Parametric Planetary Gearbox

by chowderhead, published

Parametric Planetary Gearbox by chowderhead Jan 12, 2013

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Check out my Customizer version for many improvements over this design and cleaner code, even! http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:46700

Change sun and annulus (ring) teeth count, the number of planetary gears and (almost) everything else is done for you. Uses gear calculator (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:43878) and the awesome involute gear library (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3575).

The stls are mixed now (sorry) those suffixed _new are generated with the latest version of PlanetGearsV2 and those with prefix herring are (obviously) for printing a herring bone version, including parts for intermediate stage. The two stage herringbone gearbox will yield a ratio of almost 30:1.

Other STLs will build a spur gear, three-planetary 5.45 gearbox to be mounted to a NEMA17 motor and having a NEMA17-like output to attach to whatever. The SCAD is the handy item, though.

Pictures of single stage spur design and two stage herringbone geared design.


01.22.13 - redid the herringbone routine, again, this time I think I got it right and I've released this from WIP status having built a few working gearboxes. The carrier ring is now part of the annulus, making for much nicer gear teeth, stiffer case and simpler construction. Added an index mark to one of the mounts to facilitate aligning annulus halves during assembly. Elongated hole in motor mount for tightening sun gear set screw. Assembly is now a breeze.

Published a gear calculator as a separate thing (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:43878) since it can be used for more than this.

01.17.13 - completed assembly of a herringbone geared, two stage planetary gearbox. Still some tuning to be done, but the process (below) went surprisingly well.

01.16.13 - found a fatal flaw in the herringbone implementation and finally resolved it. The v2 scad has been corrected. Verified that herringbone multi-stage gearboxes can be assembled, but not a task for the impatient. Elaborate below.

01.15.13 - uploaded v2 of planetgears.scad which now has the ability to produce double helical gears (self-aligning, a nice feature coupled with the next feature). Since the design is stackable, I figured it would be nice to make it easy to build multiple stages. There's a module for rendering intermediate planetary carriers that have a built-in sun gear.

For the noob (like me): Print annuluses (annuli?) singly and slowly (30mm/s) with lots of cooling. Group like-height gears (i.e. intermediate and sun) and again print slowly with even more cooling. Print the planet gears on a raft and simply shave off the support - lots of cooling, again. Doing this saves a lot of knife and file time.

Note that the script tests whether the design can be assembled or not. If any of the rules are violated (echos "false" to any rule) the design can't be assembled. The script will happily render parts that can't be made into a working gearbox, so make sure the design is valid before rendering the final version and printing. Changing the number of teeth in the sun or annulus or the number of planetary gears will allow you to arrive at a design that works. Visit http://www.wmberg.com/tools/ and use their handy scripts to check if designs can be assembled or just render the script with various combinations of teeth.

The present design uses a 624 bearing for each planetary and a 608 for the output, though all is adjustable. There are a stack of 3-4 washers under each 624 to provide clearance between the carrier and the planet gears. The output shaft is an M8 bolt and there is a washer between the carrier and the output bearing.

Haven't done a lot of testing with this, yet, but don't foresee any serious trouble. The first one is going on the caulk extruder (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:39954).

A single stage is comprised of:
3x gear_planetary
3x M4x16(maybe 20mm?) screws
3x M4 lock nuts
9x or 12x M4 washers
M8 bolt of desired length
2x M8 washer
3x 624 bearings
608 bearing
M3 screws of length and count for assembling case

For each additional stage:
3x gear_planetary
3x M4x16(maybe 20mm?) screws
3x M4 lock nuts
9x or 12x M4 washers

If necessary, clean the gears up with a small screwdriver blade, razor knife and some sort of abrasive - makes a huge difference in ease of assembly and improved performance. Careful printing will largely eliminate the need for this.

I've developed the habit of assembling the gearbox without the motor end attached and then rotating the sun gear by hand to assure that everything works as hoped.

Construction of single stage with spur gears is pretty straightforward.

Herringbone gears are a bit trickier to assemble. The annulus is split and the two halves are "spun" (not as easy as I make it sound) onto an assembled carrier that includes the sun gear/intermediate gear.

Assembling multiple stages is trivial with spur gears, not so with herringbone gears. Get ready for many traverses across the fun/frustrating border:

With herringbone gears, start at the output end; press the M8 bolt into the output carrier first. Put the planetary gears on loosely and then work the sun/intermediate gear into them so it meshes and then tighten the planetary gear screws. Place the output half on and work the planetary gears to mesh with it. Put the output end on with a washer on both sides of the bearing. Spin an M8 nut onto the output shaft to keep the whole thing together.

If multi-stage, assemble the intermediate planet gears with bearings, washers and screws so they're ready for placement on the intermediate carrier and set aside. Rotate the intermediate so that the nut traps are exposed and put M4 lock nuts in place. From here on out, keep the gearbox oriented output-up or the nuts risk falling out. During assembly, align the index mount to keep the annulus gear teeth oriented properly. Mesh the input intermediate half annulus with the planet gears without dislodging the M4 nuts. Do the same with the output intermediate half annulus with gear teeth down. Carefully screw on all three planetary gears onto the intermediate carrier and meshing with the intermediate output half annulus - don't tighten the screws yet. Work the sun gear into mesh with the planet gears as above, once meshed, tighten the screws. Spin on the input half and rotate the sun gear so that the set screw is facing the motor mount slot. Put on the assembled motor end, push screws through the mounts and tighten the whole package. Tighten the set screw.

Would appreciate input on proper gear design (clearance, lash, etc.); I ain't no mechanical engineer, just a hack. Also some guidance on choosing a good lubricant would be appreciated; currently using white lithium.

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wanted to edit the output end to accept 2 625 bearings (taller and smaller with land in the middle) and edit the carrier to accept 5mm bolt so would be the same as nema 17 output , but when i open the files in sketchup the measurements come out WAY off.. any help? just single stage.. gears and motor end printed great by the way. settings in cura .15 layer height,.5 wall thickness, 240c at 50 mm/sec with abs .. printed all 3 planet gears together but would probably have less fuzz if printed separate.. still run smooth (by hand) with minimal cleanup.. want to see how it'll work with airtrippers extruder..

When I import STLs into Sketchup, it assumes the units are inches, so I use the scale tool, click on a corner, then type in 0.03937008 to scale models down to mm.

Thank you very much Jeff, I completely missed that one. I've just got used to sketchup and it's easy. been spending some time trying to learn openscad and I'm getting there but I'm old and slow.

I'm afraid I've never even downloaded sketchup, so will be of no use on that front. The script for the customizer version (http://thingiverse.com/thing:46700)thingiverse.com/thing:46700) is cleaner, so you might want to try it out instead.

I'm actually working on a 625 version for a similar reason - I want to make the Push-Me-Pull-You extruder work with the MkVII drive gear so I can double extrude 3mm filament. If you get yours going, please post the derivative!

did you draw all the parts in openscad? never used it and can't seem to get the output stl to agree with sketchup measurements..

BTW if you get it worked out ,, post it also ,, i'll keep trying.
Oh, and thanks for the work you've already done. it looks like it's going to be a sweet little gearbox. i done drews box ,, it turned out beautiful but geez it's massive,, it'd drive a tank, never bought the bearings to finish it ,, gave it away to a friend playing with some robotics.

I tried sketchup with some other things after I was aware of this ,, seems all files from openscad disagree with sketchup measurements

No, it never gets easy, but it always stays fun. Well most of the time.

Seriously, try the script from the customizer version - it'll do everything better and I'm intending to keep up with that script while probably orphaning this one.

I am impressed. :)

The planetary gears printed at the lowest ratio did not really have any inner support holding the teeth together. I haven't looked at the stl file yet to see if it is a printing problem or code / gear limitation yet.

I upped the wall thickness and gears printed great .. actually teeth were completely filled ,, mess around with your setting and print one gear at a time. keep layer height low for best print and fit. point 5 in cura seemed to work best for me,, i tried one at point 8 and teeth came out sort of rounded ,, didn't mesh for crap.. now we need a plastic recycler LOL,, got buttloads of stuff need to use to make new parts.

I assume you're trying the Customizer version?

Try increasing the ring diameter.

tis truly eleganant. good deriving methodology. i`m looking forward to this being my first project after completing construction of my printer after procuring more steppers and hot ends. then filament for everybody!

Thank you! Derive away, please...

Great design!
Do you think it is strong enough to be use as an extruder for 3mm filament?


Probably too high a final ratio in the provided STLs - E_steps is likely to be quite high, necessitating some tweaking down of extruder drive acceleration to ensure retraction works as desired. Structurally, it should be adequate. Be sure to share your design if you do this as I was planning on trying that, too...