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GE Team Builds Mini-Jet Engine with 3D Printing

GE engineers have been getting firsthand insights about additive manufacturing as applied to jet engines. News of their success in 3D-printing a mini-jet engine has gathered some attention.

GE Team Builds Mini-Jet Engine with 3D Printing

The team reportedly made a simple 3D-printed engine that roared at 33,000 rotations per minute. The team who built it are at GE Aviation's Additive Development Center outside Cincinnati. The focus there is on techniques in additive manufacturing for making 3D structures by melting metal powder layer upon layer.

GE Aviation's site (GE Aviation provides jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems) reviewed the additive approach, and where it departs from past methods. "Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that mill parts from a slab of metal, additive manufacturing 'grows' parts directly from a CAD file using layers of fine metal powder and an electron beam or laser. The result is complex, fully dense parts without the waste, manufactured in a fraction of the time it would take using other methods," said a recent post on the site.

The team pooled their skills as technicians, machinists and engineers. "We wanted to see if we could build a little engine that runs almost entirely out of additive manufacturing parts," said one of the engineers. "This was a fun side project."

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