The Hacksmith: Arduino-Controlled Jet Engine for a Motorcycle
This project was created by Engineering Superheroes of Hackmith Industries.
DO NOT ATTEMPT to Re-Create
For the last few years, the Hacksmith team has been on a quest to make a functional Iron Man suit that can fly. It started with some model rocket engines as thrusters, which kind of worked— for a second. The next version of the Iron Man thrusters used EDF motors. The EDF motors were more stable, but they lacked the thrust needed to make somebody hover. In order to get more thrust, the team got their hands on a small jet engine.
Making a flight suit takes a lot of designing, testing, and more than 1 jet engine, so the team decided to use the jet engine on something that’s equally dangerous. Naturally, we ended up with a jet engine booster for a motorcycle—or in simpler terms, a jet bike! See how it works in the video below.
Controlling a Jet Engine With an Arduino Pro Mini
Small jet engines like the one in this project often use RC remotes to control their fuel intake, thus controlling the amount of thrust they produce in increments. This is problematic for a motorcycle. First, holding a remote while riding a motorcycle that requires two hands to operate is a bad idea for pretty obvious reasons. Even mounting the controller on the handlebar in its original form (which has a throttle) is problematic because the rider already has a throttle they need to hold on the handlebars.
To get around this, the team used the trusty Arduino Pro Mini. The Arduino tricks the jet engine into thinking it is connected to an RC remote. Instead of a throttle, the Arduino circuit consists of three switches. The first one is the main power switch, or kill switch, which cuts power to the entire system in case of emergency. The next switch is the startup/idle switch, which runs through the startup sequence and sets the throttle to idle. The final button moves the power to 100%, giving the motorcycle its boost. There is nothing in between; it is either full power or idle.
The jet engine consumes about one liter of diesel fuel per minute, so the motorcycle can’t maintain the boost for very long. That may be for the best, though, considering Ian’s penchant for riding motorcycles at high speeds.
Keep an eye out for upcoming projects with jet engines on The Hacksmith’s YouTube channel! Eventually, these jets will be used in the Iron Man suit and the spy car!
More Arduino-Controlled Hacksmith Projects
The Arduino has been Team Hacksmith’s go-to controller for several Make it Real creations. You can find more of it here on Maker.io!
- Arduino-Controlled LED System for the Hacksmith’s Batmobile
- Remote Controlling a Baja with an Arduino
- Torbjörn's Turret From Overwatch Made Real
- Rainbow Six Blitz Shield
- Arduino-Controlled Hot Potato
- QWOP Made Real: Control a Person (poorly) with Arduino
- "Boom Box" Wireless Firework Detonator
- Making Zarya’s Particle Cannon Real
- Climb Like Spider-Man with Electromagnetic Climbing Clamps
Key Parts and Components