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For many years, when gear engineers have been confronted with tough problems either in the field or on the drawing board, one of the inevitable suggestions has been, "Ask Darle Dudley," or "Check the Dudley book." That's not surprising. With more than fifty years' experience in gear design and credits for five books (with translations in French, German, Spanish and Italian), numerous papers, lectures, and patents, and a worldwide reputation as a gear expert, Darle Dudley's position as one of the men to ask when dealing with knotty gear problems is unassailable.
Darle Dudley, an internationally known gear engineer, of San Diego, CA, died April 11 of hear problems and a serious infection. He was 86 years old.
In his Handbook of Gear Design (Ref.1), Dudley states (or understates): "The best gear people around the world are now coming to realize that metallurgical quality is just as important as geometric quality." Geometric accuracy without metallurgical integrity in any highly stressed gear or shaft would only result in wasted effort for all concerned - the gear designer, the manufacturer, and the customer - as the component's life cycle would be prematurely cut short. A carburized automotive gear or shaft with the wrong surface hardness, case depth or core hardness may not even complete its basic warranty period before failing totally at considerable expense and loss of prestige for the producer and the customer. The unexpected early failure of a large industrial gear or shaft in a coal mine or mill could result in lost production and income while the machine is down since replacement components may not be readily available. Fortunately, this scenario is not common. Most reputable gear and shaft manufacturers around the world would never neglect the metallurgical quality of their products.
Before retiring from St. Louis Gear in 2000, Roy Harmon liked to tinker. Since the customer base at the time was seasonal, Harmon was looking for a project to keep himself busy. The engineer decided to challenge himself by designing a “South Pointing Chariot,” a device he had read about in the book The Evolution of the Gear Art by Darle Dudley.