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Rack & Pinion Design Calculations

Problem Statement: -
A rack and pinion system have to be design to slide a load of 800 kg (1.2mt X 1mt X.8mt)
by 2.75mt (approx.)

Designing of Support System to carry the bearing load of Container

To Support this bearing load, we can go for any “Linear Rail Guide System” according to
our design constraints and type of application. (I don’t have the complete details of the

Note- Roller Bearing type guides are more effective but they are costly.

Design calculations for Rack and Pinion-

Parameter 1- Tooth Profile
For most of the Industrial Application, there are two types of gear profile available in the
 Straight Teeth (Spur Type)
 Helical Teeth (Helical Type)
Since the Helical gears provide smoother and quieter operational advantage over Spur gears
but I am selecting Spur gear here due to the following reasons-
 Speed is not that high, hence there will be no noise and heat problem (the main
problem using spur gear.
 Single Helical gears has the axial thrust problem during operation.
 Spur gears are simple in design and installation as well.

Parameter 2- Gear Tooth System

The following four systems of gear teeth are commonly used in practice:
 14 /2° Composite System
 14 /2° Full depth involute system
 20° Full depth involute system
 20° Stub involute system.
A little consideration and research shows that 20° Full depth involute system is mostly used
in Rack and Pinion system; hence my calculation will be based on this system.

Parameter 3- Selection of Material

Common material used for this kind of application-
 Alloy steel
 Carbon Steel
 Stainless Steel
 Cast Iron
After doing some iterations and also keeping the cost effectiveness of product in mind, I
selected Case Hardened Carbon steel.
Now the question is whether both the Rack and Pinion should be of same material or they
should be of different material.
A little consideration will show that, if we keep the same material for both Rack & Pinion;
Pinion will be the weaker one (Since the pinion has less number of teeth as compare to Rack).
We can overcome this problem either by using stronger material for pinion or taking higher
factor of safety for pinion as compare to Rack.
Availability of different material for Rack & Pinion in the market will give a clear picture
about this hence I am taking Carbon Steel as a Pinion Material.
Ultimate Strength of Plain Carbon Steel- 375~400 Mpa

Parameter 4- Space Limitation

Height of the container is 150mm, so we have only 150mm to accommodate the Rack &
pinion in the system.
After a little bit calculation, I selected the Pitch Diameter of pinion 60mm.
Note- Speed of the Rack is 1 mt/minute.

Parameter 5- Tangential Force Calculation

 Mass of the container = 800 Kg
 Speed of the Rack (v) = 1 mt/min or 1/60 mt/sec
 Friction between Rail Guides= 0.3~0.6 (Basically depends upon two factors: a)
Type of Lubrication between Guides b) Type of Rail Guides- Roller type or slider
 Acceleration Time = 1 sec (Let suppose)
 Load Service Factor Cs = 1.25 (Taken from Design Data Hand Book)

 Velocity Factor Cv =3/(3+v) (Taken from Design Data Hand Book for industrial
gear operating up to 10 mt/sec speed)
Parameter 6- Module(m) and No of teeth (T) calculation
 Minimum no of teeth on pinion to avoid interference for 20° Full depth involute
system is 18.

 Pitch diameter of Pinion (D) – 100 mm (As per the space limitations)
 No of Teeth on Pinion – 20 (This value is taken after few iteration of tooth stress and
also keeping in mind that module value should be minimum for calculated tangential
We Know That, Module(m) = D/T
Note- The recommended series of modules in Indian Standard are 1, 1.25, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5,
6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20, 25, 32, 40 and 50.

Parameter 5- Tooth Face Width (b)Calculation

We have fixed the pitch circle diameter, we have calculated the module and number of teeth.
Also we have calculated the Total tangential force.
Now we have to calculate one more important parameter- Tooth Face Width (b)
Below is the hand calculation of tooth face width by using Lewis Equation-
Pitch Circle Diameter of Pinion- 60mm
No of Teeth – 20
Module – 3
Tooth Face width – 42mm
Rest of the parameters like Addendum, Dedendum, Working Depth, Tooth Thickness,
Minimum Clearance etc… will automatically calculate from the above data.
We can also calculate the rpm of pinion by using below formula-
N= (30*v)/𝜋D

Also the Rack Tooth profile will design as per the mating gear data. Length of the Rack and
total no of teeth will be decided according to the container’s displacement length and space
availability in the system.