Build a functional jet engine out of empty beer cans and an old hair dryer. Minimal tools required.
I had always wanted to make a jet engine, then, one day i realised i had the parts available to do it. So, I did!
It was made out of STEEL beer cans, copper hydraulics tubing and an old hair dryer.
It produced measurable thrust which was only briefly tested on a rig that utilised model train tracks and 4 boggies.
More information is on my website at: https://letsbuildone.wordpress.com/jet-engine/
I have a video of various tests in the development process and it in action on my website and below:
I Appologise for the poor quality pictures that were taken on my old phone. Unfortunately the engine has been ravaged for parts by my brother, so i can't take new photos.
Step 1: Gather the Materials and Tools You Will Need
I had wanted to do this for a long time then one day I noticed I had the part available to make a crude Afterburning Ducted Fan (aka Motorjet or Thermofan) engine from a coke can, an old hairdryer and some copper pipe I had lying around. This is not the instructions on how to make that but rather the instructions on how to make the refined version that I completed in college before I went to university.
Mark II is currently under construction and should be completed shortly with a full write up and videos.
@ At least 4 Steel cans, specifically the taller ones and bigger ones are better.
@ Copper or steel thin tubing, hydraulics tubing from a scrap car will do.
@ Some flexible plastic fuel hosing long enough for you to be comfortably far enough from a running miniature jet engine, 1m did me, I got some from my local model shop used for nitro cars.
@ An old hair dryer or other air moving device, leaf blower could work, or a ducted fan/propeller.
@ A variable resistor or potentiometer, I used a scalectrics controller then upgraded to a dimmer switch of a Light after the scalectrics controller started smoking.
@ A length of wire as long as your rubber hosing at least, two wires needed to power electric motor for your fan.
@ Really small drill bits and a drill, 1mm or less for fuel nozzles.
@ Tape, adhesives and solder would be helpful.
@ Insulation tape
@ Sand Paper
@ Soldering Iron possibly
@ Possibly a screw driver
@ Sharp knife
@ Relevant Safety equipment, gloves, goggles, fire extinguisher and COMMON SENSE.
Step 2: Disassemle Your Hairdryer/ Blower Unit
Open your air moving device, preferably old hair dryer, cheep ones available at supermarkets in the value range. Obviously make sure it is unplugged first and you have relevant safety equipment.
Take out the electronics and examine it, you do not want the heating coils of the hair dryer, coils in series with the motor act as voltage dividers, removing them may burn out the motor.
Cut the wires to the motor and lengthen them.
Take your variable resistor and put it in series at the other end of the long cable coming from the motor, if you use the dimmer switch then it can replace the existing switch. Solder where possible and cover connections with insulation tape.Put the finished electronics in a project box or other non conductive container.
If possible use a battery rather than mains power as mains power is very dangerous and make sure you get a qualified electrician to check your work, this was easy for me as my brother is a sparky.
You should now be left with a power source connector, a box with a variable resistor in and long wires that are thick enough to handle the current leading to your what effectively now is a ducted fan.
Step 3: Start Cutting Up Your Cans
Get your STEEL cans,
make sure they are steel because aluminium will melt and disintegrate in seconds if you try to use it.
Dispose of the contents and use a can opener to cut the top off.
Use a metal file or a sander or something to sand the bottom until the indentation in the middle drops out. if you have the tools then use a core cutter to cut the bottom dent out instead, it will most likely be faster. (The aim of this step is to cut the end off like you did with the top but obviously a can opener won't work on the bottom as there is no rim).
You should now be left with a can you can see straight down the length of. You can use some pliers to make the flange on the bottom neater.
On another can cut the top and bottom off on the flat not tapered bit, then slit its length so that you are left with a flat piece of thin steel. Repeat with a second can.
Then finaly on a third can cut out the bottom of the can like you did on the first one and cut the top quater to one third off and put a slit down its length about one inch deep.
Step 4: Make Your Fuel Injection Ring
Take your copper pipe or hydraulics piping and cut a length about three times the diameter of the cans you are using. They should be the standard diameter drinks can so you will need around a half a meter.
Crimp one end of the tube then bend this end into a circle just small enough to fit inside a can. Mark the last 190mm and bend it so that it fits the internal diameter of the can in a ring.
Drill a hole in the bottom of the can you just cut the top and bottom off, right on the rim at the very bottom. Crimp the end that you are bending so no gas can come out and thread the pipe into the can, if you use copper it should be easy to bend it in and out without crimping the pipe accidentaly.
Flatten your tube which is now shaped like a "p"just on the round bit, not totally but just enough so that you can drill the previously round surface.
Mark around 8-16 places around the circle in even increments and drill the smallest holes you can in so when you blow through the tubes open end it has 8-16 jets of air perpendicular to the tube effecively out of the face of the "P"
Thread the round bit with the nozzles inside the can with the nozzles facing towards the far end of the can. Now wrap the excess piping around the outside of the can concentric with the internal counterpart, which should leave you with about 100mm of tail off away from the can.
This is where you attach your rubber hosing to so take this bit with you to make sure you get the right diameter fuel hosing, it must be a very tight fit.
Step 5: Make Sure No Flames Come Out the Back
Take the can with the top third cut off and slide this over your first can from the bottom so that your copper pipe is popping out of the slit and the two open bottoms are about 25-50mm apart and the can walls are concentric.
Get the sheet metal from the flattened can and roll it into a small diameter tube, put this tube inside the two cans and let go so that it settles to the right diameter.
Use some Duct tape to secure the tube in this diameter. cut off any exes and staple in place with a strong stapler. If the stapler isnt strong enough, make the holes first and then use pliers to bend the staples or a paper clip into the right place to secure it.
Step 6: Make Your Ducted Fan Adapter
Take the other piece sheet steel you made and roll it into a tube/gentle cone around your ducted fan unit. Secure this end in place with tape.
Take the other end of your sheet steel tube and put that into the cone coming out the back of your engine. Secure this end in place with tape. Then use a stapler as previously described to secure this end, Duct tape cannot take the temperature.
***Note, most of the pictures in this instructable were from my mark II jet engine hence the hole in the cone which shouldnt be there in this version, and the combustion chamber with no copper tube input. unfortunatly these are the only photos currently available but i will replace them asap.***
Step 7: Make a Stand for It
You have the main body of your engine constructed,
I now got two small jubilee clips and threaded them over two large jubilee clips.
I then took two pieces of about 12mm copper pipe and bent each into a "U" shape.
Threaded these two pieces through the small jubilee clips.
Put the engine's combustion chamber through the two large jubilee clips.
Drilled 4 holes into a piece of MDF.
Put the ends of the copper pipe "U"'s into the four holes drilled in the MDF.
Finally tighten the jubilee clips to secure everything in place.
Step 8: Test It
It usually takes two people to operate, one on lighting and fan speed and the other on fuel injection:
@ Turn up the fan to get some gentle wind going through.
@ Second person opens valve on a lighter gas canister to feed Gas to the engine, squeeze one of the plastic adapters in the top of the can into the end of the poly fuel hose.make sure the can is the right way up otherwise liquid butane comes out and the engine will flare and blow out.
@ First person uses long ended lighter or blowtorch, safety glasses and gloves to ignite the gas and start the engine.
@ If it goes out the fan is on too high power, if it goes the wrong way and flares out the fan there is not enough fan power.
@ Then fan power is slowly increased to a point where the flame is invisible but still there, or if it is dark you may be able to see the blue cone out the back.
@ If butane is not already on full power it is turned up and balanced with fan to retain blue cone until full power is achieved, if your feeling adventurous experiment with slowly inverting the butane to trickle liquid butane into the engine, if done right you can boost the power.
@If the engine body glows brighter than an orange or something goes wrong: the butane is shut off, the fan can be restarted for cooling purposes and man on standby with co2 fire extinguisher runs in to rescue.
@ Take a video and send it me at LetsBuildOne@Live.co.uk, id love to see other peoples attempts! the good the bad and the catastrophic.
Further Details Similar Projects And Videos Of Mine In Action Are Available On My Website at:
Thanks For Looking