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Have 150,000 Lego bricks to spare? Build a jet engine

Have 150,000 Lego bricks to spare? Build a jet engine

Posting in Design

Usually, the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine spins at 1200mph - perhaps not if it is built in Lego.

This week, British car and aero-engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce unveiled what is reported as the world's first jet engine made entirely of Lego.

Making its debut at the Farnborough International Airshow, the engine is a replica of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000, the most up-to-date aircraft engine Rolls-Royce produces. Usually, these engines power Boeing 787 aircraft -- and the replica on display was half the size.

The unique build shows the complicated, inner structure of a jet engine, and took four people to months to complete. It includes 152,455 Lego bricks and weighs over 307kg. The engine is over 2 meters in length and 1.5 meters wide.

In order to mirror the workings of a normal engine, over 160 separate components had to be built and then joined together. Everything from the recognizable fan blades to combustion chambers where fuel is burned had to be analyzed and then copied using the building blocks, including its spinning Lego turbines.

The engine takes pride of place in the Innovation Zone at the airshow, and is part of a display used to interest young people in STEM -- science, technology, engineering and maths.

Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce, Chief Scientific Officer, said:

"Engineers have critical roles to play in solving the challenges of tomorrow, not least designing aircraft engines that will power people to the furthest corners of the world more efficiently.

We are delighted to showcase this Lego engine, the first of its kind in the world, and we are very pleased some of our own graduates and apprentices have contributed to building it, ensuring it is as realistic as possible."

A team of graduates and apprentices at the company were responsible for completing the project, working with company Bright Bricks to bring the engine into being.

Enough to tempt teens into working in STEM or Lego? Perhaps. Failing that, as a Rolls-Royce representative told CNN, perhaps "some people clearly have a lot of time on their hands."

Image credit: Rolls-Royce

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure