Posted on June 10, 2005
This project was sent to me by Jace Bigelow in Burlington, Vermont. Jace writes: “I have always been interested in jet engines and in college (1996) I was searching the internet about turbines and found Larry Berg's and Mark Nye's engines. Since then I have been collecting parts little by little. It has been a challenge building a running turbine without a welder. I had to use common threaded pipe. I never kept track of the cost because of countless trips to every hardware store imaginable.
I started with a small IHI turbo from a 1.7 Liter John Deere diesel engine, but it didn't work; it did not flow enough air. This Garrett turbo is off a Chrysler car, and I swapped the compressor housing with one from a Saab because I liked the inlet better. The compressor is a .42 and the exhaust is a .48. These are very very common and there are tons on eBay. The oil pump is a power steering pump from a Japanese car. I spin it at 40 PSI with a drill and have a brass needle valve to control pressure.
I built an oil alarm which sounds if pressure drops below 20 PSI. I built the ignition box using a power transistor circuit found on the internet. I have boost and oil pressure gauges. For exhaust temps, I have a K-Type thermocouple plugged into a Craftsman meter. Without pushing the turbine, there is about 8 PSI of boost and 950*F EGT. I have since torn it all apart to build a new burner (now that I can weld) because it's too small, and it does not always light when I want it to. Ignition is sometimes very scary! I start it with a shop vac. To control the fuel, I use an oxy-acetylene regulator and a shut-off valve.
Future plans for this turbine include a new combustor now that I have a welder and steel. Also, I am building an infrared tachometer and will use the same multimeter as it will measure frequency. Future plans for a 2nd turbine will utilize my new Borg Warner T04B that I bought on eBay. People are always asking, "Why???" I say, "If you have to ask why, you'll never understand." Thanks for all the motivation Don!! You have the very best DIY gas turbine site on the internet.”................ Jace Bigelow
Thanks so much for the photos and description Jace....... Don G.