The mini 3D printed jet engine. Image credit: GE Aviation.
The mini 3D printed jet engine. Image credit: GE Aviation.

GE Aviation has made a simple 3D-printed mini jet engine that can reach 33,000 rotations per minute.

The engineers have built the engine over the course of several years to test the technology’s abilities as a side project. ‘We wanted to see if we could build a little engine that runs almost entirely out of additive manufacturing (AM) parts,’ says one of the engineers. ‘This was a fun side project.’

They team put together plans for a simpler engine developed for remote control model planes and customized them for a 3D printing machine. Their final product measures around a foot long by about eight inches tall and is mounted it inside a test cell typically used to try out full-scale engines.

‘There are really a lot of benefits to building things through additive,’ says Matt Benvie, spokesman for GE Aviation. ‘You get speed because there’s less need for tooling and you go right from a model or idea to making a part. You can also get geometries that just can’t be made any other way.’

A video of the jet engine can be found here.

This story is reprinted from material from GE, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.