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Gear cutting practice Gear hobbing and shaping

Gears can be cut by milling as well as by processes called gear shaping and gear hobbing. The latter two processes operate
on the principle of generation. Now whats generation ?
When a line or a surface, curved or straight, rolls on another line or surface without slip which is obtained by the
envelope of the continuously mapped conjugate points of the rolling element, the method is known as generation.
It simply means that if you have a line or surface rolling on another, the latter will be obtained by the conjugate envelop
of the positions of the former if it (it = former) were made to go through the rolling motion in space. So, if two gears are
rolling together, one of them would be conjugate envelop of the other, if the other were made to go through the motion of
rolling against the other. Hence, if you have one of a pair of rolling elements, you can get the other.

from www.mitcalc.com

The gear shaping cutter -- www.in.all.biz

Thats alright but by this method - how do you CUT the other gear with the help of an already available gear?
There can be many ways: here is one of them. Get hold of a disc with diameter of the gear that you want to cut (this is
called a blank). Get hold of the ready gear that you have with you (it should be made of hard material, have a sharp
outline and have a slant towards the back portion to give it clearance angle). Make them rotate with the rotational speeds
they would have had if they were both fully formed gears and rotating together. Now move them closer slowly (1 st fig). At
the same time make the ready gear reciprocate axially so that it cuts off all material it meets on its way, from the blank
disk. Soon you will cut a gear out of the blank . This is GEAR SHAPING.

The
cutter

The blank
in gear
shaping
process

1st fig

There is one distinct advantage of generation over other interrupted processes like milling when gear cutting is involved.
But wait, how is a gear cut by milling ?
In gear milling, we remove the tooth spaces by machining with a rotary disc type form milling cutter. You have done this already. Take
a solid disc and cut off the material belonging to the tooth spaces and you would have a gear. After one tooth space is cut off, the gear

blank is indexed (that is, rotated by the angle = 360/number of teeth) so that another gear tooth space is set in position for cutting. This
method interrupts the cutting process that leads to all kinds of errors. Further, the cutter is a form cutter which basically means that it
has a geometry formed on it which is simply copied (in reverse) onto the work pc or gear blank. This is not good as gears with
different numbers of teeth (of the same module) would have different tooth profile. A gear with 36 teeth would have slightly different
tooth profile compared to that of a gear with 35 teeth. So, theoretically, if you go for such type of blind copying you should have as
many cutters as the members of the number system !!!

Hence, in the methods employing the principle of generation, as blind copying does not occur, accuracy is always higher.
We simply need to have one of two rolling elements, which would act as the cutter and produce the other element. In case
of gear shaping (first fig), the cutter is just one gear meshing with the gear blank which is another. In case of gear hobbing
the cutter is a worm with cutting edges which removes material from the gear blank which takes the place of the worm
gear.
Btw, how do you think material removal is taking place in gear shaping ? well, perpendicular to the plane of the paper
the cutter reciprocates while rolling with the blank and this reciprocation removes material. Of course, the edges of the
cutter (cum gear) are made sharp by providing proper cutting angles.
Gear hobbing 3rd fig

Courtesy : wzl.rwth-aachen.de

Courtesy : www.maneklalexport.com

The idea of the gear shaper is easy to understand two gears rotating together in which one is the cutter and the other is a
gear to be cut. In the gear hobbing machine the cutter is a modified worm and the workpiece is a worm gear (third and
fourth pics). In case of gear shaper the cutter and the work piece roll together with rpm ratio as the inverse ration of their
teeth. In case of worm and worm gear the ratio of their rotations is k/Z (k is the number of starts on worm and Z is the
number of teeth on the worm gear try deriving this it is not difficult).
Mind you when we say a rolling pair it does not mean that one element rolls the other in these machines. Both the
elements have to be rotated through separate sources so as to create the condition of rolling, so that all the material on the
blank that does not belong to the rolling element profile, gets cut off.
Motor

I
4th fig: courtesy http://www.ustudy.in/node/4383

the 5th fig kinematic dia of gear hobbing

Now look at the kinematic diagram 5th fig. The large-diameter short-height cylinder is the blank from which the required
gear is to be cut. Its axis of rotation is vertical in the figure. The slightly inclined slender cylinder represents the Hob
cutter, which is really just a worm with cutting edges. Look at the 3 rd and 4th figs the cutter appears to have longitudinal
gash marks along its length. If it is a simple worm it should only have a helix or many helices. What are these
longitudinal gashes in that case ? These are nothing but cuts on the helices to create cutting edges. Otherwise the worm
would just have rubbed against the blank and wouldnt have been able to cut.
In case of any machine there has to be some provision for flexibility. A gear cutting machine should also be able to cut
different numbers of teeth, different helix angles, that too at different values of cutting speed and feed values. Both the
gear hobbing and the gear shaping machines have these provisions by the incorporation of gear boxes.
Hence, a speed gear box is one that changes the cutting speed and nothing else, a feed gear box changes the feed and
nothing else while an index gear box only changes the number of teeth to be cut.
There are three gear boxes V, I and S, and they control respectively the cutting speed, number of teeth to be cut and the
feed of the hob down the vertical face of the job per revolution of the job. If you look at the 3 rd fig you will notice that
the blank is half way cut down its vertical dimension. That is how we would cut in the workshop. From top to bottom. The
4th fig shows something different (though the direction of hob feed matches with ours) we dont have this situation in
the actual case. It is after all a drawing and not a photo.
The pair of rectangles with hatch lines in them (5th fig) represent a screw and nut pair used for the vertical feed. So, if
you follow the flow of power let us see how the power comes to each and every member and how, after that, it is
distributed.
Let us start from a motor a very good place to start. So, power flows first of all to the speed gear box V. From there
the power is given to the hob cutter and also to the index gear box I. After that the power flows to the workpc and also to
the screw and nut pair through the feed gear box.
Now whats the reason for which V should be the first choice for power input from motor? The answer is simple you
have no other choice. The choice is unique. Why so ?
Now that you have had a quick look at the kinematic diagram of gear hobbing let us have a look at the same for gear
shaping. In shaping also we have the same gear boxes V, S and I. Once again the speed gear box is coming first. If you
recall, the cutting speed of the cutter in shaping is obtained by reciprocating the cutter so if you follow the straight
horizontal line at the top of the fig below that is what the speed gear box is primarily doing.
But it is also doing something else it is affecting everything downstream. Wouldnt that be against what we started out
for ? We resolved in the beginning that one gear box should affect only one thing and none else.
Let us take the case of feed. Does the speed gear box affect feed ? It appears to do so in this fig but actually it does not.
But what is feed in the first place ? It is the movement of the cutter relative to the work piece that extends the cutting
action to different parts of the work piece. Hence, in this case the rotational motion of the cutter relative to the work
piece extends the cutting action to different parts of the work piece.

I
Cutter

Motor

F
i
g
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l
i
x

h
o
b
b
l
a
n
k

Cutter

H
V
o
r
i
z
If we go for a higher speed of reciprocation of the cutter by changing the speed
o gear box setting, wouldnt it make the feed
higher as well ? No it wont. This is because the feed is not defined straightforward
as the rate of circumferential
n
movement of the cutter per unit time not at all !! It is defined as the amountt of cutter rotation per stroke of the cutter.
a
l
Why would we do that ? We would do that to identify what gives us a good finish
on the work piece surface. If the
rotation of the cutter is a considerable amount per stroke, it would result in avjagged surface texture and unacceptable
e
roughness as the cut strokes would be far apart on the work surface. So, changing
the speed gear box setting would not
l
in any way affect the feed (rotation of cutter per stroke of the cutter) and hence the surface finish.
o
c
In this manner try to unravel the positions of the gear boxes why are theyi placed in the locations shown in the fig ? For
example ask yourself
t
1. What would happen if you placed V at 2 instead of 1.
y
d
2. What would happen if you placed S at 4 instead of 3.
u
3. What would happen if you placed I at 6 instead of 5
e
t
You can try the same thing with the gear hobbing machine. Look at the numerical
problem supplied and solve it.
o
a
A word on hobbing.
d
d
A closer look at the gear hobbing machine is necessary when you are cuttingihelical teeth.
t
Now, the combination of movements discussed for the hobbing machine would
i produce a spur gear which means that
the teeth would be parallel to the axis of rotation of the gear. If a helical gearohas to be produced, the hob cutter axis
n
inclination changes and the ratio of the rotational speeds of the job and the cutter
has to be somewhat modified.
a
l
r
Motor
o
t
a
V
t
Fig
i
o
helix
A
I
n
S
a
l
D
m
Why is this so ?
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t
i
o
n
o
f

h
e
b
If the ratio of the rotational speed of the cutter (hob) to that of the blank (gearl to be cut) is maintained as k/Z, a vertical
a
downward feed of the hob would extend the cutting action vertically down. Thus,
the teeth would be produced parallel to
n
the axis of the blank (Spur). Please note that the cutter also needs to be inclined
so
that its teeth would be in line with the
k

potential cut to be taken on the work pc.

However, if the ratio of the rotational speeds is selected to be slightly more or less than k/Z, a vertical downward feed of
the hob would result in inclined (helical) teeth cut on the blank surface. This is because, the cut that would otherwise have
extended vertically down, is now staggered to one side due to an additional horizontal velocity component coming from
the additional rotation of the workpc in excess of the rotational motion it is supposed to have for rolling with the worm
(hob). This results in a helical cut of the teeth.
blank
Horizontal velocity due
to additional rotational
motion of the blank

hob

Downward
feed

Helix
direction

The additional component (positive or negative) of rotation of the blank is provided by tapping power from point A in the
fig helix, led through a gear box D and finally added to the rotation of the work pc through a mechanism called a
differential. The differential adds up two components of rotation for the blank: one for the maintenance of the rotation
ratio k/Z (which determines the number of teeth to be cut) and the other for any helical component, if required. The helical
component, as mentioned before, is obtained through the gear box D and the latter provides for different helical angles to
be cut. Hence, if you want spur, disconnect the line with gear box D. If you want helical keep it connected and select the
correct value of D.
So, in the Hobbing machine, one (1) extra rotation is provided to the work pc through the gearbox D and via the
differential for a total downward travel of the Hob equal to the Lead of the helix of the gear to be cut. This extra one
rotation is in addition to the rotations that the work piece is undergoing with meshing worm (hob).

If you unroll the


helix this is the
line you get

Circumference
e

LEAD

Helical gear

Look at the mechanism below. Here, there is option for introducing two rotations as
input the large gear rotation (light orange) and the arm rotation (blue). The output
is the black gear rotation. Hence, two inputs and one output.

NX
A

An example of differential with bevel gears.


Here, if the right and left bevel gears are rotated (two inputs) at same speed but in
opposite directions (looking from same end, black arrows), the central bevel gear
would only have rotation. In other cases it would have revolution as well which
is appearing as the green arrow as shown in fig. This is the output of this differential.
Output and inputs are interchangeable.

Now suppose that in the bevel gear differential, you rotate gear A with RPM N A and dont rotate gear B, Whats going to
happen ? (All the gears identical) Gear C will rotate and revolve so that it would set up an RPM N X in the shaft X equal
to half the rotation speed of gear A. That is, NX = NA.
More later.