A 3D-printed mini jet engine that performs at 33,000 RPM

May 13, 2015

Proof-of-concept 3D-printed mini jet engine (credit: GE Aviation)

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.

“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.

3D-printed mini jet engine parts before assembly (credit: GE Aviation)

The team also designed and developed a fuel nozzle that will be additively manufactured for inclusion in the CFM LEAP jet engine for commercial single-aisle aircraft.

The FAA recently approved the first 3D printed component for a version of the GE90 jet engine.

GEreports | The 3D Printed Jet Engine