GE Builds 3D Mini Jet Engine
If we needed more proof that you can print almost anything with a 3D-printer, then here it is. At GE, engineers do crazy things on their down time, like making an entirely 3D-printed miniature jet engine that actually works.
The backpack-sized jet engine was built by a team of technicians, machinists and engineers who work at a GE Aviation lab focused on developing additive manufacturing, a next-generation technique that can make complex 3D structures by melting metal powder layer upon layer. The engine was built over a course of several years to test the technology’s abilities and to work on a side project together, says Steve Grimm, the plant leader at the Additive Development Center outside Cincinnati.
When the team put it to work in a test cell usually reserved for full-sized engines, the GE team was able to get the mini one up to a serious, fire-spitting 33,000 RPM
“We wanted to see if we could build a little engine that runs almost entirely out of additive manufacturing parts,” Grimm said. “This was a fun side project.”
The GE team couldn’t build the complexity of a whole commercial aircraft engine into their working model. But instead, they got plans for a simpler engine developed for remote control model planes and customized them for their 3D printing machines. Their final product measures around a foot long by about eight inches tall.
Source: Digital Trends