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Developed Blade Propeller Drawing for Raked Propellers

Paul Rodgers
Assistant Professor, UP Diliman, QC, Philippines

A method is proposed for generating the developed blade drawing for raked propellers. Unlike
Holsts Method1, which is valid only for propellers without rake, this method discusses the
procedure for propellers with rake, where the propeller blade generator line is swept backwards
from the perpendicular position at an angle known as the rake angle. The drawing obtained with
this new method is compared with computer generated developed propeller blade drawings and
real helical surfaces, and a reasonable match of the drawings is obtained. The propeller blade
projected drawing is used in creating the blade pattern on a helical propeller face during mold
construction and during finishing when the final blade shape is to be machined.

A difference exists between the helix
Propeller drawings provide as much surfaces generated by zero rake propellers
technical information about the geometry of and raked propellers. For propellers without
the propeller, which aid in its manufacture. rake the generator line is perpendicular to
A propeller drawing normally contains the propeller axis. With raked propellers the
elements such as the principal propeller generator line is angled backwards from the
particulars, which include the propeller propeller plane, and the generated helical
diameter, pitch distribution, thickness surface is also swept back with the same
distribution, propeller profile offsets, blade rake angle. Due to the rake, the propeller
section or offsets, propeller area ratios, blade for raked propellers has a longer span
number of blades, material, rotational compared to zero rake propellers.The
direction and boss dimensions. Other details method of creating the developed and
include the propeller expanded, developed projected drawings of the bladeis discussed
and profile drawings. The developed blade by Holst1,3 in his paper dissertation in
drawings are of particular interest in this 1924.H olst illustrates how the developed
paper as these are used during pattern blade drawing is generated, but the method
production as well as final machining and is limited to zero rake propellers.
finishing of the propeller to the design
dimensions. Although the developed blade diagram is
considered superfluous3, the usefulness of
The expanded blade drawing and developed Holsts method and this new method in
blade drawing give the blade profile and making propeller developed drawings is
detail the distances of the leading and shown here. The developed blade diagram
trailing edges of the blade from the can actually be used to form a helical
generator line. The generator line is the surface, and is important and useful in
reference line that creates the helical surface getting the blade profile to create the blade
of the propeller as it is rotated 360 degrees pattern for casting. After the propeller is
in rotation and swept forward with a pitch P cast, the developed blade profile is again
of the propeller. The pressure face of the used to make the blade pattern for final
propeller lies on this helical surface. machining of the propeller to required
dimensions. A comparison of the method A sample propeller drawing is shown in
expounded here is made with results Figure 2. The origin is the propeller axis of
obtained with a computer based method and rotation and is normal to the plane of the
with real helix surfaces, and results drawing. The horizontal axis is the axis
satisfactorily agree with each other. Figure 1 along the direction of the cord of the blades
illustrates the propeller mold making and the vertical axis is along the radial
process, where the blade developed diagram direction or span of the propeller blade.
is expanded into a helical surface and used
to indicate the blade shape/profile on the The Expanded Blade Diagram
helical surface. The propeller developed
drawing, a drawing on a flat plane, can be The expanded blade diagram is made by
used to generate a three dimensional first drawing the coordinate axes. Lines
drawing on a helical surface. parallel to the horizontal axis are then drawn
at each radius. The distance of the leading
edge and trailing edge are measured from
the generator line and the endpoints are
connected to form the expanded blade
profile. The expanded blade diagram gives a
plan view of the propeller blade, and is used
to indicate the blade shape and to calculate
the blade area ratio.

Figure 1

Holst Method for Non-raked Propellers

Table 1 shows an example of the offsets

table for a propeller blade. The table
indicates the distance of the leading edge
and trailing edge from the generator line at Figure 2
each radius.
The Developed Blade Diagram
D 700
P 700
AR 0.5 The developed blade diagram is obtained
Rake 0 using the method described by Holst. At a
0.1 85.7 -58.5 144.2 certain radius r the blade section is
0.20 101.8 -73.8 175.6 contained in a cylinder with a radius r and
0.25 109.8 -81.5 191.3
0.30 116.7 -88.3 205.0
creates a helix line along the surface of that
0.40 127.5 -102.3 229.8 cylinder. The helix line passes through the
0.50 134.0 -114.9 248.9 intersection of the generator line and helix,
0.60 134.9 -126.6 261.5
0.70 127.4 -135.5 262.9 point C. The propeller pitch angle at that
0.80 106.9 -136.3 243.2 radius will be and this is equivalent to
0.90 66.3 -128.0 194.3
0.95 35.7 -111.1 146.8
1.00 -45.7 -45.7 0.0

Table 1
highly skewed propellers. Results show a
good match with drawings obtained from
helix surfaces of the same pitch, provided
the propeller does not have any rake.
However, for propellers with rake, the blade
developed diagram should be longer by a
factor of due to the rake. Further the rake
causes the generator line to be offset from its
original position. Thus for raked propellers
Holst method cannot be used.

Figure 3 Figure 4 indicates Holsts method for

creating the developed blade diagram as
The cutting plane tangent to the helix line at well as the projected blade diagram.
the intersection of the generator line with the
helix line (point C), will create an ellipse,
with a smaller radius (minor axis) of r at the
generator line and a large radius (major axis)
of r/cos. To approximate the curvature at
the ellipse point C, Holst creates a right
triangle CNM, the hypotenuse of which is
CM is considered as the radius of curvature
centered at M and passing through C. This
circle line approximates the helix line
developed onto the plane perpendicular to
the propeller axis passing through the
generator line of the non-raked propeller.
This process is repeated for each radius
starting from 0.1R at the root to the
propeller tip 1.0R. The distances along the
developed line from the generator line to
leading and trailing edges are then marked
on each circle as measured from the
generator line and when these points are
connected the developed blade diagram of
the propeller is obtained. Although Holsts
method approximates the curvature of the
ellipse at point C with a circle, the method is
accurate enough.

This circle is now considered as the

developed drawing of the helix line at that
radius. This is an approximation, but is
accurate enough since the angle swept from
the leading edge to the trailing edge is small, Figure 4
even for high blade area propellers and for
Developed Blade for Raked Propellers backwards with a rake angle , the ellipse
created with a cutting plane tangent to the
For raked propellers, the blades are swept intersection of the generator line and helix
backwards with a rake angle . Thus the line at that radius and containing the
cutting plane that will be used to generator line, is now also angled with the
approximate the helical blade path at radius rake angle. Although this ellipse has a minor
r will tangent to the intersection of the axis radius of r, the major axis will be longer
generator line and helix line at the helix than the ellipse produced with a non-raked
angle phi , and will be further angled generator line and further, the location of the
because it contains the generator line which major and minor axes will now be shifted
is angled at the rake angle . As a result the slightly through the angle . By geometry
resulting blade will have a longer span. can be found to be arctan (tansin).
Likewise, in the resulting ellipse, the major
and minor axes will be offset by some angle. A line starting from radius r at a point of
intersection of the generator line and helix
As with Holsts method, one can imagine line, angled with from the radial axis, will
that the propeller pressure face follows a now be the reference line for creating the
helical surface. This helical surface is circle which will give the approximate
created by sweeping the generator line curvature of the developed helix line.
forward with a pitch equivalent to the
propeller pitch P while rotating the propeller Thus, along that line at a distance r from the
by one revolution or D or 2R. A non- intersection of the GL and helix line, a
raked propeller has a generator line that is perpendicular line segment is drawn with a
perpendicular to the propeller axis. length of P/2, and a right triangle is
generated. Another right triangle CNM with
However for a raked propeller, the generator a side perpendicular to the diagonal CN is
line is swept backwards from the propeller created, and the intersection of the two lines
plane by an amount called the rake angle. If is point M, which is now the center of
we consider a specific section of the blade at curvature of the ellipse at the generator line-
a radius r, this sections pressure face will helix line intersection. When a circle of
lie on the helix surface and will create a radius CM centered at point M is drawn
helical line that lies on that helical surface. passing through C, the radius of that circle
Unfolding or developing the helical line on a approximates the radius of curvature of the
plane parallel to the propeller axis will give ellipse, and of the developed helix line.
a right triangle with a base 2R and a height
of P, and the angle of the propeller blade
section at this radius relative to the propeller
surface is the pitch angle of the blade at that
radius, the pitch angle being arctan (P/2r).

In Holsts method, a cutting plane tangent to

the helix line at the point of the intersection
of the generator line and the helix line at that
radius is used. In this method, similarly a
cutting plane is used, where, for a raked
propeller, since the generator line is swept Figure 5
Step by step Procedure
Next from the point C a line is drawn at an
Due to the rake of the blade its length will angle from the vertical axis, which
now be longer, equivalent to r/cos at represents the reference generator line
radius r. To graphically create radius lines of (Figure 7). A line perpendicular to this line
these lengths first a line is drawn from the at a distance r from C, marked O is drawn
origin angled with the rake angle from the with a measured length of P/2, and its
vertical axis. Next using the intersection of endpoint marked as N. A line segment
that line with the radius line an arc is perpendicular to line CN, intersecting the
projected on to the vertical axis. The length line CO at M is created. Point M will now
of the vertical line segment OC will now be be the center of the circle tangent to point C
r/cos (Figure 6). and its radius will be approximately the
radius of curvature of the ellipse passing
through C.

The process of creating the circle line is

repeated for each radii starting at the
propeller hub to the propeller tip. Distances
from the generator line to the leading and
trailing edges are measured and marked, and
these loci of points is connected, creating the
developed diagram for a raked blade (Figure
8). The circle lines obtained through this
method are slightly oblique compared to the
lines obtained through Holsts method, and
the blade is longer, due to the rake of the
Figure 6

Figure 7 Figure 8
If the blade can be assumed to be composed each strip at a certain radius and radial
of developable chord wise strips then we can thickness, each chord wise strip representing
make the assumption that if we use the same a portion of the developed surface drawing
center of curvature for drawing the next of the propeller. The computer method is
radii we will get the following result, shown possible for both non-raked and raked
in Figure 9. The gaps in each radius propellers and also for high skew propellers.
represent the amount the material/paper has The figure below, Figure 11, shows the
to be parted to create the 3D helical surface expanded and developed blade diagrams for
of the propeller face. the same propeller offsets but without rake
and with a rake of 10o.

Figure 10

Figure 9

Computer method

The helical surface geometry and the

propeller geometry can be completely
defined mathematically in three dimensional
space. In the computer method the propeller Figure 11
surface is divided into 4 sided radial and
chord wise segments along the helix surface.
Each 4 sided segment is a non-planar
surface and is further reduced to non-
coplanar triangles, but sharing one side
(Figure 10). The two triangles are developed
into the surface perpendicular to the
propeller axis. This step is done starting with
the elements nearest the generator line and
proceeds outwards to the leading and trailing
edges. The result is that the propeller is
actually developed into chord wise strips,
Conclusions and Significance References

The pressure face of a propeller is a helix 1. Holst, C.P., The Geometry of the
surface. Since the helix surface is a surface Screw Propeller, E.J. Brill Ltd
with curvature in more than one direction, is Publishers and Printers, Leiden, 1924
not a developable surface. Holst's method is 2. Carlton, J.S., Marine Propellers and
essentially a method of drawing a propeller Propulsion, Second Edition,
blade on 2D a drawing that can be expanded Butterworth and Heinemann, 2007
on a 3D surface, specifically of a helical 3. Lewis, Edward, Principles of Naval
surface. The drawing obtained is one where Architecture, Volume II Resistance,
the lines derived indicate the developed Propulsion and Vibration, The
diagram of the blade at different radii. When Society of Naval Architects and
the drawing on the paper is cut along the Marine Engineers, 1988
radius lines and spread with the amount 4. Van Lammeren, W.P.A,,
indicated on the drawing, the resulting 3D Resistance, Propulsion and Steering
shape fits a helical surface that corresponds of Ships, Technical Publishing
with the propeller's pitch surface. Company, H. Stam, 1962

Using a set of radial strips will help to create

a set of developed surfaces. However, a
developed blade drawing of the helical
surface can be created if treated as a set of
strips separated by the circle line at each
radius. Each helical strip, being bounded by
successive radius lines can be considered as
a developable surface. Sufficient accuracy
can be obtained provided that the propeller
helixes at radius lines are sufficiently a
small delta-r (radial increments).

Although the developed blade area drawing

is considered superfluous4, the developed
blade area diagram can in reality be used in
pattern creation step and finishing
machining step in propeller manufacture.
One can create the 3D helix surface from the
developed blade diagram in the design step
before pattern making and machining.

A more rigorous solution can be found using

the correct curvature of the ellipse
generated by the angled cutting plane at the
point C, the intersection of the helix line and
the generator line.