Who are the JetX Engineers?

JetX Engineering – a team of University of Glasgow students who are jet engine enthusiasts – have won praise and support from Rolls-Royce for successfully creating a 3D-printed model jet engine.

Garry Train, Rolls-Royce Manufacturing Executive, said: “We are incredibly impressed with the progress of the 3D-printed JetX engine, and this has led Rolls-Royce to offer financial support to the team.

“We will also be offering engineering advice and support to the JetX students who have now visited our Compressors Engineering facility in Inchinnan. We are looking forward to working with them on their test programme for the fully-assembled engine later this year.”

Chris Triantafyllou, founder and President of JetX, said: “Our motto is ‘The sky is our domain – not our limit’, and that sums up the scale of our ambition. We have designed a jet engine from scratch, optimising the design for 3D printing and assembly in order to produce a scaled-down model with all the normal rotating parts. The goal is to test the model and obtain data that will be compared against our theoretical model.”

The student society was established in September 2014 and claims to have “revolutionised aerospace education by providing a full engineering product development experience to a select group of students each year”.

Incredibly motivated

Dr Euan Wielewski, a lecturer in materials engineering who supports JetX and works closely with Rolls-Royce, added: “These incredibly motivated students have embarked on this project independently. Their achievements are in addition to their academic responsibilities, which makes it all the more impressive.”

Mr Train said: “Rolls-Royce recognises the vital importance of engaging with young people to enthuse them about science and engineering in order to attract and develop the talent of tomorrow. We are focused on inspiring young people to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and this is why we are supporting the JetX project run by Glasgow University engineering students.”

Dr Wielewski added: “JetX is a fun and engaging way for our engineering students to get hands-on experience of the design and manufacture of a complex engineering product. Support from Rolls-Royce, one of the worlds largest jet engine manufacturers, really validates all the hard work the students have put into the JetX project.”

The engine is primarily made of standard plastics like PLA and ABS whilst featuring an integrated monitoring system capable of recording and displaying key performance data in real time.

JetX is made up of an executive board and various teams: the Compressor Team, Turbine Team, Power Transmission Team, Exhaust Team and Electronics Team.

Their current 3D printed model engine, the X-Plorer 1, contains over 800 parts, 260 of which are 3D printed. To date, the team has spent 2900 hours printing parts during the development and manufacture of the engine using up over 4600 metres of plastic.

Asked why the JetX team had decided to focus on jet engines, Chris explained: “Because they are hot! Well, at least some of their blades are really hot. Apart from that, nothing spells out engineering better than 115000 pounds of thrust and power equivalent to that of 28 Formula-1 racing cars.”

First published: 18 April 2017