Engineering an Electric Jet Engine

Watch This Genius Design and Build an Electric “Turbo” Jet Engine From Household Items

We’ve seen them hanging off the sides of aircraft for decades, but until now I never realized there are so many variations on the jet engine and turbine engine. They come in all shapes and sizes, and many have different ways of generating thrust.

This YouTuber actually built an amazing variation of a jet engine in his garage and strapped it (backward) to a skateboard. Watch the video to see why he put it on backward!

What Is a Turbo Jet Engine?

It begins with a plated compressor. This is the spinning fan you see on the front of a jet engine. This compressor spins and forces high-pressure air into the combustion chamber. Within this chamber, fuel goes into the mix until there’s an ideal air-to-fuel ratio. At this point, the mixture is ignited, which creates exhaust gases and thrust and propels the engine forward.

To take this a step further, a second turbine (a fancy fan) can go inside the exhaust chamber. This turbine connects to the compressor with a shaft, so as the thrust generated by the exhaust increases, the amount of air forced into the system also increases, hence the name “turbojet engine.” It works just like a turbo on your car, but it’s shaped differently and shoots huge flames out of the back!engineering an electric turbo jet engine

What Is an Electric Jet Engine?

An electric jet engine follows the same principle as the turbojet engine, except instead of spinning the second turbine to add power to the compressor, it uses electric power. There are many issues that this modification could create, mostly greatly diminished durability (think of all the electrical components in direct contact with flaming exhaust gas!), but the short-term results could be amazing.

Building an Electric Turbojet Engine

In the video, the construction is based on empty butane canisters. This enables him to get the rough metal shapes without any real fabrication; he just needs to drain and cut them up. After removing all of the paint and adding a few strategic cuts, they’re ready to braze together. Brazing is a simple method of connecting metal, similar to soldering.

The compressor, aka the fan on the inlet side of the engine, is not exposed to extreme heat, so he can design this in CAD and 3D print. He made this compressor function like an electric motor, which makes the “turbo” function all happen at the front end of the unit as opposed to gaining thrust from the exhaust gas pushing the turbine in the rear of the engine. It’s a tidy little solution.

Adding combustion is where things get tricky. A typical jet engine uses an “annular combustion chamber” to create a precise air-to-fuel ratio and flow. These have a compound shape, which could be tricky and could require a spot welder to fabricate.

Building a Spot Welder From Scratch [Do Not Attempt: Electrocution Hazard]

Attaching two brass electrodes to a pair of needle-nose pliers and running large amounts of current through them is NOT an advisable way to weld metal. Fortunately, the metal he’s welding is extremely thin, and the current is relatively low.

He adds fuel through a bent copper tube, sealing off one end and adding tiny pinholes for the gas to escape. Adding a small sparker from a gas grill provides combustion and some small flames, which can be boosted as air-fuel increases.

Putting it all together

HOLY COW, this thing works! This Electric jet engine makes a very intimidating roar for being so small. The glow coming from the combustion chamber is another level of scary. This dude should be wearing a LOT more safety equipment! His microphone was barbequed in the process. A tomato also met a grizzly fate, but the glass dish it was propped on got it even worse (jump to the 11:00 mark to see).

After destroying a mic and a tomato, the electric turbojet engine was finally put to the test. Believe it or not, this little grenade actually produces thrust! Initially, not much propulsion comes from the 300-gram engine pushing a three-kilogram skateboard (sorry, I’m not doing conversions today, folks). However, after some fine-tuning to the inlet port, fuel tank, and ignition system, this little engine really comes to life!

For more crazy builds like this, check out Integza on YouTube!

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Adam Beck

Director of Marketing at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A Marketing graduate from the Miami University, Farmer School of Business in Oxford Ohio, Adam has years of experience in marketing and design for a variety of industries.