This Jet Engine Will See You Through

Have you ever wished you could peer inside a complex machine while it was still running? We sort of can with simulations and the CAD tools we have today, but it isn’t the same as doing IRL. [Warped Perception] made a see-thru jet engine to experience the feeling. The effect, we dare say, is better than any simulation.

[Warped Perception] has a good bit of experience with jet engines and previously mounted them to his car. The first step was balancing, and while he didn’t use an oscilloscope, he could get it within a few thousands of a gram balanced. Then, after some light CAD work, it was all machining. Brackets were fabricated, and gaskets were laser cut to hold the large thick clear cover together. There are a few exciting things to see (and hear). The engine expands and contracts significantly due to pressure and heat, but it’s interesting to see it move physically as it ramps up and down.

Additionally, the sound as it goes through the various thrust levels is quite impressive. But, of course, what’s a jet engine test with an airflow test? Surprisingly, the engine didn’t pull in as much air as he thought. Eighty pounds of thrust doesn’t mean eighty pounds of air.

This 3D-printed water-cooled jet engine isn’t quite see-through, but it is interesting to see the thorough process of making the engine itself. Video after the break.

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Adding Voluminous Joy To A DIY Turbojet With A DIY Afterburner

You don’t happen to own and operate your own turbojet engine, do you? If you do, have you ever had the urge to “kick the tires and light the fires”? Kicking tires simply requires adding tires to your engine cart, but what about lighting the fires? In the video below the break, [Tech Ingredients] explains that we will require some specialized hardware called a re-heater — also known as an afterburner.

[Tech Ingredients] does a deep dive into the engineering behind turbojets, and explains how the very thing that keeps the turbines from melting also allows an afterburner to work. Also explained is why it can also be called a re-heater, and why there are limitations on the efficiency.

Moving on to the demonstration, two different homebrewed afterburners are put to use. The second iteration does exactly what you’d think it should do, and is a mighty impressive sight. We can only imagine what his neighbors think of all the noise! The first iteration was less successful, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, and we’ll let you view the video below to see what else an afterburner can do. We’ll give you a hint: Worlds Biggest Fog Machine.

Does the thought of thrust turn your turbines? You might enjoy this motor-jet contraption that looks almost as fun as the real thing, but 3D printable!

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3D Printing A Water-Cooled Jet Engine?

Everybody knows the trick to holding a candle flame to a balloon without it bursting — that of adding a little water before the air to absorb the heat from the relatively cool flame. So [Integza], in his quest to 3D print a jet engine wondered if the same principle could applied to a 3D printed combustion chamber. First things first, the little puddle of water was replaced with a pumped flow, from an external reservoir, giving the thin plastic inner surface at least a vague chance of survival. Whilst this whole plan might seem pretty bonkers (although we admit, not so much if you’ve seen any of other videos in the channel lately) the idea has some merit. Liquid cooling the combustion jacket is used in a great many rocket engine designs, we note, the German WWII V2 rocket used this idea with great success, along with many others. After all, some materials will only soften and become structurally weak if they get hot enough in any spot, so if it is sufficiently conductive, then the excess heat can be removed from the outer surface and keep the surface temperature within sensible bounds. Since resin is a thermoset plastic, and will burn, rather than melt, this behaviour will be different, but not necessarily better for this application.

The combustion chamber itself didn’t burn

The issue we can see, is balancing the thermal conductivity of the resin wall, with the rate of cooling from the water flow, whilst making it thick enough to withstand the pressure of combustion, and any shock components. Quite a complicated task if you ask us. Is resin the right material for the job? Probably not, but it’s fun finding out anyway! In the end [Integza] managed to come up with a design, that with the help of a metal injector separator plate, survived long enough to maintain some sort of combustion, until the plate overheated and burned the resin around its support. Better luck next time!

This isn’t the first time attempting to use 3D printed resin for such an application, here’s an attempt to use the air-multiplier type setup with a combustion chamber. Of course making a combustion chamber from a toilet roll holder is far more sensible, just as [colinfurze] will attest, don’t try this at home folks!

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Electric Jet Engine Uses 3D Printed Compressor, Skips The Turbine Altogether.

Turbojet engines are an incredible piece of 20th century engineering that except for some edge cases, have mostly been replaced by Turbofans. Still, even the most basic early designs were groundbreaking in their time. Material science was applied to make them more reliable, more powerful, and lighter. But all of those incredible advances go completely out the window when you’re [Joel] of [Integza], and you prefer to build your internal combustion engines using repurposed butane canisters and 3d printed parts as you see in the video below the break.

Emoscopes, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

To understand [Integza]’s engine, a quick explanation of Turbojet engines is helpful. Just like any other internal combustion engine, air is compressed, fuel is burned, and the reaction produces work. In a turbojet, a compressor compresses air. Fuel is added in a combustor and ignited, and the expanding exhaust drives a turbine that in turn drives the compressor since both are attached to the same shaft. Exhaust whose energy isn’t spent in turning the turbine is expelled and produces thrust, which propels the engine and the vehicle it’s attached to in the opposite direction. Simple, right? Right! Until the 3d printer comes in.

Sadly for 3d printed parts, they are made of plastic. Last we checked, plastic isn’t metal, and so 3d printing a turbine to give the extremely hot exhaust something turn just isn’t going to work. But what if you just skipped the whole turbine part, and powered the compressor with an electric motor? And instead of using an axial compressor with tons of tiny blades that would likely be impossible to 3d print with enough strength, you went with a sturdy, easy to print centrifugal compressor? Of course, that’s exactly what [Integza] did, or we wouldn’t be talking about it. The results are fantastic, especially considering that the entire machine was built with 3d printing and a home made spot welder.

If you want to build a full jet turbine, we won’t say it’s easy, but you might appreciate this jet turbine whose components include a toilet paper holder as proof that once a technology is understood, it can be built in the worst ways possible and still work. Sort of.

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The Air Multiplier Fan Principle, Applied To A Jet Engine

Many readers will be familiar with the Dyson Air Multiplier, an ingenious bladeless fan design in which a compressor pushes jets of air from the inside edge of a large ring. This fast-moving air draws the surrounding air through the ring, giving the effect of a large conventional fan without any visible moving parts and in a small package. It’s left to [Integza] to take this idea and see it as the compressor for a jet engine, and though the prototype you see in the video below is fragile and prone to melting, it shows some promise.

His design copies the layout of a Dyson with the compressor underneath the ring, with a gas injector and igniter immediately above it. The burning gas-air mixture passes through the jets and draws the extra air through the ring, eventually forming a roaring jet engine flame exhaust behind it. Unfortunately the choice of 3D print for the prototype leads to very short run times before melting, but it’s possible to see it working during that brief window. Future work will involve a non-combustible construction, but his early efforts were unsatisfactory.

It’s clear that he hasn’t created the equivalent of a conventional turbojet. Since it appears that its operation happens when the flame has passed into the center of the ring, it has more in common with a ramjet that gains its required air velocity with the help of extra energy from an external compressor. Whether he’s created an interesting toy or a useful idea remains to be answered, but it’s certainly an entertaining video to watch.

Meanwhile, this isn’t the first project we’ve seen inspired by the Air Multiplier.

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Turbocharger Jet Engine Relies On Wood Pellet Ignition

Turbochargers as used on cars bear some similarities with jet engines. Fundamentally, both contain a turbine that harvests energy from hot gas, using it to spin a compressor which sucks in fresh air for combustion. Thus, turning a turbocharger into a jet engine is entirely possible, and [HRom] decided to have a crack at it. 

The build starts with a turbo that appears to have been used on a diesel engine from the Volkswagen group. The first step was to cut the integral exhaust manifold off the turbo housing. A combustion chamber is then added which takes in fresh air from the compressor housing, and delivers hot combustion products to the turbine inlet. The homebrewed jet engine burns propane as fuel, introduced into the chamber via a nozzle.

The initial test failed as combustion was occurring at the turbine exhaust rather than in the combustion chamber, likely due to the lack of a proper ignition source inside the combustion chamber. A redesign employed a bigger combustion chamber built out of a fire extinguisher, with smouldering wood pellets inserted inside to get the injected propane burning.

The redesign works, and the turbocharger jet engine releases a thunderous scream as it turns at ever-increasing speed. However, with no oiling system or any way of controlling air or fuel flow in the engine, it eventually stops in a huge puff of smoke. Regardless, the engine did run in a sustained manner even if the ignition method was rudimentary.

We’ve seen similar builds before, and the rudimentary construction means they’re typically nowhere near being flight-weight engines. They are incredibly cool, however, and a great way to learn the basic principles of how jet engines work. Video after the break.

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Showing off the jet powered tesla

Tesla Model S Gets Boost With Jet Engine Upgrade

Tesla is well known for making cars that can accelerate quickly, but there’s always room for improvement. [Warped Perception] decided that his Tesla Model S P85D needed that little bit of extra oomph (despite the 0-60 MPH or 0-97 km/h time of 3.1 seconds), so he did what any sensible person would: add three jet turbines to the back of his car.

The best part of this particular build is the engineering and fabrication that made this happen. With over 200 pieces and almost all personally fabricated, this is a whirlwind of a build. The control panel is first, and there’s a particularly clever technique of 3D printing the lettering directly onto the control panel for the flat stuff. Then for the pieces with angles that would prevent the head from moving freely, he printed onto a plastic sheet in reverse, applied glue, then stuck the letters to the plate as a sheet. A top layer of clear coat ensures the letters won’t come off later.

Using a 3D printer to apply lettering on the control panel.

He installed the control electronics in the trunk with wiring strung from the car’s front to the rear. Three Arduinos serve as controllers for the jets. Afterward, came the bracket to hold the engines and attach it to the car’s underside. Unfortunately, supplies were a little hard to come by, so he had to make do with what was on hand. As a result it didn’t come out as strong as he would have hoped, but it’s still pretty impressive.

[Warped Perception] does a few tests before taking it out on the road. Then, he shifted the car into neutral and could drive the car solely on jet power, which was one of his goals. While we don’t love the idea of testing a jet engine on public roads, it certainly would discourage tailgaters.

Next, he finds a quieter road and does some speed tests. Unfortunately, it was drizzling, and the pavement was damp, putting a damper on his 0-60 standing times. Electric-only he gets 4.38 seconds, and turning on the jets plus electric shaves that down to 3.32 seconds. Overall, an incredible build that’s sure to draw a few curious glances whenever you’re out on the town.

If you’re looking to upgrade your Tesla, perhaps instead of jet engines, you might opt for a robot to plug it in for you?

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