Variable to Constant Gearbox Prototype

by MkMan, published

Variable to Constant Gearbox Prototype by MkMan Dec 3, 2010

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This is part of a study being done by Dr. Salim Azzouz of the McCoy School of Engineering at Midwestern State University. Senior Engineering students were challenged to find and/or design a gearbox that would transform a variable rotational input to an output at a constant angular velocity. This is the resulting study prototype, which uses a printed planetary gear train to accomplish the desired results.

If the single shaft is used as the input, it will drive the output (sun gear) at the same speed, however, if a different output speed is desired, the lower shaft on the other side (hub gear) can be driven faster, slower or even counter-rotated to produce the different desired output velocity.

This was a close collaboration between the students and myself in design and manufacture. Extensive work was done in SolidWorks, resulting in a functional digital assembly. The gears and carrier plate were printed on our Makerbot, the axles turned from aluminum stock on a CNC lathe and the support structure cut from Makrolon, an impact resistant, clear plastic. Delrin bearings were purchased from mcmaster.com.

Further study is planned, connecting the input and differential to motors, monitoring the velocities of each of the shafts with tachometers, recording the results at varying speeds and comparing the observed results with the theoretical calculations.

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I think I'm missing something... how is this different than a normal sun/planets gearing system?

Good question. What's different is that all three components are rotating around each other, which allows the two inputs to modify the output. In most uses of a planetary gear system, one of the components (usually the ring) is fixed.

Is this similar to the D-Drive or is it a different concept? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6zE__J0YIUhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

After looking at the video you're linking and at the gizmag site, I'd say that this thing is somewhat similar to the output end of the D-Drive. Very interesting, thanks for the heads up!

Cool transmission 8-)

it seems as if the stand is lasercut. are those files up?

Old school "laser cutter" -- I used a band saw and drill press :)

Videos of this would be awesome!

Nice work!

Good idea, I'll have to make something.

cool - what applications do your students propose?

Ahh. Very highly classified. ;) ;)

Thats nice.

I did somthing very similar a few years back (aged 15) when I was building a Lego based windmill. I needed to pass the blade angle drive through the main drive shaft, and keep it turning synchronised, but also be able to advance or retard the angular motion with respect to the main shaft, on demand.

BUT, I used a much simpler system - a differential, as used in vehicles.

Sounds cool. LEGO is amazing. . .we use it around here for introducing a number of mechanical concept.

I have photos somwhere....hope they are still buried at my parent's house. must look.

I now use planetary gearboxes to lower cameras into nuclear power stations...

This is beautiful. I will definietly print one...

I'd be very interested in what you come up with.

Nice prints. Beautiful piece of crafting.

Thank you, it's come out well.