Rolls-Royce unveils 150,000-part LEGO jet engine


July 10, 2012

Rolls-Royce's LEGO jet engine is made from 152,455 standard LEGO bricks and parts (Photo: Gizmag)

Rolls-Royce's LEGO jet engine is made from 152,455 standard LEGO bricks and parts (Photo: Gizmag)

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Rolls-Royce this week unveiled the world's first jet engine to be made entirely out of LEGO bricks. Farnborough Airshow was the selected venue for the unveiling of the model, which is made entirely from 152,455 standard LEGO bricks and parts, making it, Rolls-Royce claims, "one of the most complex LEGO structures ever built." The LEGO engine is a half-size replica (complete with moving parts) of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 turbofan jet engine which keeps Boeing's 787 Dreamliner in the sky. Naturally, we at Gizmag jumped at the opportunity to stick our noses (and camera lenses) in.

Though obviously not a functioning jet engine, the model nevertheless has all the moving parts to reflect the Trent 1000's functioning. The model weighs in at 307 kg (677 pounds), is 2 meters (6.6 feet) in length and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) across.

The engine took a team of four people eight weeks to complete, and in some respects its construction reflects the manufacture of an actual Trent 1000. More than 160 separate engine components were individually built, which were then assembled to create the engine model as a whole. Though we're assured standard parts were used throughout, there appears to be some debate about the flame tube, for which the flame may or may not have been "salvaged" from a dragon toy set. We'll let them off.

The goal in building the model is to engage young people in science, technology engineering and mathematics. In that respect it's appropriate that the engine was designed largely by graduates and apprentices at Rolls-Royce. Having designed the engine, the team passed their plans to LEGO construction specialists, Bright Bricks, who set about building it.

The real Trent 1000, also on show at Farnborough Airshow (Photo: Gizmag)

Thankfully, the LEGO model is rather quieter than the real thing: a 9-foot (2.7-meter) wide monster with 66 turbine blades spinning at 13,5000 rpm, generating 800 horsepower each, and, at take-off, pulling in 1.25 tonnes (1.38 tons) of air every second. Despite the presence of a full-size Trent 1000 in the main halls, everyone at Rolls-Royce Gizmag spoke to said something to the effect of "yes, but have you seen the LEGO one?" - and having found it, we can see why.

The LEGO jet engine is on display at Rolls-Royce's stand in the Innovation Zone at Farnborough International Airshow.

Source: Rolls-Royce

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

They obviously manufactured or modified some of the legos or glued them in some places because you just can't make a radius with legos. It kind of ruins this challenge. That's what's nice about Gizmag, calling out the press releases.

The Hoff

@The Hoff

What do you mean by "can't make a radius?"

BTW, often times the large lego structures have struts on the inside because the thing is so heavy that it can't support itself. A grand achievement nonetheless.


@The Hoff,

Lego CAN make a radius.

By building a wall out of overlapping 2x1 bricks in a conventional overlapping pattern, due to the necessary tolerances within the manufacturing process- in order to have sufficient 'clutch power' and also be easy to dismantle, you can bend the wall to form a surprisingly tight radius curve.

This technique is exploited by AFOLS (Adult Fans of Lego) for some very advanced structures. It is also deemed an 'illegal' technique by The Lego Group (ie it can't be exploited by official models, eg at Legoland, or in official sets).

Other techniques involve using 'hinge' pieces, which means that there will be small gaps on the outide of the radius, however with a model of this size, those gaps would not be all that obvious.

As for gluing, this is generally frowned upon by AFOL groups, although it can sometimes be necessary, especially for models on public display. It is however possible to reinfoce structures intermally by using Lego Technic elements which provides additional means of attachment compared with standard Lego elements, for example, holes in the sides of beams, which enable connecting pegs to be attached, so that two beams can be fixed side to side with no elements attached above or below.

I don't know quite how these models were made, as the pics are too small to show details (and my eyesight isn't what it was). But it is still an incredible piece of model-making.


@Hoff You can clearly see where hinge pieces are used. Lego absolutely can do this, especially when it is on this scale. bergamo nailed it.


Here's a timelapse video of the build

plus one of the display at Farnborough

there's plenty more videos and photo's around - yes it was glued (not really a surprise - imagine transporting it).

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