How to Model an Airplane Propeller in SolidWorks

Written by bailey richert
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How to Model an Airplane Propeller in SolidWorks
You can design aeroplane propellers in SolidWorks before they are manufactured. (propeller image by Sergey Shaklein from

SolidWorks is a computer modelling software package that allows engineers and designers to create three-dimensional (3D) renderings of objects to their exact specifications without having to create a physical scale model. SolidWorks is also useful in the manufacturing and industrial fields because it allows those created 3D models to be turned into two-dimensional (2D) schematics and detailed drawings for future replication. You can model any objects, from toasters to medical supplies to even aircraft parts, if you know how to use the program.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Open SolidWorks and select "New Part" when prompted. Select the front plane from the possible plane selections in the "Features" menu on the left side of the screen. Click the "Create New Plane" button twice from the Command Manager at the top of the screen to create two additional planes on which to work.

  2. 2

    Click to select either plane on the far end of the set of three you have just created. Select the Sketch button from the top of the Command Manager. Choose either a polygon shape from the options offered or the Pencil tool to draw your own shape. Drag your mouse across the front plane you selected to create the shape of your propeller's end cross section. If you cut your finished propeller in half, the cross-section shape should be what you draw on this plane. In most cases, this will be an airfoil shape, such as a raindrop.

  3. 3

    Select the plane next to the one you just drew on and draw the shape of your next cross section using the Sketch tool, as explained in Step 2. Draw the last cross-section shape on the third plane. Hold down the "Shift" key while selecting all three shapes in each plane. Press the "Cover" button from the Command Manager to create a material layer over these shapes, creating the outside shell of your propeller.

  4. 4

    Save the part by selecting "File" and then "Save As" from the top menu options. Give the part a distinct file name and destination on your hard drive and click "Save As" to finish saving. When the propeller is saved, close out of the part. Click "File," "New" and choose to open a new assembly.

  5. 5

    Import two copies of the part you just created by clicking "File" and "Open" two times. Use the top drop-drown menu in the dialogue box that opens to navigate to the destination where you saved your part.

  6. 6

    Locate the first plane on which you drew when creating the part. Hold down the "Shift" key while clicking on each part on this plane. Right-click on one of the planes and select "Mate." These two planes will now join, bringing your propeller to completion.

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