October 5, 2023
Continuing my rant on over-reliance on commercial software The gears are the easy part. My clients and students have grown tired of my repeating that mantra, but I remain confident in its truth. It has never been easier to design and make high-quality gears. The combined, distilled brilliance of our predecessors provides a nearly foolproof guide to specifying gears that quietly go about transmitting the loads we need — until they don’t, and then the drama begins. Because in the fine print, the portion of the standard no one reads, is “understandings” about operating conditions, and lubrication, and alignment, and mountings, and starting loads, i.e. — lots of potential things that can ruin our beautiful gears. If those gremlins are kept at bay, there is still the danger of self-inflicted cost problems, impossible tolerances or assembly issues. Gear Technology is a “gear” magazine, and our content focuses on the “easy” part of machine design. Occasionally we publish a paper that covers the “rest” of the gearbox, but mostly we stick to the revolving toothed elements — just like commercial software. Well-designed gears are where successful projects start, and it is our mission to advance that science. Your mission includes understanding all the “non-gear” aspects of machine design and operation. Bearings, seals, fasteners, keyways, interference fits, material science, thermal processing, and tolerancing are all worthy fields of study on their own. They all require some of your attention if you want your gears to enjoy a long and happy life. And what gear guy or gear gal would want anything else? Should we be including more content on things other than gears?