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In this unusual mechanism three gears mesh together in pairs, and yet they can turn!
If you take three ordinary gears and put them together so that each gear meshes with the other two, then none of the gears can turn because neighbouring gears must turn in opposite directions. Triple gear avoids this problem by having the three "gears" arranged like linked rings - the gears then rotate along skew axes, and the opposite direction rule no longer applies (although see also Oskar van Deventer's Magic Gears for another possible solution).
This is joint work with Saul Schleimer. We were inspired by another of Oskar's designs, his Knotted Gear, which consists of two linked rings that gear with each other, and of course we wondered if it would be possible to do three linked rings!
Paper describing the mathematics behind the Triple gear, and how we designed it.
Triple gear (solid) is a non-hollow version, which should make it easier to produce on a home printer.
Baseplate and axle for Triple gear is designed to work with this, and gives a way to drive the gears using a motor. For axles without the baseplate or motor fitting, see 15cm axle for Triple gear and 30cm axle for Triple gear.
Triple gear is also available at Shapeways.
Things that could be improved upon:
Triple gear by henryseg is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution license.
So what's this mean?
We're sure henryseg would love to see what you've printed - take a photo and share it on Thingiverse as a Make.
To post a Make simply visit this Thing again and click I Made One to start uploading your photo. You can also download the Thingiverse Mobile app (available via Google Play and Apple App Store) to take a photo and upload your Make right from the app!