Manual impeller manufacturing in NX CAM

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series "Impeller manufacturing" NX CAM training 3-5 axis


‘Manual impeller manufacturing’ post series shows how to manufacture impellers in NX CAM. The instruction can also work as a training material for 3 and 5 axis manufacturing. This instructions should act as an addition to or replacement of the NX Turbomachinery toolset.

Manual impeller manufacturing

Impeller model used for demonstration

Manual impeller manufacturing vs. NX turbomachinery.

For manufacturing of impellers, NX Turbomachinery module is normally used. These operations allow making 5-axis movements with tool axis positioned between the impeller’s surfaces. The module contains roughing and finishing operations. Operations support InProcess workpiece and can be used alongside  with manual operations.

In my opinion, NX turbomachinery operations have the following downsides:

  • If you work in NX 8.5 or lower, you can only use ball-end mill in roughing operations
  • When working with hard-to-manufacture materials in simultaneous 5 axis, you have to make values for cutting levels, stepover and cuttings speeds relatively small. 3 axis allows making the higher
  • Long toolpath generation time
  • Difficulties in toolpath and material removal evaluation, difficult to visually evaluate amount of material removed
  • If you leave a connecting element between the impeller’s blades to avoid vibration, the NX turbomachinery would not manufacture it properly

Combination of operations gives more flexibility.

In my opinion, the optimal solution for impeller manufacturing is a combination of standard and NX turbomachinery operations. I reached the best performance, when roughing is done in 3 axis and then if needed turbomachinery (NX module) roughing is added for remaining regions. Eventually, finishing is done with NX turbomachinery with manual 5 axis for difficult-to-reach regions.

Have you tried making any manual impeller manufacturing operations?

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