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Improved Gear Shapes for Face Worm Gear Drives

These shapes offer potential for increasing precision and reducing vibration and noise.

Shapes different from the traditional ones have been proposed for face worm gears and for conical and cylindrical worms that mesh with them. The proposed shapes are based on the concept of generating a face worm gear surface by use of a tilted head cutter instead of by the traditional use of a hob. (As used here, “head cutter” is also meant to signify, alternatively, a head grinding tool.)The gear-surface-generation equipment would be similar to that used for generation of spiral bevel and hypoid gears. In comparison with the corresponding traditional hob, a tilted head cutter according to the proposal would be larger, could be fabricated with greater precision, and would enable the generation of gear surfaces with greater precision and greater productivity.

ImageA face worm gear would be generated (see figure) by use of a tilted head cutter, the blades or grinding surfaces of which would have straight-line profiles. The tilt of the head cutter would prevent interference with teeth adjacent to the groove being cut or ground.

A worm to mesh with the face worm gear would be generated by use of a tilted head cutter mounted on the cradle of a generating machine. The blades or grinding surfaces of the head cutter would have a parabolic profile and would deviate from the straight-line profiles of the head cutter for the face worm gear. The shortest distance between the worm and the cradle would follow a parabolic function during the cycle of meshing in the generating process to provide a parabolic function of transmission errors to the gear drive.

The small mismatch between the profiles of the face-worm-gear and worm head cutters would make it possible to localize the bearing contact in the worm gear drive. The parabolic function of transmission errors could absorb discontinuous linear functions of transmission errors caused by errors of alignment; this could afford a significant benefit, in that such errors are main sources of noise and vibration in gear drives.