GE engineers have made a simple proof-of-concept 3D-printed mini jet engine that operates at 33,000 rotations per minute. The backpack-sized jet engine was built over the course of several years to test the technology’s abilities and to work on a side project together.
A 3D-printed mini jet engine that performs at 33,000 RPM
Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
“We wanted to see if we could build a little engine that runs almost entirely out of additive manufacturing parts,” says one of the engineers.
The GE team couldn’t build the complexity of a whole commercial aircraft engine into their working model. 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.
The team also designed and developed a fuel nozzle that will be additively manufactured for inclusion in the CFM LEAPjet engine for commercial single-aisle aircraft. The FAA recently approved the first 3D printed component for a version of the GE90 jet engine.