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Gears can also be cut from nylon which is a

Machining processes

Several methods can be used to cut a gear wheel

1) Milling
2) Grinding
3) Shaping on a gear shaping machine
4) Gear Hobbing
5) Wire erosion (this is not a conventional method of machining but is worth

The first method that will be explained is milling a gear wheel. Milling a gear wheel
is probably the most common and universally used method in industry for one of and
small batches of gears. In this case cutting the gear will be undertaken on a horizontal
milling machine. Milling a gear involves the use of a dividing head and a specially
designed cutter which gashes out the tooth spaces on the blank this method is never
used to manufacture large quantities of gears but for odd one off jobs it is invaluable
providing a sufficient range of gear cutting tools is available as under this system of
production at least 8 are required to produce different pitches. However this is a
compromise as the profile of a gear tooth varies for each diameter and pitch. The 8
cutters referred to is an average and the gears cut using this system of cutters will give
satisfactory service. The set of eight cutters is shown in the table bellow.

Cutter number Number of teeth on the gear

1 135
2 55 – 135
3 35 – 54
4 26 – 34
5 21 – 25
6 17 – 20
7 14 – 16
8 12 – 13

One of the above cutters is shown bellow

When cutting a gear on a milling machine several precautions should be observed

1) Ensure that all the gear teeth are cut concentrically to the bore of the gear.
2) Consistently cut the teeth to the same depth each time a tooth is cut.
3) Set the cutting tool accurately on the centre of the gear blank.

The solutions to the above precautions are fairly simple and easily applied when
manufacturing a gear wheel.
The solution to number one is to ensure that the blank is running true in the
dividing head or if the blank is held by another method clock up the bore with a dial
gauge and adjust unit it runs true.
Solution number two is to sink the cutter to the depth marked on it or obtain it through
the following formula.

2.25 × M (module)

2.25 × 6 = 13.50
This amount of material could not be removed in one cut but would have to be
removed in two or more cuts maybe two rough cuts and one finishing cut.
The solution to number 3 is to traverse the table on the y axis raising the z axis a small
amount each time until the cutter marks the centre of the blank.

Gear grinding

Gear shaping

This employs a vertical shaping action for cutting and a master gear as the cutter. The
work is centrally mounted adjacent to the shaping head which carries the cutting tool
which is mounted on a saddle which is carried on a horizontal traverse slide. The
machine can be operated to cut in the downward stroke or on the upward stroke the
method used depends on the circumstances of the work. The spindle on which the
work is mounted has an index gear which causes a rotary movement which indexes
the work round. The shaping process by the very nature of its arrangement permits a
wide range of work to be undertaken and is able to be operated on any class of gear
outside the range of and capacity of other methods. Two example of such work are
internal gears and cluster gears. In each case the mode of cutter mounting combined
with the shaping action of the ram enables the travel of the cutter to stop before it hits
the obstructing metal chips. This method f cutting teeth is not confined to cutting
gears but can be used to cut any type of teeth that are formed by rolling round of a
circular cutter with teeth of a suitable form.
Gear Hobbing
This process involves the use of the principle of a gear meshing with a rotating worm
screw this is necessary for the forming of involute teeth. The worm in this case is
known as the hob it has threads of a straight sided rack formation which is gashed into
the blank and the form then relieved similar to that of a relieved milling cutter except
that the relieving process occurs along the screw instead of a continuous straight turn
round the cutter. The positions of the hob and the gear are similar to that of a worm
and wheel except during the process of cutting the gear the hob is traversed across the
face of the gear and is tilted so that it is presents the threads parallel to the gear face
and parallel to the gear axis. This system is used for cutting straight spur gears. For
heliacal gears, the angle which the hob is set so that its threads lie on the helix angle
of the teeth being cut. The hob is driven at cutting speed and by a geared connexion
the blank is rotated at the same speed as it would if it were a worm wheel of the same
number a of teeth driven by the hob acting as the worm. The cutting of the teeth is
performed by the continuous cutting process all round the blank, the hob starting at
one edge and travelling across the face by a slow feed. This aspect of continuous
cutting is one of the advantages in favour of hobbing as a production process due to
the fact that all other gear cutting processes involve a certain amount of lost time in
return strokes and indexing but in hobbing a continuous full depth cut develops
almost at once and the surface finish of the hob pass is just as precise.

Operation of the dividing head

When setting out to index a work piece through a desired number of divisions the first
step is to ascertain the number of turns of the crank to rotate the work piece through
one portion of a circle. Normally 40 rotations of the crank are equal to one revolution
of the work piece.
Say N divisions of the work are required. Each division will be 1/N of it
circumference. And the rotations of the crank will be 40/n


a) 12 b)

12 divisions

40/12 = 3 4/12 = 3 1/3 = 3 6/18

IE 3 complete turns of the crank and 6 holes in an 18 hole circle

17 divisions

17/40 = 2 6/17

IE 2 complete turns and 6 holes in a 17 hole circle

For the gear in the drawing

23/40 =

As can be seen from these calculations if N is greater than forty the fraction must be
converted into a suitable denominator the indexing then being done by the number of
holes equal to the numerator of the fraction.

Angular indexing

It is sometimes necessary to cut gears or slots based on an angle at the centre of

the circle on which they are spread. In this case

1 turn = 1/40th of a rotation of the work if 360˚/40 = 9˚ the number of turns is

ascertained by the following formula
Angle needed in degrees / 9 = number of turns


a) 38˚ b) 49˚ 30 minutes c) 8˚ 15 minutes

a) 38/9 = 4 2/9 = 4 12/54

IE) 4 complete turns and 12 holes on the 54 whole circles

b) 49.5 / 9 = 5.5

IE) 5.5 turn of the crank

c) 8.25 / 9 = 33/30 = 11 / 12 = 22 / 24

IE) 22 holes in a 24 hole circle

Gear cutting calculations

Before a gear is even cut there are several calculations have to be made. These can be
made by several different methods