The electric jet engine uses a 3D printed compressor, completely skips the turbine.

Turbojet engines are an incredible piece of 20th century engineering which, except for some extreme cases, have mostly been superseded by turbofans. Yet even the most basic early designs were revolutionary in their time. Materials science has been applied to make them more reliable, stronger and lighter. But all of these incredible advancements completely disappear when you are [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.

Emoscopes, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

To understand [Integza], a quick explanation of turbojets is helpful. Like any other internal combustion engine, air is compressed, fuel is burned, and the reaction produces work. In a turbojet engine, a compressor compresses the air. Fuel is added into a combustion chamber and ignited, and the expanding exhaust drives a turbine which in turn drives the compressor since both are attached to the same shaft. The exhaust whose energy is not expended to turn the turbine is expelled and produces thrust, which propels the engine and the vehicle to which it is attached in the opposite direction. Simple, right? Law! Until the arrival of the 3D printer.

Unfortunately for 3d printed parts, they are plastic. Last time we checked, plastic isn’t metal, and so 3D printing a turbine to give the extremely hot exhaust something just won’t work. But what if you skipped the whole turbine part and powered the compressor with an electric motor? And instead of using an axial compressor with tons of small blades that would probably be impossible to 3D print with enough force, you opted for a robust and easy to print centrifugal compressor? Of course, that’s exactly what [Integza] done, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about it. The results are fantastic, especially considering that the whole machine was built with 3D printing and a homemade spot welder.

If you want to build a complete jet turbine, we won’t say it’s easy, but you might enjoy 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 possible way and still works. Kind of.