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Printing the inner workings of a jet engine

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If you’ve ever wondered what the inside of a jet engine looks like, look no further.

As part of a final project for a turbomachinery class, three recent mechanical engineering graduates wanted to show the basic inner workings of an aircraft engine as a learning tool.

Under Dr. Xinfeng Gao, Chad Paulson, Yijun Wang, and David Dang created a fully-functional turbine meant to show how a real jet engine turbine might work. With the exception of the shaft and bearings, the entire system was created at I2P with 3D printing.

“The turbine, although easily replicated by anyone with a 3D printer, is a very fundamental representation of the real turbines seen on aircrafts. The turbine is meant to use compressed air to turn the main rotor blades, which are connected directly to a series of turbines and stators,” Paulson said.

Building an actual jet engine from the ground up would be costly, time consuming, difficult to execute, and large-scale, but I2P gave Gao’s students the tools they needed to create an aircraft engine replicate on a smaller scale. This 3D-printed jet engine be used as a teaching tool to learn the mechanics of radial turbines.

But don’t worry – because the 3D-printed jet engine is made of plastic, it won’t combust and can be examined safely up-close.

This 3D-printed aircraft engine replicate can be used as a teaching tool.

This 3D-printed aircraft engine replicate can be used as a teaching tool.