The cogs were often made of maple wood. In the Thompson Manufacturing Company of Lancaster, New Hampshire still had a very active business in supplying tens of thousands of maple gear teeth per year, mostly for use in paper mills and grist mills , some dating back over years.
The definite ratio that teeth give gears provides an advantage over other drives such as traction drives and V-belts in precision machines such as watches that depend upon an exact velocity ratio. In cases where driver and follower are proximal, gears also have an advantage over other drives in the reduced number of parts required. The downside is that gears are more expensive to manufacture and their lubrication requirements may impose a higher operating cost per hour.
An external gear is one with the teeth formed on the outer surface of a cylinder or cone. Conversely, an internal gear is one with the teeth formed on the inner surface of a cylinder or cone. For bevel gears , an internal gear is one with the pitch angle exceeding 90 degrees. Internal gears do not cause output shaft direction reversal. Spur gears or straight-cut gears are the simplest type of gear. They consist of a cylinder or disk with teeth projecting radially. Though the teeth are not straight-sided but usually of special form to achieve a constant drive ratio, mainly involute but less commonly cycloidal , the edge of each tooth is straight and aligned parallel to the axis of rotation.
These gears mesh together correctly only if fitted to parallel shafts. Spur gears are excellent at moderate speeds but tend to be noisy at high speeds. Helical or "dry fixed" gears offer a refinement over spur gears. The leading edges of the teeth are not parallel to the axis of rotation, but are set at an angle.
Since the gear is curved, this angling makes the tooth shape a segment of a helix. Helical gears can be meshed in parallel or crossed orientations. The former refers to when the shafts are parallel to each other; this is the most common orientation. In the latter, the shafts are non-parallel, and in this configuration the gears are sometimes known as "skew gears".
The angled teeth engage more gradually than do spur gear teeth, causing them to run more smoothly and quietly. In spur gears, teeth suddenly meet at a line contact across their entire width, causing stress and noise.
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Spur gears make a characteristic whine at high speeds. For this reason spur gears are used in low-speed applications and in situations where noise control is not a problem, and helical gears are used in high-speed applications, large power transmission, or where noise abatement is important. A disadvantage of helical gears is a resultant thrust along the axis of the gear, which must be accommodated by appropriate thrust bearings , and a greater degree of sliding friction between the meshing teeth, often addressed with additives in the lubricant.
For a "crossed" or "skew" configuration, the gears must have the same pressure angle and normal pitch; however, the helix angle and handedness can be different. The relationship between the two shafts is actually defined by the helix angle s of the two shafts and the handedness, as defined: . The crossed configuration is less mechanically sound because there is only a point contact between the gears, whereas in the parallel configuration there is a line contact. Quite commonly, helical gears are used with the helix angle of one having the negative of the helix angle of the other; such a pair might also be referred to as having a right-handed helix and a left-handed helix of equal angles.
The two equal but opposite angles add to zero: the angle between shafts is zero—that is, the shafts are parallel. Where the sum or the difference as described in the equations above is not zero, the shafts are crossed. For shafts crossed at right angles, the helix angles are of the same hand because they must add to 90 degrees. This is the case with the gears in the illustration above: they mesh correctly in the crossed configuration: for the parallel configuration, one of the helix angles should be reversed.
The gears illustrated cannot mesh with the shafts parallel.
Double helical gears overcome the problem of axial thrust presented by single helical gears by using a double set of teeth, slanted in opposite directions. A double helical gear can be thought of as two mirrored helical gears mounted closely together on a common axle. This arrangement cancels out the net axial thrust, since each half of the gear thrusts in the opposite direction, resulting in a net axial force of zero.
This arrangement can also remove the need for thrust bearings. However, double helical gears are more difficult to manufacture due to their more complicated shape. Herringbone gears are a special type of helical gears.
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They do not have a groove in the middle like some other double helical gears do; the two mirrored helical gears are joined together so that their teeth form a V shape. For both possible rotational directions, there exist two possible arrangements for the oppositely-oriented helical gears or gear faces.
One arrangement is called stable, and the other unstable.
In a stable arrangement, the helical gear faces are oriented so that each axial force is directed toward the center of the gear. In an unstable arrangement, both axial forces are directed away from the center of the gear. In either arrangement, the total or net axial force on each gear is zero when the gears are aligned correctly.
If the gears become misaligned in the axial direction, the unstable arrangement generates a net force that may lead to disassembly of the gear train, while the stable arrangement generates a net corrective force. If the direction of rotation is reversed, the direction of the axial thrusts is also reversed, so a stable configuration becomes unstable, and conversely. Stable double helical gears can be directly interchanged with spur gears without any need for different bearings.
A bevel gear is shaped like a right circular cone with most of its tip cut off. When two bevel gears mesh, their imaginary vertices must occupy the same point.
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Their shaft axes also intersect at this point, forming an arbitrary non-straight angle between the shafts. The angle between the shafts can be anything except zero or degrees. Bevel gears with equal numbers of teeth and shaft axes at 90 degrees are called miter US or mitre UK gears. Spiral bevel gears can be manufactured as Gleason types circular arc with non-constant tooth depth , Oerlikon and Curvex types circular arc with constant tooth depth , Klingelnberg Cyclo-Palloid Epicycloid with constant tooth depth or Klingelnberg Palloid.
Spiral bevel gears have the same advantages and disadvantages relative to their straight-cut cousins as helical gears do to spur gears. Note: The cylindrical gear tooth profile corresponds to an involute, but the bevel gear tooth profile to an octoid. Furthermore, the "involute bevel gear sets" cause more noise.
Hypoid gears resemble spiral bevel gears except the shaft axes do not intersect. The pitch surfaces appear conical but, to compensate for the offset shaft, are in fact hyperboloids of revolution. Depending on which side the shaft is offset to, relative to the angling of the teeth, contact between hypoid gear teeth may be even smoother and more gradual than with spiral bevel gear teeth, but also have a sliding action along the meshing teeth as it rotates and therefore usually require some of the most viscous types of gear oil to avoid it being extruded from the mating tooth faces, the oil is normally designated HP for hypoid followed by a number denoting the viscosity.
Also, the pinion can be designed with fewer teeth than a spiral bevel pinion, with the result that gear ratios of and higher are feasible using a single set of hypoid gears. Whereas a regular nonhypoid ring-and-pinion gear set is suitable for many applications, it is not ideal for vehicle drive trains because it generates more noise and vibration than a hypoid does.
Bringing hypoid gears to market for mass-production applications was an engineering improvement of the s. Crown gears or contrate gears are a particular form of bevel gear whose teeth project at right angles to the plane of the wheel; in their orientation the teeth resemble the points on a crown. A crown gear can only mesh accurately with another bevel gear, although crown gears are sometimes seen meshing with spur gears. A crown gear is also sometimes meshed with an escapement such as found in mechanical clocks. Worms resemble screws. A worm is meshed with a worm wheel , which looks similar to a spur gear.
Worm-and-gear sets are a simple and compact way to achieve a high torque, low speed gear ratio. For example, helical gears are normally limited to gear ratios of less than while worm-and-gear sets vary from to A worm gear is a species of helical gear, but its helix angle is usually somewhat large close to 90 degrees and its body is usually fairly long in the axial direction.
These attributes give it screw like qualities.
Finite element analyses and simulations of gears and gear drives
The distinction between a worm and a helical gear is that at least one tooth persists for a full rotation around the helix. If this occurs, it is a 'worm'; if not, it is a 'helical gear'. A worm may have as few as one tooth. If that tooth persists for several turns around the helix, the worm appears, superficially, to have more than one tooth, but what one in fact sees is the same tooth reappearing at intervals along the length of the worm.
The usual screw nomenclature applies: a one-toothed worm is called single thread or single start ; a worm with more than one tooth is called multiple thread or multiple start. The helix angle of a worm is not usually specified. Instead, the lead angle, which is equal to 90 degrees minus the helix angle, is given. In a worm-and-gear set, the worm can always drive the gear. However, if the gear attempts to drive the worm, it may or may not succeed. Particularly if the lead angle is small, the gear's teeth may simply lock against the worm's teeth, because the force component circumferential to the worm is not sufficient to overcome friction.
In traditional music boxes, however, the gear drives the worm, which has a large helix angle.