When I first started designing this jet engine project my main goal was to create it using only easily-obtained scrap and raw material parts. I would have to develop a manufacturing process that involved no advanced metalworking to speak of. Handcrafting each part using only basic tools would be laborious. Testing and rotor balancing would also require that I build all the test rigging myself. Any other pieces like oil and fuel pumps would be scavenged from scrap yards or hardware stores. After that, the finished engine would have to work just well enough to handle self-sustaining idle speeds to be considered a success.
At present there is no denying the feasibility of creating your own jet engine from scratch. Soup can jet engines all the way up to full turbo-prop engines can be made from little more than basic scrap metal and cheaply available carbon fiber polymer resin. Usually people have the help of modern lathes and rented CNC machines, but less precise hobbyist projects are all over YouTube. Some of them are very impressive.
Back to my initial goal though: why would I want to use stone-age building tools to build a jet engine? Well, for one, it was attractive from an artistic standpoint. Generally rotors found in turbines have to be precise to a very fine level. This is generally beyond what a person can do by hand and is left to special balancing jigs. Necessity being the mother of invention, I was curious to see if I could develop a technique to balance the rotors and trim off blade metal to make a perfectly balanced rotor without using commercial equipment. Precision hand-craftsmanship was one of the reasons why I had chosen this requirement.
The other reason was slightly more abstract. I wanted to create something from essentially nothing. To explain this a little bit better, someone once relayed the idea to me long ago that “all humans are just chemical reactions happening on a rock in outer space.” While technically true, it simplifies things to the point of nihilism. As the old adage goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Humans are obviously more interesting than basic organic chemistry, and likewise, turning a once useless pile of scrap metal into a working, moving engine is interesting from a philosophical standpoint.
So there you have it. Two valid points of why I wanted to produce this project from scratch. Lately though, a more practical viewpoint takes precedence in this project. That is, I just want to build the damn thing.
No more messing around here, then. I am working on new designs that won’t require cold forging turbine blades from sheets of aluminum. There will be 3 designs. The first will be your typical turbocharger jet engine [YouTube] made from spare automotive parts. The next two will be designed from the ground up in CAD and the machining will be outsourced to a fabrication company. The parts will be assembled at home and potentially used in an even bigger project. I’m not going to bother writing that one up yet until this one is farther along, though.