By Michael Scott
A British student has designed and flown the world’s fastest JET PACK – reaching speeds of 50mph.
Sam Rogers, from Loughborough University, perfected the redesign of a suit that was created entirely by a 3D printer – but still cost £340,000.
Sam, who studies Product Design and Technology, took to the skies in the record-breaking Gravity Industries jet suit in front of amazed students at Loughborough Design School.
The five-turbojet engine race suit printed entirely in aluminium, steel and nylon was developed as part of Sam’s degree
Crowds watched the pioneering 1,000BHP (brake horsepower) flying machine.
The company which produces the suit, Gravity Industries, has demonstrated the suit before at speeds of up to 32mph.
But Sam, 23, from Sussex, has since flown his design at more than 50mph (80km/h).
Sam said: “Five turbojet engines spooling up on your body is a very intense and visceral experience.
“To learn to balance, control and fly under that power feels very dynamic and the freedom of movement once airborne is like nothing else.
“I redesigned the suit from traditional materials to being entirely 3D printed in aluminium, steel and nylon, which reduced the time and cost of building the suit.”
The suit has kerosene-fuelled turbines on the back and on the arms, each with 22kg of thrust, with the controls located inside the grip handles.
It has been created to fly from launch-pad to landing point regardless of the terrain – land or water – with an altitude limit of 10,000ft.
He added: “Multiple versions of the suit were tested with leg engines and various other engines configurations.
“And I found that turbines on the arms and back was the optimal configuration.
But the technical development has not stopped.
Sam said that plans are now in the pipeline for a faster, more powerful and lightweight suit as well as wing prototypes for horizontal flight.
Sam’s project has benefitted from support from staff from the Design for Digital Fabrication research group.
Dr Andrew Johnson, Lecturer in Product Design and group member, said: “This project is a great way to highlight that additive manufacturing is playing an ever-increasing role in the design and manufacture of prototype and end-use products.”