Apr 8, 2015

3D printable open source liquid fuel rocket engine

Graham Sortino from New Jersey developed and tested 3d printed rocket liquid fuel engine. He went one step further and open sourced it! The engine is controlled by Arduino Uno! We live in amazing times!
The engine is made from three main modules: the igniter, injector, and the main engine body, all of which were SLS 3D printed by Shapeways and ExOne in bronze steel and machined afterwards to get the exact fit. Post-processing is a problem due to hardness of sintered metal so some tools break, the internal coolant lines are still not possible to 3d print due the geometry complexity and metal powder residues. 

The price is very low: 3d printed igniter costs some $60, the injector $80 and the rocket engine $260, for a total of just $400. Space exploration with extremely low budget!

The engine is still in development and not yet finished but it is a big step forward in open sourcing aerospace engineering! 

Engine specifications:
  • Fuel: GOX / Ethanol
  • Fuel Mass Flow: 0.0545 kg/sec
  • Oxidizer Mass Flow: 0.0545 kg/sec
  • Total Mass Flow: 0.1093 kg/sec
  • Design Mixture Ratio: 1:1
  • Design Force: 50 lbf
  • Design Chamber Pressure: 150 psia
  • Design Temp: 2572 Kelvin
  • Design Specific Impulse: 209 Isp 
Here are some photos of it:

Ignited engine. You can clearly see the mach diamonds.

3D printed engine and main lines / sensors

Here you can see a live test fire and mach diamonds:

Project homepage with files and instructions:

GitHub repository:

For previous 3d printed rocket engine named "Tri-D" look at:

To boldly go where no one has gone before!