posted on May, 17 2015 @ 09:41 PM
I talked to somebody about this once as I do 3D modeling and think turbine engines are neat. (Was some side conversation with how no hobbyist has yet
to build a small scale axial-flow engine, and whether it would be possible.) Thing was the guy I was talking to wanted and needed more engineering
type stuff, and my knowledge (although not all terrible) is on the visualization side. (And 3D modeling software isn't CAD software, despite many
similiarities.) Might get close enough with lucky guessing to have something work, but unlike a proper engineer - no guarantees on anything. I was
honest, even if it means taking a pass on what may have been a really cool project. Was an interesting discussion none the less.
The stuff needed to do good quality 3D printing like this with metal sintering is upward of $40,000. Of course it's still possible to do metals much
much cheaper by printing with wax and doing lost wax casting, but then you have those problems with all the things that have to be done to ensure a
good casting. This is why much of the hobbyist realm in 3D printing still deals with plastics, and even then it's still on the expensive side.
In the case of making a jet engine with sintering, it's also GE, they have plenty of knowledge and experience that the average joe knows next to
nothing about. Somebody with lots of money to blow could still do it, but it probably wouldn't be half as good.
I also have some ideas on 3D printing with some kind of MIG process (not too different than how plastic printing works other than using welding rod
stuff in an enclosed evacuated chamber), but I'm sure I'm not alone in that either. (The approach seems plenty obvious.) However that's probably
crude compared to both sintering and lost-wax. I suspect faster and cheaper than either, but would need machining for fit/finish, yet should have much
less waste than milling completely from solid blanks.