Home » ZWSchool » Happy CAMing: The Efficient Strategies You Shouldn’t Miss to Process an Impeller

Happy CAMing: The Efficient Strategies You Shouldn’t Miss to Process an Impeller

The well-processed impeller

If you are working in the fields of energy, automotive, aviation, maritime navigation, etc., impeller is surely your old friend, who helps increase the pressure and speed of flow of a fluid to produce centrifugal force. Due to the complexity of manufacturing an impeller, it becomes a typical case in 5-axis machining.

ZW3D CAM module offers comprehensive strategies from 2 to 5-axis machining like Smooth Flow, Swarf, Drive Curve, Drive Surface, Flow Cut, etc., which make impeller machining no longer a difficult job. In this article, I’m going to show you how to generate toolpaths for an impeller easily. Let’s get right to it.

The impeller model

Figure 1. The impeller model in this case

Step 1: Choose SmoothFlow strategy in 3x Quick-Rough to remove the excess stock on top of the workpiece.

SmoothFlow in 3x Quick-Rough ribbon

Figure 2. SmoothFlow in 3x Quick-Rough ribbon

the toolpath generated by SmoothFlow strategy, the simulated effect, and the actual machining effect

Figure 3. From left to right: the toolpath generated by SmoothFlow strategy, the simulated effect, and the actual machining effect

Step 2: Use SmoothFlow strategy again to conduct indexing roughing on the areas beneath the blades. In this step, the key is to set the correct sub-coordinate system, by which we can process the hub areas directly in different directions without undercutting.

So how to generate toolpaths by sub-coordinates? First, create a sub coordinate on one of the blades, and set the direction of Z-axis pointing to you. Then select the frame just created in the configuration form of Rough SmoothFlow strategy. After that, toolpaths can be created under the blades. You can continue to generate toolpaths for the areas beneath other blades conveniently by Circular Array.

Set the direction of Z-axis of the sub coordinate

Figure 4. Set the direction of Z-axis of the sub coordinate

the toolpaths of areas under the blades, the simulated effect, and the actual machining effect

Figure 5. From left to right: the toolpaths of areas under the blades, the simulated effect, and the actual machining effect

After the first two steps, the roughing process of the impeller has been completed. Next, we are going to conduct 5-axis simultaneous machining.

Step 3: Use Enlarge Face command to enlarge the top surface of the blade, then use Guide Surface Iso strategy to create extended toolpaths for the enlarged surface, to ensure the thoroughness of actual machining for the top of the blade.

Use Guide Surface Iso strategy to extend toolpaths for the top of the blade

Figure 6. Use Guide Surface Iso strategy to extend toolpaths for the top of the blade

Step 4: Use Offset 3D strategy to create toolpaths for the top of the hub. This strategy can leave out too much tool lifting, and keep the steps equidistant, increasing machining efficiency and quality.

Use Offset 3D to generate toolpaths for the top of the hub

Figure 7. Use Offset 3D to generate toolpaths for the top of the hub

Step 5: Use Swarf strategy to mill the blades. Set the surface of a blade as the Drive Surface, and the hub as the Part Surface. Then use Swarf strategy to generate the toolpaths for one blade.

Set the 5-axis Drive Surface and Part Surface

Figure 8. Set the 5-axis Drive Surface and Part Surface

create the toolpaths for all other blades by Transform command

Figure 9. Refer to the toolpaths generated just now, and create the toolpaths for all other blades by Transform command

Step 6: Process the hub area between two blades. First create the toolpaths for two drive curves as the edges of the area. Then choose 5-axis Flow Cut strategy to create uniform toolpaths to fill the area between two drive curves.

Generate two drive curves and create uniform toolpaths to fill the area between them

Figure 10. Generate two drive curves and create uniform toolpaths to fill the area between them

Step 7: Finally, use Side strategy in 5x Mill ribbon to create toolpaths for the rest areas of the workpiece.

The generated toolpaths for the rest areas of the workpiece

Figure 11. The generated toolpaths for the rest areas of the workpiece

So far, the machining toolpaths for the impeller have been created. Let’s see the impeller after machining.

The well-processed impeller

Figure 12. The well-processed impeller

Have you got the tricks of machining an impeller? I would recommend you practice with ZW3D CAM module, which is smart and easy-to-operate. Download the model and have a try!

Sam Liu

Sam Liu

Over 8-year experience of CAM working in the injection mold and die mold, over 6 years' experience in CAD/CAM software industry, CNC team building & management, technical implementation, and production optimization.

View all posts

4 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Super guide sam, but it seems like you was in a hurry at the last few pictures ( Step 6 and forward) your missing the last settings on how to create the operations in side strategy and drive curves, your doin a great job at all the others but some info is missing on the settings for the last few, i was thinking on putting a youtube video up on how to machine this exact part with step by step instruction. 😀

    • Hi Stephan, sorry for the missing, we just think that show some key steps. I will send you the programming ZW3D file via email:).

  • Hi Sam,
    nice article and good to see promo of 5X.
    If you want a model a proper propeller that is hydro-dynamically correct, II can supply you with one.
    My com[any has been involved with waterjet propulsion impeller design for over a decade and we have our own mathematically driven software that generates the foil curves – these are then taken into ZW3D and transformed into an impeller. In fact on my website there is one.
    Cheers – Paul

Subscribe to Our Blog

ZWCADZW3D

By using this form you agree to the storage and handling of your data by this website.