Simple Gas Turbine Project

Yes….I know the word Simple, and Jet Turbine are truly oxymorons and generally do not belong anywhere near each other in the same sentence, but my goal with this experiment is to see if it is at all possible to make a working jet turbine out of common everyday materials and without any over complexity… essence….so the average person can make one. I figured climbing Everest in surfing attire with a Sumo wrestler on my back was too small a challenge….so I settled for this instead. Here are some images of its inception:


Here are some images of the preliminary fitting of the turbine fan, and the basic design which is crafted from readily available materials….. so far simple cans from the grocery store, and nuts and bolts to create the central turbine shaft.

After this fitting, more research was done and a radial compressor was constructed, as well as a more refined turbine fan. The design is intended to use an alcohol based fuel, and its internals (right now a secret) were constructed in such a way as to attempt to maximize this usage. The unit once completely assembled was dry tested with an aircompressor and spooled up well prior to its first flame test, so fast in fact that it almost sounded like a pneumatic dentist drill.

The first flame test, was conducted last evening, and two flaws were discovered:

1st:  The compressor fan which normaly doesn’t see much heat and was therefore constructed of lite plywood, needs to be made of metal. The starting proceedure was as follows. Fuel was connected, inside burner was lit, small air supply was then turned on after flames exited both ends of the jet…(we didn’t expect this and were suprised at how fast and effective the fuel delivery was, this may have to be reduced….but that was a success at least!)…after turning on the air and beginning to direct it onto the compressor fan inside the jet for starting we noticed the ply compressor blade was already catching on fire. If we had already had the compressor spinning and then “lit” the engine, perhaps we would have avoided this and been able to go further, but, seeing as how things seldom go as planned with experimental designs, recreating the compressor fan in mostly metal seems a good idea for the future.

2nd After dissassembling the engine after it’s first run attempt, we noticed the connector thimble…a threaded tube that accepts both ends of the drive shaft through the middle of the motor, had simply melted into a glob. Since turbines tend to not like melted globs of metal  inside of themselves that once used to connect components spinning at ridiculous rpm’s, we will have to find a suitable, yet simple solution for this before we proceed.

More to come once solutions are found!!!


6 comments on “Simple Gas Turbine Project

  1. Leprecommunist says:

    Can you please tell me about the internals? I can’t find a good system for mine

    • Yes, I was keeping them to myself in the hopes of developing this further, but right now I haven’t the time. So if you carry it further and it works, give me some props for assisting!lol. I was telling another commentor that I need post some images of the designs internals. I guess I’ will need to do this. Anyway, I have a small ring of steel wool mounted just aft of the impellor into which the fuel intakes feed. This serves to purposes, narrows the intake channel, acts as a flame holder and allows the liquid fuel to disperse and burn more effectively. I’m aware that this may need to be replaced every so often, but if it allows this machine to function with these basic components, it woud be worth it. My only concern is with a piece of steel wool fragment dislodging and hanging in one of the rotor blades. So far however this has not been a problem in tests, and those just pass harmelessly out the rear of the engine. Hope this helps!

  2. Tim Goodpaster says:

    My first question, how old are you? Do you have any engineering background? I would love to help by answering some questions.

    • Hey Tim,

      Thanks for your interest in the jet engine. I am in my 40’s and have no formal engineering training. I’m self taught in this area. I’ve kinda shelved this for the time being as other necessities have intervened, but I suppose I should post the internals so someone might continue experimenting with the design or something similar to it. My design of course is trying to use basic every day items to build with, so it is a challenge. The key to my particular design is the internal flame holder which consists of a reing of steel wool that not only narrows the throat of the intake, but provides a flame holder that stays hot an ensures the combustion of the liquid fuel. Although I see this as an item that would likely need replacing after every few runs, this is a small price to pay for such a cheaply made and manufactured device.

      • Tim Goodpaster says:

        One flaw Steel wool will burn. Try it, You will need a new nine volt battery. Push it into the steel wool and blow on it. They do make stainless steel wool.

  3. Actually in this application the steel wool doesn’t burn away like you might think. I’ve performed two runs with this particular packing and it is still working well as a flame holder/fuel diffuser. Your idea of stainless however,may allow it to last even longer.

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