Designing and crafting metal turbofan engine kits has been a remarkable journey filled with obstacles and innovative solutions. Let me share my personal experiences in a nutshell:
A decade ago, despite being an expert in car mechanics, the realm of aircraft engines felt like uncharted territory. The shift from internal combustion engines to jet propulsion was daunting. Access to technical resources and real engine diagrams was limited. It was a common hurdle for many like me, which explained the scarcity of aircraft engine kits in the market. Fortunately, a chance encounter with a professor from Beijing Aviation University led me into a world of aviation knowledge. I became his apprentice, got hands-on experience, and gradually unlocked the secrets of aircraft engines.
when I started to design and produced this engine, i find I have to consider 4 main problems below, which might help explains how hard to make a turbofan engine kits.
1. Building Complexity:
The assembly of these kits involved connecting more than a thousand screws, demanding endless patience. However, a new problem emerged during the second sample build, as a screw slipped into the internal engine, which was incredibly hard to retrieve without disassembling the entire kit. To mitigate this issue, I recommend using transparent tape to cover the holes during assembly.
built in July 2023. the 2nd version sample
2. Tolerance Matters:
Precise tolerances are essential for every component in the engine. A slight 0.01mm error in the original paint job led to a 2mm error accumulation in the final product, making manufacturing more challenging. Additionally, due to space limitations, we had to reduce the number of compressor stages in the kit from 11 to 4, deviating from a real engine's design.
3. Color Conundrum:
Replicating the exact colors proved tricky, as manual adjustments didn't match the computer's visuals. Industrial production might hold the solution.
4. Oil Pipe Problem:
Creating a metal oil pipe was a challenge, as even a small hole mismatch required numerous remakes.
In the quest to improve the kits, several updates were made:
- A faster, more robust motor was found to enhance performance.
- The color variation in the external kit sections reflects the materials used in actual aero engines.
- An 800mAh battery ensures 2.5-3 hours of runtime.
- While an experienced builder can complete the kit in about 3.5 hours, an average person may need up to 24 hours, with over ten hours of debugging.
- A switch valve simulates different engine sounds, and there's a manual switch for backup power.
- Non-slippery wheels were added to the bracket for stability.
- The U-shaped groove design was replaced with tightened screws for safety.
- Precise blade installation is crucial to avoid disassembly.
Why I 3D Print the Turbofan Engine kits at the beginning?
My pursuit of a true-to-life replica of the original turbofan engine came with unexpected challenges. The cost of creating components like the crankshaft and fan blades was much higher than anticipated. Initially, I aimed for an outer contour with a thickness of 0.5mm, but it proved to be a complex and costly endeavor.
After investing over $10,000, exceeding my budget, I realized that sustaining the project with full metal components wasn't feasible for my business. To manage costs while maintaining quality, my team and I turned to 3D printing for some of the exterior parts. This adjustment allowed us to strike a balance between authenticity and affordability.
In this journey, embracing 3D printing became the solution to creating a high-quality product without overspending.
sample in October October 2023 (final version)