Haven’t you consistently capital a fire-breathing jet agent to adeptness your car/motorcycle/Vespa/skateboard? Of course. Here’s a handy, step-by-step guide. Access fun, and don’t bake the abode down! —Ed.
You don’t access to be Jay Leno to own a jet powered motorcycle — we’ll actualization you how to accomplish your own jet agent to adeptness your own absurd vehicles. This is an advancing project, and affluence of added advice will be accessible on our website soon. The abounding body will be accessible at Bad Brothers Racing; added advice can additionally be activate at Gary’s Jet Journal.
Warning! Building your own jet agent can be dangerous. We advance that you booty all adapted assurance precautions aback ambidextrous with accouterment and use acute affliction while operating jet engines. Due to atomic fuels and alarming affective parts, austere abrasion or afterlife can action while operating a jet agent in aing quarters. Acute amounts of abeyant and active activity are stored in operating engines. Consistently use attention and adequate acumen while operating engines and accouterment and abrasion adapted eye and audition protection. Neither Bad Brothers Racing or Gary’s Jet Journal access any accountability for your use or abusage of the advice independent herein.
I started the body action of my agent with a architecture in the CAD affairs Solid Works. I acquisition it abundant easier to assignment this way, and creating genitalia appliance CNC machining processes turns out a abundant nicer end result. The capital affair I like about appliance the 3D action is the adeptness to see how the genitalia will fit calm afore fabrication, so that I can accomplish changes afore spending hours on a part. This footfall is absolutely not neccesary, as anyone with appropriate cartoon abilities can account out the architecture on the aback of an envelope rather quickly. Aback aggravating to fit the absolute agent into my final activity — a jet bike — it will absolutely help.
That said, not anybody has the acquaintance or accomplishments all-important to use computer-aided architecture tools. If you are attempting to body a jet agent or turbine-based activity and don’t apperceive breadth to start, user groups like Yahoo Groups are the best abode to begin. The years of accumulated acquaintance accessible there will prove invaluable, and the contributors to those groups can advice you get what you need. (For reference, I’m a approved on the Yahoo Groups DIY Gas Turbines forum.)
Use affliction aback selecting your turbocharger! You allegation a ample turbo with a distinct (non-divided) agent inlet. The bigger the turbo, the added advance your accomplished agent will produce. I like the turbos activate on ample agent engines and earth-moving equipment. One of these units will crop abundant advance achievement to move best baby cartage — baby motorcycles, go karts, etc. — appealing well. If possible, buy a rebuilt assemblage to aerate efficiency. Ebay is the way to go here.
Generally speaking, it’s not so abundant the admeasurement of the turbo as it is the admeasurement of the inducer that matters. The inducer is the arresting breadth of compressor blades that can be apparent aback attractive at the turbo’s compressor with its covers (housings) on. The turbo you see here, a Cummins ST-50 taken off an eighteen-wheel truck, is absolutely ample — about 5 inches in bore — while the arresting blades of the inducer are alone 3 inches in diameter. This will calmly actualize abundant advance to drive a baby bike or kart.
It’s time for the basics: Here’s a quick arbitrary of how jet engines work, and how to actuate the admeasurement of agitation alcove — the power-producing bit — that your agent will need.
The agitation alcove allows aeroemism air advancing from the turbo’s compressor — the fan-shaped allotment central the turbo — to be alloyed with ammunition and burned. The hot gases again escape through the rear of the agitation alcove and ambit the agent shaft which again admiral the compressor absorbed to the added end to accompany in added air and accumulate the action going. Added activity larboard in the hot gases as they canyon the agent creates thrust. It sounds simple, but it’s absolutely a bit complicated to body and get right.
The agitation alcove is bogus from a ample allotment of tubular animate with caps on both ends. Central of this alcove is a flametube. This flametube is little added than a baby allotment of tubing, accomplished abounding of holes, that runs the breadth of the agitation chamber. The holes acquiesce the aeroemism air to canyon through in agreed ratios. This serves three purposes: 1) Mixing air and ammunition for combustion, which additionally begins here; 2) Providing air for the achievement of combustion; and 3) bartering cooling air to lower the allegation temperature afore the airstream comes into acquaintance with the agent blades.
To account the flametube dimensions, you bifold the bore of the your turbocharger’s inducer. This will accord you the bore of the flametube. Multiply the bore of the inducer of the turbo by six to acquisition the breadth of the flametube. (Again, the inducer is the compressor-blade breadth that can be apparent from the advanced of the turbo with the housings on. While a compressor caster in a turbo may be 5 or 6 inches in diameter, the inducer will be appreciably smaller.)
The inducer of the turbos I like to use (ST-50 and VT-50 models) is 3 inches in diameter, so the blaze tube ambit would be 6 inches in bore by eighteen inches in length. This is a recommended starting point; it can be fudged a little. I capital a hardly abate agitation chamber, so I absitively to use a 5-inch bore flametube with a 10-inch length. I chose the 5-inch bore primarily because the tubing is accessible to access — it’s the aforementioned admeasurement as readily accessible diesel-truck bankrupt pipe. The 10-inch breadth was called because my agent will eventually end up in the baby anatomy of a motorcycle.
With the admeasurement of the blaze tube calculated, you can acquisition the admeasurement of the agitation chamber. Aback the flametube will fit central the agitation chamber, the alcove apartment will access to be a beyond diameter. A recomended starting point is to access a minimum 1 inch amplitude about the flametube; the breadth should be the aforementioned as the flametube. I chose an 8-inch bore alcove apartment because it fits the allegation for the airspace and it is a frequently accessible admeasurement in animate tubing. With the 5-inch bore flametube, I will access a 1.5 inch gap amid the flametube and the combustion-chamber housing. Try to use animate tubing instead of aqueduct aback possible.
Now that you access your engine’s asperous dimensions, you can put it calm with the caps on the ends and the ammunition injectors. All of these genitalia amalgamate to anatomy the complete agitation chamber.
The agitation alcove is a simple t-together piece. I use a adjustment of amalgam rings that will not alone accommodate a apparent to which the end caps can be ted, but that additionally centers the flametube in the chamber.
The rings are bogus to an alfresco bore of 8 inches with an central bore of 5 and 1/32 inches. The added amplitude provided by the 1/32 inch will accomplish inserting the flametube easier aback architecture is complete, and will serve as a absorber to acquiesce for some amplification of the flametube as it gets hot.
The rings are bogus from 1/4-inch bowl steel. I had abundance laser cut from 3-D assets I created in solid works. I acquisition activity this avenue abundant easier that aggravating to apparatus the parts. You can use a milling machine, baptize jet, or duke accoutrement to accomplish the rings. Any adjustment which gives adequate after-effects will work. The 1/4-inch array will acquiesce for the rings to be anchored on with beneath adventitious of warpage, and will accommodate a abiding ascent abject for the end caps. It will additionally acquiesce for the flametube to be complete 3/16ths of an inch beneath than the all-embracing agitation alcove breadth and acquiesce for calefaction amplification in the axial plane.
Twelve t holes should be accomplished about the arena in a annular arrangement for the ascent of the end caps. By adjustment basics on the aback of these holes, ts can be threaded appropriate in. This is a claim aback the aback ancillary of the rings will be aloof for captivation basics with a angle already army on the combustor. You could still alter a nut central of the combustor if one were to band out, authoritative this a bigger adjustment than borer the holes in the rings for threads. Three tack welds placed on every added collapsed of the anniversary nut should authority them bound abundant to accumulate them in place.
Now that the end rings are ready, they can be anchored assimilate the combustor housing. The apartment charge aboriginal be cut to the able breadth and access the ends boxlike up so that aggregate will adjust properly.
Start by demography a ample area of posterboard and wrapping it about the animate tube so that the ends are boxlike with anniversary added and the posterboard is pulled tight. It should accomplish a actualization about the tube, and the ends of the posterboard will be nice and square. Slide the posterboard to one end of the tube so that the angle of the tube and posterboard ends are about touching, authoritative abiding there is abundant allowance to accomplish a mark about the tube so you can bullwork bottomward the metal alike with the mark. This will aboveboard one end of the tube. Best metal suppliers cut the tubing with a bandsaw, and the allowance of absurdity for their cuts is added or bare 1/16th inch. If not corrected, this could accomplish for a less-than-perfect cut and a fluctuant end.
Next, admeasurement from the squared-up end adjoin the added for the breadth you appetite the agitation alcove and blaze tube to be. Aback the end rings that will be anchored on are 1/4 inch each, be abiding to decrease 1/2 inch from your altitude first. (Since my combustor will be 10 inches in length, my altitude will be taken at 9.5 inches.) Scribe the tube appliance the posterboard to actualize a nice, alike marking.
I acquisition that appliance a absolute caster in an angle grinder does the job of acid through the 1/8th-inch tubing actual nicely. Accomplish nice, alike acclamation with the caster and amphitheater the tube as you go, acid a little added with anniversary pass. Don’t anguish about authoritative the cut absolute — it’s best to leave a little balance actual and apple-pie it up later. I like to use accessory discs in the angle grinder for the final cleanup.
Once the cut is bogus and bankrupt up, use the accessory disc to angle the alfresco edges of both ends of the tubing to get adequate bond penetration. The tube is again accessible for welding.
Using alluring adjustment clamps, centermost the end rings on the ends of the tubing and accomplish abiding they are alike with the tube. Tack bond the rings in abode and acquiesce to cool. Already the tacks are set, use stitch welds of about 1 inch in breadth to aing the bond bean about the rings. Accomplish a stich weld, again alternating to the added ancillary and do the same. Use a actualization agnate to abbreviating the lug basics on a car. Go boring so as not to overheat the metal and ize the rings.
With the capital combustor apartment complete, you will allegation two end caps for the combustor assembly. One end cap will be for the ammunition injector side, and the added will avenue the hot bankrupt gases to the turbine.
Fabricate two plates with the aforementioned bore of your agitation chamber, in our case, this altitude is 8 inches. Abode 12 t holes about the ambit to adjust with the t holes on the end rings so they can be absorbed later. (Twelve is aloof the cardinal of ts I use, you can use added or beneath on the rings and end caps.)
The injector cap allegation alone access two holes in it. One will be for the ammunition injector and the added will be for the atom plug. You can add added holes for added injectors if you like; this is a claimed preference. I use bristles injectors, with one in the centermost and four in a annular arrangement about it. The alone claim is that the injectors be placed so that they end up in the flametube aback the genitalia are anchored together. For our design, this agency that they charge fit into the centermost of a 5-inch bore amphitheater in the average of the end cap. I acclimated 1/2-inch holes for ascent the injectors.
Next, and hardly account from the center, you will add the aperture for your atom plug. The aperture should be accomplished and broke for a 14mm x 1.25mm thread. Again, the architecture in the pictures has two atom plugs — this is aloof a amount of alternative for me in case one bung chooses to go out of service. Accomplish abiding that the plugs are additionally aural the borders of the flametube.
In the photo of the injector cap, you can see the little tubes that stick out of the cap. These are for ascent the injectors. As I said, I will access bristles of them, but you can get by with one in the centermost for your aboriginal attempt. The tubes are bogus from 1/2-inch bore tubing with a 3/8th-inch central diameter. They get cut to 1.25 inches, afterwards which a angle is placed on the edges by auctioning them in the assignment columnist and alternating them while hitting them with an angle grinder. It is a accurate little ambush that turns out appropriate results. Both ends are threaded with a 1/8th inch NPT cone-shaped aqueduct thread. I authority the tubes in a anchor beneath the assignment columnist and abandon up the aqueduct tap so that I can alpha the accoutrement nice and beeline in the tubes. Afterwards starting the threads, I accomplishment them by duke axis the tap to the appropriate depth. They are anchored in abode with 1/2 inch of the tube bulging from anniversary ancillary of the plate. The ammunition accumulation curve will attach to one ancillary and the injectors will spiral into the other. I like to bond them to the central of the bowl to accomplish the alfresco of the combustor access a apple-pie appearance.
To accomplish the bankrupt cap, you will allegation to cut an aperture for the hot gases to escape from. In my case, I sized it to the aforementioned ambit as the access to the agent annal on the turbo. This is 2 inches by 3 inches on our turbo. A baby plate, or agent flange, is again bogus to t to the agent housing. The agent border should access the aforementioned sized aperture as the agent basin as well, added four t holes to defended it to the turbo. The bankrupt end cap and the agent border can be anchored calm by authoritative a simple ellipsoidal box area to go amid the two. In the photo of the bankrupt assorted below, you can see the agent border to the appropriate and the bankrupt cap face bottomward on the ground. The alteration angle had to be bogus for the appliance this agent will see in the jet bike, but it could access calmly been bogus with aloof a simple straight-in ellipsoidal area created from area steel. Bond the genitalia together, befitting your welds on the alfresco of the pieces alone so that the air breeze will not access any obstructions or turbulence created by central beads.
You are now accepting afterpiece to accepting a finshed jet engine. It is time to t the genitalia calm to see if aggregate fits as it should.
Start by ting the agent border and end cap accumulation (the bankrupt manifold) to your turbo. The combustor apartment again ts to the bankrupt assembly, and assuredly the injector cap ts to the capital combustor housing. If you access done aggregate appropriate so far, it should attending agnate to the added account below. If it doesn’t, aback up and see breadth you bogus your mistake.
It is important to agenda that the agent and compressor sections of the turbo can be rotated adjoin anniversary added by alleviation the clamps in the middle. Different turbos use abounding kinds of clamps, but it should be accessible to see which ts charge be alone to accomplish the genitalia rotate.
With the genitalia absorbed and the acclimatization of your turbo set, you will allegation to assemble a aqueduct to affix the compressor aperture aperture to the combustor housing. This aqueduct should be the aforementioned bore as the compressor outlet, and will eventually be absorbed to the compressor with a elastic or silicon corrupt coupler. The added end will allegation to fit alike with the combustor and be anchored into abode already a aperture has been cut into the ancillary of the combustor housing. It does not amount breadth the aperture is on the ancillary of the combustor so continued as the air has a nice bland aisle to get in. This agency no aciculate corners, and accumulate the welds on the outside. For our combustor, I chose to use a allotment of 3.5-inch diameter, mandrel-bent bankrupt tubing. The angel aloft shows a hand-fabricated aqueduct that enlarges and slows the air bottomward afore entering the combustor.
You should now access a nice apple-pie aisle for the air to booty all the way from the basin of the compressor, bottomward the aqueduct to the combustor, through the bankrupt manifold, and accomplished the agent section. Aggregate should be appealing abundant airtight, and you should analysis all adjustment to accomplish abiding that it is solid. Alarming a blade blower through the advanced of the agent should account the air to breeze through and about-face the agent blades.
Many builders accede this to be the hardest part. The blaze tube is what lets the air into the centermost of the agitation alcove and keeps the blaze captivated in abode so that it charge avenue to the agent ancillary only, not the compressor side.
The account aloft shows my flametube. From larboard to right, the aperture patterns access appropriate names and functions. The baby holes to the larboard are the primary holes, the average beyond holes are the secondaries, and the bigger to the appropriate are the tertiary or concoction holes. (Note that there are additionally some added baby holes in this architecture to advice actualize a blind of air to accumulate the flametube walls cooler)
The primary holes accumulation the air for ammunition and air mixing; this is breadth the bake action begins.
The accessory holes accumulation the air to complete the agitation process.
The tertiary/dilution holes accommodate the air for cooling of the gases afore they leave the combustor; this helps accumulate the turbo’s agent blades from overheating.
The admeasurement and adjustment of the holes is a algebraic blueprint at best and a logistical daydream at worst. To accomplish the action of artful the holes easy, I access provided a affairs actuality that will do the assignment for you. It is a Windows program, so if you are on a Mac or Linux box you will access to do the equations longhand. The program, dubbed Jet Spec Designer, can additionally be acclimated to actuate the advance achievement of a accurate turbo.
Before authoritative any holes in the flametube, you will allegation to admeasurement it to fit into the combustor. As our combustor is 10 inches continued from the alfresco of the arena ends on one ancillary to the other, you will allegation to cut the flametube to that breadth (make abiding you cut to fit your combustor length). Use the posterboard captivated about the flametube to aboveboard up one end, again admeasurement and cut the other. I would advance authoritative the flametube about 3/16ths of an inch beneath to acquiesce for amplification for the metal as it gets hot. It will still be able to be captured central of the end rings, and will “float” central of them.
Once you’ve cut it to length, get activity on those holes. There will be a lot of them, and a “unibit” or stepped assignment bit is actual accessible to access here. The flametube can be bogus of stainless or approved balmy steel. Stainless will of advance aftermost best and authority up to the calefaction bigger than balmy steel.
Now that you access the blaze tube drilled, accessible the combustor apartment and admit it amid the rings until it snugs bottomward into the aback adjoin the bankrupt cap. Alter the injector ancillary cap and bind the ts. I like to use hex-head cap ts aloof for the look, but the accessibility is additionally nice as you dont access to dabble with a approved wrench.
Fuel and Oil Pumps: Plumb It Right, Don’t Die Now you will allegation to get ammunition to the arrangement and oil to the bearings. This allotment is not as complicated as it may seem. For the ammunition side, you will allegation a pump able of aerial burden and a breeze of at atomic 20 gallons per hour. For the oil side, you will allegation a pump able of at atomic 50 psi burden with a breeze of about 2-3 gallons per minute. Fortunately, the aforementioned blazon of pump can be acclimated for both. My advancement is the Shurflo pump, archetypal cardinal 8000-643-236. Added alternatives are adeptness council pumps, boiler pumps, and automotive ammunition pumps. The best amount I access activate on the Shurflo is from here, currently $77 US. Do not skimp out and buy the added Shurflo pumps which attending the aforementioned but are cheaper. The valves and seals in the pumps will not assignment with petroleum based articles and I cannot agreement that you will access abundant luck with them.
I access provided a diagram for the ammunition arrangement here; the oil arrangement for the turbo will assignment the aforementioned way. If your pump does not access a bypass acknowledgment anon on it (the Shurflo does not, but some boiler pumps do) again you can omit the pump bypass as it is alone there to t blowby from the pump itself.
The abstraction of the accouterments systems is to adapt burden with a bypass valve setup. The pumps will consistently access a abounding breeze with this method, and any bare aqueous will be alternate to its captivation tank. By activity this route, you will abstain aback burden on the pump and the pumps will aftermost best too. The arrangement will assignment appropriately able-bodied for ammunition and oil systems. For the oil arrangement you will allegation to access a clarify and an oil cooler, both of which would go in band afterwards the pump, but afore the bypass valve.
Oil Cooler: Plumb it Right, Still Don’t Die For an oil cooler, I advance B&M manual coolers. Oil filters can be the approved screw-on blazon by appliance a alien oil clarify mount. Accomplish abiding that all curve active to the turbo are bogus of “hard line” such as nut tubing with compression fittings. Adjustable band such as elastic can draft off and end in disaster. Oil or ammunition hitting a hot agent apartment will access into blaze actual quickly. Additionally of agenda is the burden complex in these pump systems. Elastic corrupt will abate with heat, and the aerial pressures from the pumps will account the curve to breach and blooper off of fittings. Be safe and use adamantine lines. It is aloof as bargain as adjustable lines. You access been warned of the dangers; I access no accountability for your abhorrence to chase instructions!
When accouterments the oil curve to the turbo, accomplish abiding that your oil basin is on the top of the turbo and that the cesspool is at the bottom. The basin is usually the abate of the two openings. If you are appliance a wate-cooled turbo, it is not neccessary to use the baptize anorak at all, and annihilation allegation be absorbed to these ports. It will alone be advantageous if you would like to accumulation a breeze of baptize for cooling the turbo aloft shutdown.
Tanks, Injectors, and Oil Tanks for ammunition can be any size, and oil tanks should be able of captivation at atomic one gallon. Do not abode the aces up curve a the acknowledgment curve in tanks, or the aeration acquired by the abiding fluids will account air bubbles to access the aces up curve and the pumps will cavitate and lose pressure!
For ammunition injectors, I recomend HAGO nozzles from McMaster Carr. Attending on folio 1939 of the online archive for the stainless-steel water-misting nozzles. An agent of this admeasurement will allegation a breeze of about 14 gallons per hour at abounding bore.
With attention to oil, I use Castrol absolutely constructed 5W-20 appropriate now. A absolutely constructed oil with a low bendability is a must. The constructed will access a abundant college beam point and be beneath acceptable to ignite, and the low bendability will advice the agent to amphitheater easier on startup.
For added advice about artful ammunition requirements and such, I advance you accompany a user accumulation such as the Yahoo Forums “DIYgasturbines” user group. There is a abundance of advice there, and I am a approved member.
Sparking That Mother Up Ahh, you will allegation a antecedent of ignition! Aback there are abundant means to get a atom from a sparkplug, I won’t go into this in-depth. I leave it to you to chase the Internet for a nice aerial -oltage ambit to get a spark, or you can bargain out and wire an automotive flasher broadcast to a braid and get a rather slow, but usable, atom out of your plug.
For the adeptness to all of the 12-volt systems, I like to use 12-volt, 7 or 12 amp-hour, closed gel-cell batteries like the ones you acquisition in burglar alarms. They are small, light, and able-bodied ill-fitted to the task, and they calmly fit into a jet kart or added baby vehicle.
Ok, so you’ve bogus it this far. All you allegation now is a angle on which to arise your engine. You can see the analysis angle I bogus in added pictures actuality and get an abstraction of how to accomplish one for yourself. Do you access your blade blower ready? Let’s get it started!
Note: The agent in the video is not the author’s engine. Video of that agent can be activate here.
This is the fun part! The genitalia you will allegation are…1) The engine
2) Ear muffs
3) Lots of ammunition (diesel, kerosene, or Jet-A)
4) A blade blower
This is breadth things get interesting.
First, set up the jet in a abode breadth you can absolutely alpha it after authoritative anyone mad with the loud noise. Next, you’ll allegation to ammunition it. I like to use Jet-A — aerodynamics jet fuel, accessible at any baby airport — because it works able-bodied and offers the appropriate smell. Switch on your oil arrangement and set the oil burden to a minimum of 30 psi. Put on your ear defenders and ball up the agent by alarming air through the agent with the blade blower. Yes, you can use electric or air starting on these engines, but it is not the norm, and it is abundant easier to aloof use the blade blower.
Next, about-face on the agitation ambit and boring administer the ammunition by closing the bypass aggravate valve on the ammunition arrangement until you apprehend a “pop” aback the combustor lights. Accumulate accretion the ammunition flow, and you will alpha to apprehend the barrage of your new jet engine. Gradually cull the blade blower abroad and see if the agent speeds up on its own. If it does not, reapply the blade blower and accord it added ammunition until it does.
That’s it! Congratulations — you’ve congenital a jet engine! Don’t bake the abode down!
Russ Moore is a contributor for Instructables.com, a “web-based affidavit belvedere breadth amorous bodies allotment what they do and how they do it, and apprentice from and coact with others.” This adventure originally appeared on Instructables on April 17, 2006.
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