Introduction: Wood Propeller Fabrication
This tutorial will show the steps needed for anyone to carve a propeller out of wood.
Step 1: Obtain Propeller Cross Sections
First you must have full size cross sections (about 10, from root to tip) of your propeller. There are tools online for designing propellers, but you will need some CAD software to create the drawings and 2-D cross sections. I used CATIA, but any 3-D modeling software will do. (I also have a detailed instructions on design of propellers here (www.aerodyndesign.com) Of course you will have to print out the cross sections of the propeller on to paper, at full scale size. Because you will need to cut them out and glue them to thin peice of aluminum or tin.
Step 2: Choose Your Wood and Prep It
You will need to choose your wood. This propeller is made of Hard Maple. If you are creating a propeller for acual load bearing use, you will need a hard wood like Maple. You then cut your wood into thin boards and glue them together like in the picture. You must glue them together with no gaps. You will need lots of clamps.
Step 3: Cut Out Paper Templates and Glue to Thin Sheets of Metal
You will now glue your templates onto thin sheets of metal, and then you tin snips to cut out the cross section.
You will need to file down the rough edges because the template needs to be dead on.
Typically you will want about 10 stations, or 10 cross sections from blade root to tip
Step 4: Cut the Propeller Profile
By marking the profile of the propeller (looking down on the wood) you can use a hand saw to cut out the profile of the propeller, this will save you time when you go to 'hog out material'
Step 5: Begin Hogging Out Material
Now this is the most time consuming part, you will use a chisle or draw knife, or any cutting tool to start widdling away wood material until you can start fitting on you templates to see where material needs to be taken out.
Step 6: The Fun Part Is When You Get Down to the Templates
Once you have hogged out most of the unwanted wood, you can now use the templets and hold them up to the correct stations along the blade to see where material needs to be removed. Be careful not to remove too much, you can't put it back once its gone. The hardest part will be the root area, were the templates are hard to align. Marking the front and back of the propeller with a small notch will help align the templates.
Step 7: Final Step Is to Sand and Add Stain
You can use sand paper to sand down and smooth out the contour. Be sure to start will rought paper 40 grit to 100 grit, and work you want down to a nice 600 grit or finer. Then you will apply some water proof finish. If it is an outdoor propeller you will need to use a thick water proof varnish. This propeller is for an airboat (http://www.aerodyndesign.com/FAN_BOAT/FAN_BOAT.htm)
Step 8: Propeller Duplicator
If your really ambitious, you can make a propeller duplicator, which can more or less duplicate anything, but right now its duplicting a propeller, so we call it a propeller duplicator.
I might make an instructables on how we made it, but for now some pics and a video here: http://www.aerodyndesign.com/PROP_DUP/PROP_DUP.htm