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Carl A.


Similarity and Equivalence of Nutating Mechanisms to Bevel Epicyclic Gear Trains for Modeling and Analysis
This paper addresses similarities between various nutating or wobbling mechanisms, in particular kinematic similarities. A case is made for the generalization of these mechanisms into a mechanism class having common kinematic characteristics, which is typied by bevel epicyclic gear trains. A similarity index is proposed to describe the quality of kinematic similarity, with the best degree of similarity termed equivalence. It is proposed that kinematic analysis of mechanisms belonging to this class can be simplied by modeling them as bevel-gear trains, and that static-force, power-ow, and efciency analyses can also be greatly simplied in the case of equivalent mechanisms. Simplied kinematic, force, and efciency analyses are demonstrated for a unique wobbling speed reducer using this new concept of equivalent geared mechanisms. DOI: 10.1115/1.1829068 Keywords: Equivalent Mechanisms, Bevel Gear Trains, Epicyclic Gear Trains, Nutating Mechanisms, Wobbling Mechanisms, Kinematic Analysis, Power-Flow Analysis, StaticForce Analysis, Efciency Analysis

Raymond J. Cipra
e-mail: School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 585 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2088

Overview of Wobbling Mechanisms

In this discussion, the terms wobble and nutate indicate motion satisfying two conditions: the axis of symmetry of the wobbling or nutating body traces a cone, and there is no net angular displacement of the body about that cones axis of symmetry as the body wobbles through one cycle. The bodys instant center is at the apex of the traced cone. An easily visualized example of this type of motion is a bevel-gear pair having the same number of teeth on both gears. A wobbling or nutating body is typically axisymmetric. The wobble-gear speed reducer or simply wobble gear shown in Fig. 1 is one of many devices which have been developed to take advantage of the unique effects of wobbling or nutating sometimes called wabbling motion. Some of these devices are themselves speed reducers, but many others use a wobbling motion to achieve such results as motion indexing and rotational-to-linear motion conversion 1,2 . The wobble gear will serve as the principal case study in this paper. Its operation is as follows. In the physical embodiment of the device under consideration, link 2 has N 2 teeth, and link 4 has (N 2 1) teeth. Link 2 is constrained from net rotation by the cam pair the tabs protruding from link 2 ride in a xed slot . With one revolution of the input link 3 , the wobbling member link 2 nutates through 360 deg of rolling contact on its mating gear, the output link 4 . Thus, the difference in teeth of links 2 and 4 causes link 4 to precess with a reduction ratio of (1 N 2 ):1. An example of the rotational-to-linear motion mechanism type 2 is shown in Fig. 2. In this mechanism, gear B has 46 teeth and is driven with the driving wheels of a mowing machine. Gear C the wobbling member has 48 teeth and is constrained to not rotate, but it can pivot on gimbal joint D. Thus for one revolution of gear B, gear C must oscillate 23 times the number of teeth of B divided by the difference in tooth numbers of C and B , which corresponds to 23 rotations of guide member H on shaft E. Ball joint K is attached to the cutter bar of the mowing machine, and
Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received August 9, 2003; revised April 22, 2004. Associate Editor: S. G. K. Anathasuresh.

with each revolution of the driving wheels of the mowing machine and gear B , the cutter bar is actuated in a scissor motion 23 times. This motion is approximately linear since the length of frame J is large and its angular displacement is small. Additionally, the path of ball joint K remains approximately in the plane of the page. In spite of the fact that this mechanism is used to convert rotational motion to translation, links C and B are in fact a kinematic inversion of links 2 and 4 of the wobble-gear speed reducer in Fig. 1. Treating linkage E-H-J as the input and considering gear B the output would result in a kinematically equivalent submechanism C-B to links 2 and 4 of the wobble gear having 48 and 46 teeth. The motion of member J at ball joint K is analogous to the cam pair of the wobble gear. It will be shown later that the wobble gear, the mower-bar actuator just described, and a host of other mechanisms may all be described as a mechanism family, or in other words as either similar or equivalent mechanisms using the terminology outlined in the next section. Figure 3 is a diagram of a mechanism which uses a wobbling motion to create discrete, indexed displacement 1 . Connecting rods 6 and 6 are connected to the wobble plate by spherical joints and to a pair of concentric ratcheting indexers by revolute joints, effectively creating a pair of four-bar mechanisms. The wobble plate is kept from rotating by pins A and A , which ride in slots in the housing. Thus one rotation of the input shaft 1 causes link 2 to wobble, the four-bar is actuated, and the ratchet is indexed. Although these two mechanisms are very interesting applications of wobbling motion, probably the most widespread implementation of such motion is found in piston-cylinder or slidercrank mechanisms which, like the mowing machine of Fig. 2, are of the rotational-to-linear motion conversion type. Wobble-plate compressors and engines have an extensive history 3 . Figure 4 shows one of many examples of wobbling slider-crank mechanisms given by Artobolevsky 1 . Note the similarity of the piston rods here to members 6 and 6 in Fig. 3. Wobble plate 2 is attached to connecting rods 4 and 4 at spherical joints B and B . Since rollers b and b are guided in slots in the housing, constrainMARCH 2005, Vol. 127 269

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Fig. 4 Wobble-plate compressor2 Fig. 1 tion a The wobble gear and b its functional representa-

Fig. 2 Mower-bar mechanism1

Fig. 3 Ratcheting indexer2

speed reducers employ geared nutators wobbling elements , like the wobble gear, and others use friction plates 4 , rolling elements with sinusoidally contoured cam surfaces 57 , or toothlike cams t into mating cams with rolling elements 8 to transfer torque from the nutator to the output. Many of these mechanisms have nutators which wobble about a point three-dimensional mechanisms , but some place this point at innity and thus have nutators which wobble about a xed axis 6 and are thus planar mechanisms much like the common sun-ring-planet epicyclic gear set. This similarity will be expanded upon later in this paper. Whatever their differences, all of these mechanisms contain some similarities in terms of their motion. In other words, some characteristics of their motion are either similar or identical. The question remains: are all of these described mechanisms similar enough to be fully described by a single method or kinematic analysis technique? The answer to this question is no. However, whether they use cam joints, gear joints, other higher pairs, or combinations of lower pairs, many of them in fact can be kinematically described as a mechanism class or family, due to the kinematic similarities present. We dene this mechanism class to include, but not be limited to, all mechanisms with wobbling motion as dened earlier, the class being typied by bevel epicyclic gear trains. The class can also include some mechanisms which do not wobble, one example of which will be given hereafter. The majority of mechanisms which belong to the proposed mechanism class are probably considered somewhat unconventional or nonstandard by many designers. Because of this, analysis of these mechanisms is typically carried out in an ad hoc fashion, without a unied set of techniques to assist the designer. The motivation of this research is to develop an understanding of the ways in which these mechanisms are similar, and then to use this understanding to identify a set of techniques by which analysis of these mechanisms can be simplied. In the sections that follow, a convention for measurement of the degree of similarity between mechanisms is proposed, and specic modeling and analysis techniques for mechanisms with wobbling motion are presented.

ing the wobble plate from rotating out of the plane of the paper, revolution of the input shaft 1 results in actuation of the pistons 5 and 5 . While the slider-crank devices are among the most widely used of the wobbling mechanisms, there exist more than a few cases of wobbling speed reducers like the wobble gear of Fig. 1. The wobbling motion can be achieved in different ways. Some of these
1 2

Introduction to Similarity and Equivalence

The idea that two seemingly dissimilar mechanisms may embody the same or similar motion is not a new one. Hain 9 showed several examples of planar linkages in which the relative motion velocity of one or more links could be represented by a different mechanism having fewer links. In other words, replacement of a subset of links with a smaller subset of links to form an equivalent mechanism resulted in two different linkages sharing identical motion states. The intended benet of this was simplication of the kinematic analysis of the original mechanism. Transactions of the ASME

Figure taken from Ref. 2 . Figure taken from Ref. 1 .

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Fig. 5 Two-cam mechanism and its acceleration-equivalent four-bar

Fig. 6 Sun-ring-planet epicyclic spur-gear train

In the examples presented by Hain, links connected by revolute joints were replaced by different sets of links connected by revolute joints. Hall 10 demonstrated that this concept of equivalence applies to other joint types as well, such as cam joints. He showed, as an example, that a simple pair of cams like those in Fig. 5 can be expressed alternately as one of an innite number of equivalent four-bar linkages. One renement of his discussion is the discernment between velocity-equivalent mechanisms as shown by Hain 9 and acceleration-equivalent mechanisms, for which both velocity and acceleration correspond to those of the original mechanism. Hall showed that for the simple two-cam example, there exist an innity of acceleration-equivalent four-bar solutions and innity squared velocity-equivalent solutions. Whereas Halls example shown in Fig. 5 illustrates an equivalence relation between a cam mechanism and a four-bar mechanism, in this paper the same kind of relation will be illustrated for nutating mechanisms and epicyclic bevel-gear trains. In general, these equivalent mechanisms are only equivalent to their original mechanisms with respect to instantaneous motion. Their shared kinematic characteristics are only common for one snapshot of the overall motion of the mechanism. For gear trains mechanisms containing only gear and revolute joints , however, the instant centers of meshing links remain at the pitch points and revolute joint locations. Because the distances between pitch points and revolute centers do not change, the motion or speedratio properties of geared mechanisms are essentially constant throughout the full range of motion for a given input speed. This makes kinematic equivalence a much simpler problem for geared mechanisms since a single equivalent solution, once obtained, is valid for the entire range of motion instead of just a single point. As used by Hain, Hall, and others, the term equivalent indicates that the relative motion of some of the links is the same for the original mechanism and its equivalent counterpart. In this work, the term kinematically similar will be used to describe this condition. A good example of this is two gear trains whose input/ output relations are identical, but whose internal motions are different. Here, the term equivalent will be reserved for mechanisms which share identical motion for all links. If mechanism A has more links than mechanism B, they are equivalent if and only if for each link of B there is a link of A that has identical motion. Any link of A not corresponding to a link of B may have arbitrary motion. Thus, using this terminology, two mechanisms may be equivalent or similar even though they have different numbers of links. Because there exists the possibility of many mechanisms sharing a similarity relation, it is convenient to dene a description of the degree of kinematic similarity of two mechanisms. Let this be denoted as S n where n is a positive integer. Suppose mechanisms A and B are being compared, where mechanism A has at least as many links as B. For any link in mechanism B not having a speed-equivalent link in mechanism A, the index n is increased Journal of Mechanical Design

by one. Additionally, if the speeds of a pair of corresponding links in A and B are the same but the velocity vectors are not aligned, as in the case of bevel-to-planar similarity relations, n increases by 1. Kinematic equivalence is denoted by n 0, or S 0 . The best similarity comparison would be of index S 0 equivalence and involve two mechanisms with the same number of links. As demonstrated hereafter, this does not necessarily imply identical embodiments; nor does it imply identical force- or power-transmission properties. Recall that S n denotes a kinematic similarity index.

Kinematic Comparison of Wobbling and Geared Epicyclic Mechanisms

It has been asserted through a qualitative comparison that the wobbling mechanisms of Figs. 1 4 are kinematically similar to each other, assuming various geometric constraints to be satised. The same argument can be made to relate wobbling mechanisms to gear trains. Since gear-train analysis is a topic which has received a great deal of attention, this type of comparison would be benecial in the analysis of wobbling mechanisms. Here it will be shown by exhaustive derivation of kinematic relationships that all wobbling mechanisms can be at least partially modeled as gear trains for analysis purposes. The wobble gear of Fig. 1 is essentially a bevel gear set in which the wobbling component acts as a planet mounted at an angle and driven through an arm having zero length. To illustrate this and emphasize the previously discussed principle of kinematic equivalence and similarity, the kinematics of four mechanisms are compared: the simple sun-ring-planet gear train, the Humpage bevel-gear train, the harmonic drive, and the wobble gear. A line-by-line comparison of their kinematics may be the best way to demonstrate similarity and equivalence and lend credibility to the idea that they are members of a common mechanism class. Sun-Ring-Planet Planar Gear Train. The simple sun-ringplanet gear set is commonly accepted as the most basic of epicyclic gear trains. A typical representation of this train is shown in Fig. 6. The standard tabular method, or any other kinematic analysis method, gives the reduction-ratio results in Table 1, where N i is the number of teeth on link i. Using the tabular method with the table considered as a matrix having entries A i j , link i is considered xed, and the speed ratio for any other two links j and k is simply A i j /A ik . Humpage Epicyclic Bevel-Gear Train. The Humpage reduction set 11 shown in Fig. 7 is slightly more complex than the simple sun-ring-planet set in that it has a compound planet and an additional link besides being a non-planar mechanism . Both are single-degree-of-freedom linkages when one link is xed, and the effect of the extra link in the Humpage set is that MARCH 2005, Vol. 127 271

Table 1 Speed ratios for kinematic inversions of sun-ringplanet gear train Speed ratios Fixed link 1 2 3 4 1 0 1 N 2 /N 1 1 1 N 4 /N 1 2 1 N 1 /N 2 0 N 1 /N 2 1 N 4 /N 2 3 1 1 0 1 4 1 N 1 /N 4 1 N 2 /N 4 N 1 /N 4 0

there are four achievable reduction ratios based on which link is xed rather than three achievable ratios. However, the kinematic solution is similar as can be seen by examining the entries in Table 2 corresponding to links 1, 3, and 4. The tabular method as used here gives a scalar, not vector, solution for the reduction ratio. Thus, for the Humpage set, the planet velocity ratios are not dened using the tabular method since its rotation axis is not parallel to the rotation axes of all the other links 12 . In addition, constructing a case in which the planet is xed makes no sense, since for the same reason the other link velocity ratios would not be dened using the tabular method. For the simple planetary set, this case is acceptable because all rotation axes are parallel, and the resulting velocity ratios in the 2 column are actual absolute velocity ratios for the planet. Despite this difference, comparing the two sets of analyses gives interesting results. For the common links having dened velocity ratios for both gear trains 1, 3, and 4 , those ratios match up as can be seen by comparing the cell entries having indices of 1, 3, or 4 in Tables 1 and 2. This indicates that the Humpage train and the sun-ring-planet train are kinematically similar as illustrated in Fig. 8. This similarity can be taken to mean that either a bevel epicyclic gear set can be represented by a special case of a planar epicyclic gear set or vice versa. If one assumes the latter to be true, then it becomes evident that the planar gear set is only planar because its tooth numbers satisfy a special constraint. For example, using the notation above for the planar ring-sun-planet set, the relation N 4 N 1 2N 2 (1)

Fig. 8 Kinematic similarity of Humpage bevel-gear train and planar sun-ring-planet train S 1

must be satised. If the actual value of N 4 is greater than that given by Eq. 1 , the gears cannot fully mesh the gear train is impossible to assemble . If the actual value of N 4 is less than that given by Eq. 1 , the train must become a bevel train for the gears to mesh properly. Thus a planar epicyclic gear set is in fact a special case of a bevel three-dimensional epicyclic gear set. In terms of the nomenclature discussed earlier, these are similar mechanisms. Because all the corresponding train ratios match, one might decide a priori that the two were equivalent. However, one additional requirement for equivalency is that the equivalent velocities must be parallel. Because the Humpage trains planet moves in three dimensions and the simple planetary set is an entirely planar device, their motions are not identical particularly for link 2 . Thus the correct declaration is that these two mechanisms are kinematically similar. The degree of similarity is S 1 since every link of the sun-ring-planet train has a corresponding link in the Humpage train, but the velocities of link 2 in each are not parallel. Alternatives to the similarity relation of Fig. 8 are given in Figs. 9 and 10. If one is concerned with the motion of link 5, the planar train can be modied as shown in Fig. 9 such that each mechanism has ve links. Otherwise, link 5 can be deleted as in Fig. 10, leaving each mechanism with four links. While the similarity relations of Figs. 8, 9, and 10 are each of degree S 1 , those in Figs. 9 and 10 may be considered better because they compare mechanisms with the same number of links. This distinction will become clear in the discussion of efciency analysis later. Since the speed ratios in Tables 1 and 2 match, as indicated earlier, the declaration of similarity between the sun-ring-planet train and the Humpage train may seem an obvious example. The intent of this comparison, however, is to illustrate the exibility with which the principle of similarity and equivalence can be applied, or in other words, the variety of forms that a similar or equivalent geared mechanism can take. The usefulness of this principle is demonstrated more pointedly with the nal two mechanisms compared in this section. Harmonic Drive. Another member of this proposed class of mechanisms is the harmonic drive. The harmonic drive is a speed reducer which achieves a large reduction ratio in a small space. To

Fig. 7 Humpage epicyclic bevel-gear train Table 2 Speed ratios for kinematic inversions of Humpage bevel-gear train Speed ratios Fixed link 1 3 4 5 1 0 1 1 N 4 /N 1 1 N 5 N 2 /N 2 N 1 2 N 1 /N 2 3 1 0 1 1 4 1 N 1 /N 4 N 1 /N 4 0 1 N 5 N 2 /N 2 N 4 5 1 N 1 N 2 /N 2 N 5 N 1 N 2 /N 2 N 4 1 N 2 N 4 /N 2 N 5 0

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Fig. 9 Humpage bevel-gear train and its kinematically similar spur-gear train S 1 Fig. 12 Kinematic similarity of the wobble gear to a planar gear train with a large planet S 1

do this, it employs a compliant inner ring called a exspline, which has slightly fewer teeth than the rigid outer ring, typically by a difference of two teeth. Consider the case of a xed exspline. The input to the device, called a wave generator, exes the inner ring into contact with the outer ring at two locations opposite each other about the input axis. Thus with one turn of the input, the outer ring output advances by two teeth in the direction of the input, and the speed ratio is given by

N r N p /N r 1 N p /N r


where o and i are the output and input velocities and N r and N p represent the numbers of teeth on the outer ring and the exspline, respectively. Using notation similar to that used for the simple planetary set earlier, this becomes

N 4 N 2 /N 4 1 N 2 /N 4


and the mechanism is labeled as shown in Fig. 11. This is a planet-xed case, and the speed-ratio results match exactly with those for the planet-xed case of the simple planetary set. Thus the harmonic drive is kinematically similar to both gear

trains shown in Fig. 10. It also has a more intuitive similarity to the planar gear train of Fig. 11. Link 2 of the harmonic drive is actually the planet, and instead of moving on a carrier around the central axis of the mechanism, it exes such that its axis of rotation not well dened for a compliant member remains at that central axis. In this way, the geared members of the harmonic drive can be assigned tooth numbers which give a dramatic reduction ratio while avoiding the problems of dynamic balancing and manufacturing a tiny carrier link. In standard planar epicyclic trains, these issues are typically addressed by limiting the planet size such that multiple planets can t between the sun and ring, hence limiting the possible reduction ratio. The use of a exible planet circumvents this limit while avoiding the problems normally associated with a large planet size. A planar epicyclic gear train which achieves the same reduction ratio as the harmonic drive and has the same number of links would look like the one shown in Fig. 11. Because they share the same reduction ratio and are both planar mechanisms, they are kinematically similar. They are not equivalent because the exing of the harmonic drive and the nutation of the planet gear are not identical motions. It should be noted that instead of wobbling to achieve gear meshing, the harmonic drive exes. Thus the harmonic drive is a rare example of a member of this proposed mechanism class which does not wobble. Wobble Gear. The wobble gear can be compared to a variety of gear trains. Using Table 1 with link 2 xed and links 3 and 4 the input and output, respectively, the gear ratio is

1 N 2 /N 4


Fig. 10 Sun-ring-planet spur-gear train and its kinematically similar bevel-gear train S 1

Fig. 11 Harmonic drive with kinematically similar planar epicyclic train S 1

Assigning N 4 to be N 2 1 as is true with the wobble gear, the ratio reduces to 1/(1 N 2 ). This is the same input-output relation as the wobble gear, as pointed out near the beginning of this paper, so the wobble gear and the sun-ring-planet train are similar mechanisms, and Eq. 4 represents the speed ratio of each. Eliminating link 1 of the sun-ring-planet train gives the more intuitive similarity relation illustrated in Fig. 12. The planar trains in Figs. 11 and 12 differ only in numbers of teeth and are topologically the same. It follows that the wobble gear is also related to the harmonic drive through their respective reduction ratio formulas, giving a similarity relation as shown in Fig. 13. Once again labeling the input and output as links 3 and 4, respectively, the two formulas for 4 / 3 are identical see Eq. 3 . Here link 2 functions as a planet link. For the wobble gear mechanism, the input is analogous to a wave generator in that it initiates contact between the two meshing links. Then instead of exing, contact is achieved by a wobbling motion. So the wobble gear mechanism acts similarly to the harmonic drive in doing away with the problem of manufacturing a tiny carrier link, except MARCH 2005, Vol. 127 273

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Fig. 13 Kinematic similarity of the wobble gear and harmonic drive S 1

that the problem of fatigue in the exspline is replaced by a different set of intrinsically similar problems. One of these is a dynamic balancing problem as would occur in the planar sun-ringplanet gear set or a kinematically similar bevel-gear train. The other problem is the increased bearing loads at the planet-carrier revolute joint. The wobble gear can also be considered a modication of the Humpage set as shown in Fig. 14. With link 5 xed and link 3 considered the input, it can be seen by referring to Table 2 that this comparison has a similarity index of S 2 in general links 2 and 4 do not have the same velocities in both mechanisms . At rst glance, this appears to be a very poor similarity relation. However, it is easily improved by adding constraints to the Humpage train. Link 1 can be dropped, since as an extra link it can have arbitrary motion. This modied Humpage train then mimics the behavior of the wobble gear if N 5 N 2 causing speed ratios for link 4 to match and if the length of link 3 approaches zero in the limit causing the velocity vectors for link 2 to align . The effect of these constraints is to force the planet to nutate about a point on the input/output axis, with no net angular displacement about this axis; in the wobble gear itself, this function is performed by the cam tabs protruding from link 2 as shown in Fig. 13. From Table 2 representing this constrained case of the Humpage set with links 3 and 4 being the input and output, respectively, the reduction ratio simplies to
4/ 3

Fig. 15 Modied Humpage trains used for modeling of wobble gear: a train with tooth-number constraint satised S 1 and b equivalent train with all geometric constraints satised S 0

1 N 2 /N 4


Recall that the wobble-gear speed relationship has been given in Eq. 4 . This is identical to the analogous speed ratio given by the special case of the Humpage set in Eq. 5 . In summary, for the physical construction of the train satisfying the tooth-number constraint mentioned earlier, the similarity index improves to S 1 , as shown in Fig. 15 a . Note that link 5 has been relabeled in Fig. 15 as link 1 since link 1 was removed from the original Humpage

train. For the embodiment which satises both of the geometric constraints velocity vectors for link 2 align for both mechanisms , the similarity index is improved to S 0 indicating kinematic equivalence as shown in Fig. 15 b . It is interesting to note that three different kinds of mechanisms have been discussed in this section: those which nutate but are not pure gear trains such as the wobble gear , those which deform the harmonic drive , and those which are pure gear trains and whose wobbling motion is caused by the revolute axes changing position during motion epicyclic gear trains . Despite their fundamental differences, the motion of these devices characterizes them as a class of kinematically similar or, in some cases, kinematically equivalent, mechanisms. Perhaps the greatest usefulness of this concept is achieved by modeling one of the former mechanism types wobbling or deforming motion as one of the latter an epicyclic gear train . This can lead to simplication of mechanism analysis as shown in the following section.

Example of Kinematic Analysis Strategy: Kinematics of the Wobble Gear

Although the input-output relationship for the wobble gear can be found by observation of the mechanism, its internal kinematics are not necessarily so obvious. However, since gear train analysis is an area which has received a lot of attention, it is advantageous to use the concept of equivalent geared mechanisms to obtain a kinematic solution for the wobble gear. By analyzing an equivaTransactions of the ASME

Fig. 14 Kinematic similarity of the wobble gear and the Humpage train S 2

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lent geared mechanism instead of the wobble gear itself, the process is greatly simplied, since automated techniques exist for kinematic analysis of gear trains. It is noteworthy that a simple, automated kinematic analysis technique for general bevel-gear trains has recently been proposed by Nelson and Cipra 13 . The equivalent gear train to be used is similar in appearance to the Humpage train and is shown in Fig. 15 b . Note that the wobble gear is equivalent to both the Humpage train with geometric constraints satised and the mechanism of Fig. 15 b , but the equivalence of Fig. 15 b is preferred since the number of links is the same as the wobble gear. Links 1 and 3 of the equivalent mechanism are considered the inputs known velocity, with link 1 xed . The tooth numbers are N 1 60, N 2 50, N 2 60, and N 4 49. Here N 1 and N 2 are arbitrarily chosen, with the only constraint being that N 1 N 2 , as discussed in the previous section. From the geometry of the wobble gear, it can be seen that the bevel angle



11.48 deg


Using all of this information, the automated method of Nelson and Cipra gives the kinematic solution cos 11.48
2 4

Fig. 16 Side view of wobbling member with mating gear in a position 0, h h max and b position 2, h 0

1 cos 11.48 1 49 sin 11.48 0

1 3 1 3

50 49 sin 11.48 0

efciency of each gear pair in the mechanism and the arrangement of the fundamental circuits within the mechanism. The approximation given by Tuplin 15 is commonly used to nd the efciency of a gear pair (7) 1 0.2 1/N i 1/N j (10)

where the z and r vectors represent the principal directions shown in Fig. 15 a . With link 1 xed and link 3 given a unit input velocity
2 4

1 cos 11.48 1 49 0.02 z 0.0204

sin 11.48 r 0 (8)

0.199 r 0

Notice that the gear ratio appears in the expression for the output speed 4 of the wobble gear. More generally, since 2 is coupled to the numbers of teeth, with link 1 xed
2 4

where N i, j represent the numbers of teeth on the gears in mesh. This approximation was derived for use in planar gear trains, but it also provides a fair approximation of gear-pair efciency in nonplanar trains. The fundamental-circuit information for the wobble gears equivalent mechanism was found as part of the kinematic analysis, since each circuit corresponds to one linear equation in the set being solved, or one gear pair with its carrier link. Circuit 1 contains links 1, 2 , and 3, and circuit 2 contains links 2, 4, and 3. As for the joint efciencies, the revolute joints are assumed to be ideal, and Eq. 10 gives the gear-pair efciencies to be
1 2

1 0.2 1/60 1/60 1 0.2 1/49 1/50

0.9933 0.9919

(11) (12)

1 cos 1 sec

sin 0


Note that in this form, the reduction ratio is (1 sec ) 1 cos (cos 1) 1. Also, for small values of , the wobbling member has relatively small velocity components 2,r and 2,z . This is a positive result in terms of dynamic or shaking effects. Note that although these velocity components are nonzero, the net z displacement is zero by integration of the velocity over one revolution of the input link. As the details of the kinematic analysis technique used here are beyond the scope of this paper, the reader is referred to 13 for more detailed examples of its use.

Example of Analysis Strategy: Static-Force, PowerFlow, and Efciency Analyses of the Wobble Gear
With the speed solution obtained, the power ows and quasistatic torques can be computed. The power ow, static-force, and efciency analysis method of Nelson and Cipra 14 is readily automated with the kinematic analysis technique in Ref. 13 . This method is based on the concept that a mechanism is composed of fundamental circuits through which power ows. In a gear train, each circuit is composed of a gear pair with its two mating gears and the carrier link. The partial powers owing across each gear pair, forces at each gear mesh, and the overall mechanism efciency are dependent on the values of the mechanical Journal of Mechanical Design

However, the tooth numbers for 1 were chosen arbitrarily to satisfy the motion constraint. A more suitable value might be found by looking at the actual mechanism instead of the equivalent geared mechanism. Because the analysis is based on power ows through contact pairs, and the kinematics of the two mechanisms are equivalent, using a pair efciency value from the actual mechanism will ensure the validity of the equivalent-mechanism solution. The theoretical efciency of a gear pair is based on the amount of slipping that occurs in the mesh and the friction losses which result. In order to understand the correlation of a cam pair to a gear pair, it is thus necessary to nd the friction losses incurred in the cam pair. First, a complete understanding of the motion of the cam is necessary. As the input link rotates, the linear position of the cam in the slot varies sinusoidally. Let represent the position of the input link and h represent the position of the cam in the slot, as shown in Fig. 16. Then, h D sin cos (13)

where D is the distance from the center of the wobbling link to the contact point on the cam. A differential change in h is thus dh D sin sin d (14)

and the approximate total distance traveled through one revolution of the input is MARCH 2005, Vol. 127 275

h total 4D sin


From quasi-static equilibrium of the mechanism, the magnitude of the torque applied to the mechanism at the cam is equal to the sum of the input and output torques, but has opposite sign. Since the input torque is a unit torque, and the ideal output torque is equal to the negative of the reduction ratio as given in Eq. 9 T cam and the normal force is Fn T cam D cos (17) 1 sec 1 1 1 1 cos (16)

value of 0.7987. Note that this value for 1 , unlike that in Eq. 11 , truly represents an approximation of the efciency of the cam joint. Using the approximation 1 0.80, the partial-power results as per Nelson and Cipra 14 are P 12 P 13 P 22 P 24 P 23 and the steady-state torques are T 12 T 13 T 22 T 24 T 23 39.7458 0.9939 39.7458 38.9446 0.0061 0.7952 0.9939 0.7951 0.7950 0.0061


So the total work lost in friction is approximately W loss F n h total 4 tan 1 cos (18)


Now in order to nd the efciency of cam pair 1,2 , the input work must be known. In particular, the force moving the cam in the h direction must be found. To do this, consider the relative motion of the wobbling member on its mating gear as shown in Fig. 16. The motion is characterized by rolling about the pitch-line axis. One signicant difference between the wobble gear and its kinematically equivalent bevel-gear train is that instead of a carrier link applying the force necessary to produce motion, the wave-generator-like input link of the wobble gear actually applies a moment about the instantaneous axis of rotation or screw axis . According to the KennedyAronhold theorem 9 , this axis must pass through both the pivot point of the wobbling member with respect to ground and the contact pitch point. Thus the axis is oriented at an angle 90 with respect to the input/output axis. Because the position of the cam tabs with respect to the rolling axis varies with input position, so does the moment applied about the rolling axis. Since the component of this rolling moment along the input/output axis is approximately T in , the rolling moment is approximately T roll T in sin 1 sin (19)

Here link 4 is the output, and for T i j and P i j , i is the fundamental-circuit number and j is the link number. For example, T 12 is the torque acting on link 2 at the cam joint, and T 22 is the torque acting on link 2 at the geared joint. Free-body diagrams and force balances for each link would easily yield the remaining internal forces such as bearing loads. The sum of all partial powers having j 4 gives the output power, and since a unit input power was used, the overall efciency of the train is 79.5%. Since the details of the analysis technique used here are beyond the scope of this paper, the reader is referred to Ref. 14 for more thorough treatment and examples.

Discussion of the Example

This example demonstrates the benet of using equivalent geared mechanisms to analyze the motion, forces, and efciency of mechanisms with wobbling characteristics. It is noteworthy that a large part of the effort in this problem was devoted to nding the efciency of the cam joint. This is a necessary task regardless of what approach to efciency analysis is adopted. The analysis of the equivalent mechanism, because of the automated method employed see Refs. 13 , 14 , was the easy part. Had the wobble gear and its respective bevel-gear train shared only kinematic similarity (S 1 or greater instead of one-to-one equivalence, the complexity of the power-ow and efciency analyses could have increased greatly. It would have been necessary to decompose the actual mechanism into submechanisms sharing equivalence in a gear train and submechanisms which need to be analyzed separately. Thus, the usefulness of the concept of similarity and equivalence for problems such as power-ow and efciency, which extend beyond kinematic analysis, is probably limited to those mechanisms for which purely equivalent gear trains exist. When the motion of two mechanisms is not one-to-one, the benets of using the equivalent geared mechanism in force or efciency analyses are probably outweighed by the difculties introduced.

To nd the force acting on the cam along the h direction, it is necessary to divide the projection of T roll normal to the h axis by the associated moment arm. This moment arm varies with the input position . Thus the force is Fh T roll cos D sin 1 D tan sin (20)

The magnitude of the total input work for the cam joint over one revolution of the input is
/2 /2

W in 4

F h dh 4

cos d



Dividing the power loss by the input power gives the efciency of the cam joint to be

Summary of Strategy
When analyzing a mechanism which contains one or more members which wobble or nutate, the nutating member s can be replaced by a portion of an epicyclic bevel-gear train for modeling purposes. This consists of a xed gear having an arbitrary number of teeth, a revolute carrier link, and a planet having the same number of teeth as the gear. The geometry of the carrier should be such that the motion of the planet traces the same cone as the actual nutating member. For purposes of kinematic analysis, this model is adequate. For dealing with this new gear pair in powerow, efciency, and other analyses, care should be taken to use the efciency of the actual kinematic pair s which produce the wobbling motion, and to verify kinematic equivalence using the proposed similarity index. Transactions of the ASME

W loss W in

2 cos

tan 1 cos


For small values of and reasonable lubrication in the joint, this results in an acceptable efciency. For example, using a friction coefcient of 0.04 and the value of shown in Eq. 6

2 0.04 tan 11.48 cos 11.48 1 cos 11.48



This efciency value was obtained using an initial assumption of zero power loss from Eq. 16 . Iterating recursively with newly obtained values of cam eventually gives an efciency 276 Vol. 127, MARCH 2005

The advantages of modeling wobbling mechanisms as similar or equivalent bevel-gear trains have been illustrated through the analysis of a unique speed reducer using its equivalent bevel-gear train. This type of approach is benecial in simplifying kinematic analysis through the use of automated techniques developed especially for gear trains. Power-ow, static-force, and efciency analyses are also simplied, with the limitation that the gear train used for analysis share kinematic equivalence with the mechanism of interest. Quantication of similarity or equivalence is facilitated through a proposed kinematic similarity index. These results indicate that all the mechanisms mentioned in this paper can be grouped into a single class or family due to their similar kinematic characteristics. This family is not limited to these devices and may include many others not mentioned here, but it does include all mechanisms characterized by wobbling motion as previously dened in this paper. It is apparent that a host of devices could be kinematically represented as subsets, inversions, special cases, or modications under the broad reach of the class or family characterized by epicyclic bevel-gear trains.

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While the content of this paper reects uniquely the views of the authors, they wish to thank the National Science Foundation and the TRW Foundation for supporting this research.

Journal of Mechanical Design

MARCH 2005, Vol. 127 277