No Stupid Questions

One of the pleasures of being Gear Technology’s official blogger is receiving the occasional phone call or e-mail query on gears. I truly enjoy talking about gears and try my best to treat every inquirer with respect and to point them in the direction of developing their own solution. There are no stupid questions and no good comes from pretending we have some secret vault of information that can only be visited by experts.

As a consultant, I do not expect clients to pay for me to get educated. When a recent caller told me, after I walked him through the resolution of his bevel gear design problem in fifteen minutes, that another expert wanted to charge him $7,000 for “research, design, and analysis,” it made me shake my head. Our profession needs less “man-behind-the-curtain” elitism and more effort at increasing the general gear knowledge level.

AGMA was founded, in part, to improve the reputation of gear makers at a time when wild and confusing claims were being made about accuracy, power transmission capacity, and material properties. A hundred years ago, the problem was viewed as a lack of scientific evidence and design standards. The AGMA worked that problem and today, we have plenty of science, many consensus standards, and thousands of reference articles.

Most of that information can be accessed from your personal computer or smart phone; still, people have questions. And we “experts” have an obligation to educate them — at least to the point where they recognize keywords and can access that tremendous vault of information our predecessors labored to assemble.

Our online archive is of little help to people who do not know the “lingo.” Through the ongoing “Ask the Expert” feature, we try to help newbies begin their study or to help them learn where to go for help. If assisting in those tasks appeals to you, we are always looking for volunteer technical editors.

This blog needs a new perspective as well. Six more posts and I close out 50 full and rewarding years in the gear trade. Contact the magazine ( if you are interested in the assignment.

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