior by posting a reply to a relatively non-controversial post. (Insert safety concerns here)
    I love the use of the 3d printer to use as a master but wonder why he didn’t go with the lost PLA casting technique. Also he mentioned using Nitrogen to de-gas the metal before poring and using a flux to help pour. Which flux and what was the setup to de-gas? I though that had to be done under vacuum.

  4. How loud is it? And how quiet can you get it? Since it is a turbine can I make a safe assumption that there is little to no vibrations? How is the kilometers per liter or miles per gallon on it?

    I’m really keen on the Zero’s and Lightnings for the simple fact they are epic fast, quiet and smooth but yeah the range isn’t great.

      1. “”lathing? seriously?”, seriously?”, seriously?
        Exept I don’t agree with the sentiment of the first statement, so…
        “””lathing? seriously”, seriously?”, seriously?”, seriously?
        Hang on, there should be some capital letters in there…
        “”””lathing? seriously?”, seriously?”, seriously?”, seriously?” seriously? It should be “””””Lathing? Seriously?, seriously?”, seriously?”, seriously?” seriously?”. I mean, seriously…

        Seriously, though, Cool project, although It would be worth taking a bit more care RE safety, as it’d be really depressing if he couldn’t have a bash at the record on his bike because he injured himself making it.

  5. A home-cast impeller sounds to me less likely to withstand rotational and vibrational stresses than one hogged out of a solid block, however I suppose it could be toughened by shot peening and tempering (yes you can heat-treat alumin[i]um).
    I recall in the seminal book by Kamps on how to scratchbuild a model jet engine his 80k+ rpm compressor was made of high grade plywood with carbon fibre wrapped and glued around the perimeter to improve strength.

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