New Thinking on Old Topics

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

Claude Gosselin’s origin story reminds us that not everyone shares our enthusiasm for these ubiquitous but complicated artifacts. Just showing an image of a gear, especially a revolving gear, signals the “civilian” brain that strange mathematical magic is loose in the pages or minutes ahead. Most folks find their eyes glazing over; so many that “MEGO” is an actual shorthand for zoning out or changing the subject.

I admire Dr. Gosselin for not only staying the course but on applying new and unique thinking to the field. When the AGMA Helical Gear Rating Committee discussed 3D modeling and finite element modeling in the late 1970s and 1980s, few of us appreciated the need to develop such expertise. We were content to just computerize the equations derived over the years and argue over inflection points.

Thankfully, pioneers like Claude stuck with it and today’s 3D CAD packages can render extremely accurate models of all types of gear teeth. So accurate that 3D printing can produce useable samples from increasingly strong materials. It is not a stretch to claim that our entire industry could be permanently changed because very bright young engineers used new ways of thinking about long “settled” topics. We curmudgeons need to remember this when other innovations are proposed.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan from “The Times They Are A’Changing”: Get out of the way if you can’t lend a hand. Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.

About Charles D. Schultz 678 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.