The plunge milling method has remarkably improved the rough machining efficiency of 3D impeller channel. However, in conventional cutter position planning for plunge milling, interference at the end of every cutter position due to sudden increase of radial depth is inevitable, which may seriously compromise the service life of machine tool and cutter, as well as the cutting efficiency at the interferential phase. This study optimized the cutter axis vector for the tool path of conventional rough machining of 3D impeller variable -axis plunge milling to make the angle between the normal vector for workpiece surface at the cutter contact point and the cutter-axis vector of adjacent tool position increase gradually from outlet to inlet at the smallest scale. Based on this, an iterative algorithm for tool center position and safety height for the cutter was provided, thus making the hub allowance of the optimized tool path for plunge milling as small as possible without affecting the subsequent machining on the premise of avoiding the interferential phenomenon. Finally, the correctness of the proposed method was verified by relevant numerical examples.