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jnissen
04-07-2011, 01:51 PM
This is my sons science fair project. He built a jet turbine engine using an automotive turbocharger. When he started his welding skills were less than optimal but by the time he wrapped it up (and had to build some items twice or more!) his welds looked fairly good. I financed and helped obtain the parts for him and he had to plan and build it as well as compete in the fair. He just wrapped up the state fair and did well. Anyway here is some of his play time where he is injecting aviation smoke oil into the jet exhaust to make a bit of smoke.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOeQMVDiSMY

BTW - The chugging noise is more a function of the video camera used and the compression of the video.

He tells me he wants to build an afterburner but I'm more in favor of selling the thing to get some money back! He learned a lot in the process and it improved his chances for getting into some schools so all in all a good thing.

macona
04-07-2011, 02:07 PM
Seriously, why would anyone want to buy it? If I am going to buy one I'll get an old APU turbine that is actually has useful output.

garagemark
04-07-2011, 02:36 PM
That's all you have to say? Brilliant.

I think it looks like a great project. Well done.

Ken_Shea
04-07-2011, 03:51 PM
Good job, that very cool!
Smoke worked well too :D

plastikosmd
04-07-2011, 04:11 PM
Great project

Bmyers
04-07-2011, 04:21 PM
i would love to see a build series. go for the afterburner !

gary350
04-07-2011, 04:22 PM
It sure does look nice. I bet he had fun building that. How much thrust does it produce? Is it running on gasoline?

When I was that age I would set in school and day dream about working on my project when I get home. Thats why I barely passed in all the classes I did not like, english, history, government, social studies, etc. and made good grades in Science, Physics, Math, Chemistry.

I have thought about building one of those turbines myself for a long time but I don't have any good plans or information about them.

Keep experementing, stay creative, have FUN, be safe.

lazlo
04-07-2011, 04:27 PM
You should be very proud -- fantastic! And the fact that you say his welds improved a lot means he actually built it, and not Dad :)

Love the grin in the first couple of seconds.

Michael Edwards
04-07-2011, 04:35 PM
Anyway here is some of his play time where he is injecting aviation smoke oil into the jet exhaust to make a bit of smoke.



I would keep it around for mosquito abatement. :D I think it looks great.


ME

gwilson
04-07-2011, 05:18 PM
That very small jet plane in one of the James Bond films has only a 250# thrust engine. You know,the one he flew through the hanger.

Tel
04-07-2011, 05:54 PM
Very impressive indeed!

tmc_31
04-07-2011, 05:56 PM
Awesome engine, you should be very proud!!

Reminds me of the trucks that used to roll thru the base housing area on Okinawa in the late 50's and early 60's. I was kid of 6. The trucks must have had those little jets on the back to spread the mosquito spray. They smoked and sounded just like that:D

Tim

RB211
04-07-2011, 06:07 PM
So what can you do with it? Good job on getting it to work, and the control panel looks good too!
Make Version 2, with axial combustion chamber so you can actually put it in a model jet.

boslab
04-07-2011, 06:52 PM
I know what these projects are like, I think i end up doing all the work and the kids get the glory!, trouble is when they really have to deliver it bites them on the arse as it were, it looks like it was an interesting project to say the least, my uncle, now deceased but moved to Canada was a fitter/grinder/toolmaker/teaboy for Frank Whittle, as a young man he got serious dermatitis from the less than savory cooling oil in the machine shop they had, it covered him from knee to chest including the family jewels!, apparently they used cod liver oil, i dont know if thats true or not.
Seeing as youve built it why not stick the ubiquitous afterburner on it, it'll be fun if nothing else.
Nickel alloys weld reasonably well, good tig practice [weld pool was a bit like porridge last time i had a go so it dosent run away with you like copper!]
Go for it, you only live once [more than once if your VERY lucky in my case]
regards
mark

garagemark
04-07-2011, 07:13 PM
My two cents is same as some of the others. It is simply a great device with much potential educational value, for both you and anyone else involved with it. It doesn't really HAVE to do anything but run and make kick arse noise! But I might go for the afterburner and continued refinements, modifications, or enhancements. Put wheels and radio controlled steering on it- get it to move (put a brake on it first;) ). inject it for smoke and turn it into a bug killer. Make it a backyard centerpiece for the neighborhood barbecue. I know my friends would have a ball watching the thing wind up and belch fire and smoke.

These are just off the top of my head. Some are probably not feasible, but I think a project like this can be bigger than just money or making it "do" something. The time spent with your son and/or friends is priceless.

Mark

macona
04-07-2011, 07:29 PM
So what can you do with it? Good job on getting it to work, and the control panel looks good too!
Make Version 2, with axial combustion chamber so you can actually put it in a model jet.

Not much other than make noise. There is a guy who took a very large one and attached it to a go-cart. But I think the turbo charger on that was a pretty large turbo from a semi-truck.

I have been wanting to build one of the KJ-66 or other small ones like that. You can get the turbine wheels for pretty reasonable prices now days, all x-rayed and certified which you need if you want to fly it in a model at most locations.

Carld
04-07-2011, 07:48 PM
Well, it's an interesting project for a science fair but it doesn't look very practical. The jet turbines they use in model aircraft are much more compact and actually look like a jet engine.

As to selling it, to who and for what use?

Where do you take the output power off at?

Does it use thrust or do you run the spinning impeller through a gear box?

I'm sure it will draw attention at a science fair and it's a good start on his way to bigger and better things.

Toolguy
04-07-2011, 08:07 PM
The time spent together, the skill sets learned or started on, and the pride of craftsmanship are worth far more than what it cost for materials.

Evan
04-07-2011, 08:10 PM
I can't get through to see the video so I can't comment on the engine. The problem that I do see is one that has turned so called science fairs into nothing more than demonstration exhibitions.

A science fair project is supposed to be some sort of scientific inquiry. A question is posed and the scientific method is used to try to answer it. The value isn't in the final product as there doesn't need to be one. It isn't about building something. It's all about doing science in the most accurate and well controlled manner possible. Equipment that is displayed should be the equipment that was used to answer the original question. Often, no special equipment is required and the final product is a report detailing the enquiry, step by step.

Sportandmiah
04-07-2011, 10:41 PM
Seriously, why would anyone want to buy it? If I am going to buy one I'll get an old APU turbine that is actually has useful output.

OK Dwight Schrute.

lazlo
04-07-2011, 10:46 PM
The problem that I do see is one that has turned so called science fairs into nothing more than demonstration exhibitions.

My daughter is still in second grade, but I accompanied her a couple of weeks ago to her middle school science fair, and although they were pretty good about testing and presenting a scientific hypothesis, there was a glaring divide between the projects done by the kids, and the projects done by the parents.

I'm talking professionally made circuit boards, high-end lab components, professionally printed, Fortune 500-grade vacuum mounted charts and graphs. This is in middle school, remember.

What's interesting is that, almost to the number, none of the parent-built projects won a ribbon. It was never spoken about, but clearly the panel ranked the projects according to the level of student participation.

sansbury
04-07-2011, 11:18 PM
What's interesting is that, almost to the number, none of the parent-built projects won a ribbon. It was never spoken about, but clearly the panel ranked the projects according to the level of student participation.

That makes me very happy, as does the OP. Pace Evan, I'm tentatively OK with a science fair project being a little more engineering and a little less science, so long as it requires them to solve real problems in a methodical way.

A lot of people talk about young people today as uninterested in mechanics, machinery, making real things, etc., but I think there's a lot going on we don't see. Kids today have instant access to information I didn't even dream of. Maybe some are turning into drooling video-game blobs but I think at least as many others will astound us with creative discoveries.

Evan
04-08-2011, 12:34 AM
There are plenty of engineering competitions available to students in the US. A homebuilt jet engine would knock them dead, especially if you could use the exhaust to power a turbine generator.

Science fairs are intended to demonstrate the scientific method in action and show the student's understanding of how it is done. There have been some very notable accomplishments by high school science students in the past. It all hinges on science being taught by someone who cares about science and knows the subject well.

An impressive example is a research paper by a high school senior that proposes a new method of detecting Lyme disease in minutes instead of a month. I recall when this hit the science news last year and it was PhD grade work.

http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/cms/story.php?id=1021

jnissen
04-08-2011, 09:12 AM
Thanks all for the nice comments. My son had a good time learning the details of the engine and yes this was a real science experiment. He built three different flame tubes that slip into the combustion chamber. His idea was to see the performance difference between a "no bypass" area at the end of the combustion chamber vs a partial and full bypass area.

He did the analysis of the area of the flame tube holes plus the bypass area. Think of a flame tube as a nozzle for fuel at one end and then a shrouded pipe with many holes drilled into the sides. The end is open. The compressed air comes in from the sides and has to enter into the flame tube through the many holes and if available the bypass area at the end prior to going into the turbine housing. It was a bit of math but not all that difficult for him.

He compared the three flame tubes and measured RPM (yes he built the LCD tachometer as well using an Arduino single board computer), combustion pressure, oil pressure, fuel pressure, turbine outlet temperature, and thrust. To measure thrust he mounted the whole assembly on some 3" pipes and built a track type setup for it to roll on (a piece of plywood and two pieces of angle steel for tracks). It was not optimized for high thrust as he found out the more restrictive his jet pipe (the outlet) the higher the temperature. To keep things alive I suggested he not try to make it high performance machine to start out with. A a result it only produces about 18 lbs of thrust peak.

He learned a lot and I enjoyed working with him and teaching him what tools work best in certain situations and what tools will not work. He built the entire project by himself and yes I supervised and offered suggestions and advice when he asked. This was not his first science fair attempt. His science fair projects have become more and more complex each year. He has competed at regional, state and international events so the kid can hold his own and knows what he is talking about. He would never be able to do what he has if someone did the work for him and he just showed up and presented this. Believe me I am a judge at the local level and you can spot the projects like that easily as the kids have no clue what the details are beyond the facade. As an "old school" type of learner I always learned the most when I could open the book and learn about something but actually doing it would enhance that learning 100X.

Thanks all.

Fireman11
04-08-2011, 12:28 PM
This guy has some nice ideas of stuff to do with these sorts of turbines. What a riot, I have to make one of these one day.
http://www.rcdon.com/html/experimental_projects.html
To the OP: your son will most likely remember this project with you the rest of his life, good job Dad.

rotate
04-08-2011, 01:19 PM
A science fair project is supposed to be some sort of scientific inquiry. A question is posed and the scientific method is used to try to answer it. The value isn't in the final product as there doesn't need to be one. It isn't about building something. It's all about doing science in the most accurate and well controlled manner possible. Equipment that is displayed should be the equipment that was used to answer the original question. Often, no special equipment is required and the final product is a report detailing the enquiry, step by step.

I agree with you 100% about this, however my experience with science fairs has been that many of the judges are often influenced by the gee whiz factor of the project, rather than the scientific method part of the project.

I also think that science fairs have too much bias towards science that has social or environmental benefits.

jnissen
04-08-2011, 01:22 PM
Yes the RCDON site was an inspiration for my son. He used Don's schematic as the basis for the control system on this build but then added automatic shutdown if the temperature got to high as well as the ability to shutdown the engine if the RPM exceeds 120K RPM. I think his maximum turbo RPM is in the 140K range but again I suggested he not venture into that area for fear he could kill himself or anyone near the operating machine! Needless to say I was keen to verify all his safety interlocks and control circuits. Playing with fire, explosive gasses (used propane), high RPM rotating machinery, as well as numerous other potential hazards was not easy. In fact his first tests didn't go well at all. He used a cheap ebay turbo that was made in china. He managed to get it to last about five minutes. That was $100 down the drain. A real turbo was significantly more but a rebuilt unit made that pain a bit easier. His second go round reduced the back-pressure in the system and that brought the temperature down to the mid 900F to low 1000's. His high limit is set at 1200.

As for how useful is this machine... It really isn't all that practical. If he added a turboshaft output to the thing I guess he could make a really neat basis for a go cart. He learned a lot and that was the purpose (as well as hopefully improve his chances to get into some good schools). He can now mig weld significantly better than when he started. Lastly he can claim he built a jet engine while in high school and he didn't kill himself in the process.

beanbag
04-08-2011, 01:26 PM
I can't get through to see the video so I can't comment on the engine. The problem that I do see is one that has turned so called science fairs into nothing more than demonstration exhibitions.

A science fair project is supposed to be some sort of scientific inquiry. A question is posed and the scientific method is used to try to answer it. The value isn't in the final product as there doesn't need to be one. It isn't about building something. It's all about doing science in the most accurate and well controlled manner possible. Equipment that is displayed should be the equipment that was used to answer the original question. Often, no special equipment is required and the final product is a report detailing the enquiry, step by step.

Many many years ago (elementary school), I did a science fair project on the cooling of hot water in different containers and configurations. This was because my grandpa had a jacuzzi and I was wondering how long it would stay hot after he turned the power off, or something like that. I remember measuring a non-linear decaying function and an unexpected result here and there, where something I thought was an insulator turned out to be a conductor.

Mainly, I remember that my project was very boring to others and that nobody cared about it. Sometimes science is boring like that, huh. Other flashy non-science "demonstrations" got a lot more attention. I don't remember if I was cogniscent enough to resent it.

lazlo
04-08-2011, 03:42 PM
my experience with science fairs has been that many of the judges are often influenced by the gee whiz factor of the project, rather than the scientific method part of the project.

Depends on your local demographics. In West Austin schools, most are children of engineers. When the parents show up for science fairs, it's Who's Who at IBM, Intel, AMD, Nvidia, ...

We have killer FIRST robotics teams here :)

.RC.
04-08-2011, 05:47 PM
Are science fairs common in the US, or less common then they used to be..

I don't think I have ever heard of a science fair in AU...Which isn't surprising..

macona
04-08-2011, 07:44 PM
Depends on your local demographics. In West Austin schools, most are children of engineers. When the parents show up for science fairs, it's Who's Who at IBM, Intel, AMD, Nvidia, ...

We have killer FIRST robotics teams here :)

Gee, here too...

Evan
04-08-2011, 08:29 PM
My first science fair project was in eight grade. It was titled "The Geotropic Effect in Plants". This was a tie in to the then very new questions about how zero gee might affect plant growth. I did everything myself. The primary investigation was to find out if plants were able to be fooled by artificial gravity in the form of centrifugal acceleration. I grew bean plants in test tubes that were installed on a low speed centrifuge powered by a 33.33 rpm record player motor. I calculated the arm length to produce a swing angle of 45 degrees. Controls were grown in test tubes at the same angle.

A secondary question was to find out if the plants were more influenced by the source of light than by gravity. Both questions could be answered by the same apparatus by performing the experiment twice. The first time I used several lights placed around the centrifuge so that the lighting was non-specific and the centrifugal force would be the dominant factor.

It turned out that the plants grew out of the test tubes and stayed aligned with the apparent gravity field while the controls made an immediate turn toward the vertical as soon as they cleared the edge of the tubes.

Placing a light at the centre of the centrifuge also made no difference to the growth behaviour. Apparently geotropism is stronger than the phototropism, at least in green beans. One question I couldn't answer was if the apparent increase in G force changed the phototropic behaviour.

I won first place locally but at the state level in San Francisco the fix was in. The son of a prominent citizen in the city was awarded first place for a demonstration of variations in the strength of concrete depending on the mix of cement, sand and water. It was a project done using a complete kit with instructions supplied by Lafarge.

lazlo
04-11-2011, 04:04 PM
Gee, here too...

Usual suspects. Although Portland is almost entirely Intel. I was one of them for 10 years ;)

Intel, of course, now sponsors the old Westinghouse international science fair. World series for geeks :)

http://www.intel.com/education/isef/

macona
04-11-2011, 05:30 PM
Usual suspects. Although Portland is almost entirely Intel. I was one of them for 10 years ;)=



Intel is a good chunk, but there is also Maxim, Lattice, Tektronix, Triquint, Solar World, Epson, Sumitomo, etc.

lane
04-11-2011, 08:27 PM
Put some wheels on it and ride it .Would be a blast I think.

Peter.
04-12-2011, 05:47 AM
That is a great project!

If he's developing it further - instead of an afterburner how about a secondary turbine driving a gearbox to take power from?