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Engineering 2

Tutorial 2

Building Assemblies: Gear Assemblies

2003-2006 Dale Gipson All Rights Reserved

Simple Gear Assembly In this tutorial, we will continue to evolve the part created in the first tutorial, by using it in a specific context. In so doing, we will detect the need to make some minor but necessary changes. And as always, as much as possible, we will try to make the changes be parametric, that is, able to adapt to future changes. For if a part gets used, there are always future changes. We will learn techniques for building assemblies of parts. We will build upon the gear that was developed in the first tutorial. We will build two assemblies using the gear. The first will be a very simple assembly that is made by joining two parts, in this case gears, to form a solid reduction gear. The second will a more complex assembly, that is composed of multiple parts and subassemblies, to form a clock. This exercise will introduce advanced mating techniques. A mate is a relationship between parts, in the same way that a relation is a relationship between sketch elements. In order to make the gears mesh properly, we will have to mate them in a special way.

The point of these two examples is to instill a top-down approach to building assemblies, that will enable you to develop complex models later, if you so wish.

Step 1- Creating The Assembly Open Gear 1.sldprt that you created in Tutorial 1. Set its configuration to 20 Tooth. Do File/Save As to open the Save As dialog. Click on the Create New Folder button on the top toolbar, and create a new folder called Clock. Then save Gear 1, into the Clock folder as just Gear. Open a new assembly document via File/ New, and pick Assembly. You will see the Insert Component dialog in the Feature Manager. Under Part/Assembly to Insert field, it lists the Gear part. Select the Gear in the list, then click the OK (check) button. That will insert the Gear into the Assembly at the Origin. Now save the assembly as Clock within the new folder. Rotate view to Front. If you have trouble seeing the gear (it may be white-on-white, and nearly invisible), then switch view to Shaded With Edges via the toolbar button, or View/ Display Shaded With Edges. Now make a second copy of Gear within the assembly, by clicking on its icon in the design tree, choosing Edit/ Copy, followed by Edit/ Paste. Each copy within an assembly is called an instance, and you will see two Gear instances in the design tree, marked Gear <1> and Gear <2>. Note that there is actually only one Gear part, but the assembly is referencing two copies of it, and the <1> notation indicates the instance number, in this case instance 1. So the first is Gear<1>, and the second Gear<2>. Appended to each instance name is the configuration of that instance that is in use. Since both instances are using the 20 Tooth configuration, they both have (20 Tooth) at the end.

Note also that instance Gear<1> has the characters (f) in front of the instance name, whereas instance Gear<2> has the character - in front. The (f) means that the instance is fixed, that is, it cannot be moved around. The - means that it can be moved, that is, it is not mated to anything. (The first instance was fixed because we dropped it on the assembly origin.) We cannot see but one of the two instances. This is because they lie on top of one another, so far. Since Gear<1> is not movable, we need to move instance Gear<2>. But we cannot unambiguously drag it. So we must hide instance Gear<1>. Hide instance Gear<1> by Right-clicking on its icon in the design tree, and choosing Hide. Zoom out a little using Ctrl-Z so that you can see better. Move instance Gear<2> upwards above instance Gear<1> using the Move Component tool on the Command Manager toolbar, or by holding down the Alt key while left-dragging the gear upwards. Show instance Gear<1> again, by Right-clicking on its icon in the design tree and choosing Show. Press Ctrl-F to Zoom To Fit the components on the screen. You should see two gears now. Bring up the Mate dialog via the toolbar button, or Insert/ Mate. At the top-left corner of the main window, there is a small icon of the design tree for the assembly. Expand the design tree for the assembly by clicking on the [+] icon on its left. Now expand the design tree for both instance Gear<1> and Gear<2>, by clicking on the [+] icons on their left. Click on the icon for plane P Front in instance Gear<2>, and the icon for plane P Front in instance Gear<1>. The Coincident button should be depressed. Click OK. Then close the Mate dialog. The gears are now guaranteed co-planar. Save the assembly.

Step 2- Setting The Gear-To-Gear Mesh Point While the gears are in the same plane, we have not yet meshed them properly. When gears are properly meshed, they do not quite touch, as shown below. Thus, to complete the alignment, the two instances need to be mated in a way that the gears mesh in a mathematically correct way, i.e. parametrically. In order to mate gears, we need to introduce the notion of a mesh point of the gears. This in turn will introduce the notion of more complex mates. A mesh point is a point on each gear that coincides with a similar point on the other gear. This is necessary because the gears are interlaced with each other, as opposed to having faces touching each other. The teeth need to mesh in a way such that there is some clearance on all sides, so that the gears can move freely. This means that the two mesh points that correspond to each other are not halfway down the tooth, but at about 60% of the tooth height. Also, the points lie in two different places on the two gears, one in the tooth, the other in the gap.

When the two points on the gears are mated coincident to each other, the gears will be meshed with the proper spacing: 60% of the tooth will coincide with 60% of the gap, as shown above right. We need to define these two mesh points parametrically. To do this, we need to locate one point in the middle of the tooth, and a second point in the middle of the tooth gap. We will start by locating the mesh point within the tooth. We will then create a second point from the first, that lies in the middle of the tooth gap.

The next step will be modifications to Gear only. So, for the time being, close the Clock assembly, so that only the Gear part remains. To make things easier to see, Hide Solid Body on the part, so only the sketches are visible, by Right-clicking on the icon for the Solid Bodies feature, and choosing Hide Solid Body. Now show sketch RG R. In order to create a mesh point that will change with the tooth height, we first create a copy of the tooth height geometry. From there, we will find the point that is 60% of the tooth height. There are several ways to do this, but in this example, we will plan for future design changes in which the gear can be tapered as well. (See Tutorial 3.) Open a new sketch on P Right, and rotate view Normal To. Convert Entities on the top line that defines the top edge of the gear face in RG R. (This line should show the path of the bottom edge of the tooth.) Hide RG R again. Draw a second vertical line upwards from the left edge of the first, so that it corresponds to the tooth height line. Make the lines Construction Geometry. Now show sketch GS Tooth, and rotate view to Isometric. Your sketch should be similar to the one shown below left.

Now take the top point of the vertical line and make it pierce the top line of the tooth outline in sketch GS Tooth, as shown above right. Hide GS Tooth. At this point, we have captured the geometry of the base and left edge of the tooth from the side. Again, the reason for this will be seen later: it is so that our mesh point will not be affected if we later make a tapered gear (Tutorial 3).

Rotate view Normal To, and draw two Construction Geometry lines. Draw the first one perpendicular to the tooth height line towards the left, about half-way down, but do not let it form a midpoint relation. Draw the second starting at the end of the first, and connect it back at an angle to the top of the tooth height linee, as shown below. For reasons that will be explained later, do not draw the first line as horizontal, but rather at an angle, then make a perpendicular relation between it and the vertical line. Also, be careful that you do not make the perpendicular line be at the midpoint of the tooth height line Make the perpendicular (horizontal) line equal in length to the line of the tooth height. The result should be a flag shape, as shown below:

The point where the perpendicular line intersects the tooth height line will be the mesh point. It establishes the degree of overlap with another gear to provide the best gear mesh. The meshing is done by mating it to a similar mesh point defined in the other gear. The design is that when the two points are coincident, the spacing (meshing) will be correct. Now, if the tooth height is .05, and we wish the mesh point to be 60% of the tooth height, what is the easiest way to ensure the 60% ratio? Make the appropriate changes. Hint: Lock the angle of the flag triangle. (Why?) Exit the sketch, and name it RG Mesh R. Save.

Step 3- Mating The Gears In The Assembly We have defined a single parametric mesh point. But in order to mesh two gears with the gear teeth offset properly, we need two mesh points. We need a mesh point for the tooth on one gear (which we have just done), and a second mesh point for the tooth gap on the other gear. This second mesh point we will derive from the first, by creating a circle that defines all possible mesh points, and then create a new mesh point that lies on the circle, in the center of the tooth gap. Open a new sketch on P Front, and rotate view Normal To. Draw a circle, roughly the size of the gear, centered on the Origin. Rotate view to Isometric.

Make the circle coincident to the mesh point. Now the circle defines a locus of possible mesh points. That is, any point on the circle might be meshed with a similar point on a similar circle on another gear, except for the tooth gaps. Make the circle Construction Geometry.

Hide sketch RG Mesh R. Show sketch RG F. Rotate view Normal To., and zoom in a little. Convert Entities on the centerline of the tooth sketched in RG F, and also of the centerline of the gap, that we created in Tutorial 1. Trim the tops of the two lines to the circle.

If you do not have a centerline that is at the center of the tooth gap as shown above, then you will need to add it to RG F before you can complete this step. Exit the sketch, and name it RG Mesh F. Hide RG F. Un-hide the solid by Right-clicking on the Solid Bodies feature and choosing Show Solid Body. Save the file. Set the display back to Shaded With Edges. Rotate to Isometric, and you should see this (if you zoom in a little):

Important: Select the icon for sketch RG Mesh F, and do Edit/ Unsuppress/ All Configurations. This will make the sketch available in the other configurations too. Please note that the mesh points are not the lines themselves, but rather the endpoints of the two lines where they touch the circle. In point of fact, mating to the circles will ensure proper alignment between the gears. The mesh lines are mostly for cosmetic reasons, so that it looks right when viewed. Save the file. Then close the part..

Step 4- Mating The Gears In The Assembly Open the assembly file Clock again. If prompted, click OK to rebuild. Then Save. Expand Gear<2> in the design tree, if not already expanded.. Show the mesh point sketch, RG Mesh F.

We need to rotate the top gear around to bring the mesh points close enough to each other that we can be sure of which ones to choose. Rotate instance Gear<2> about 180 degrees, so that the mesh lines are close to each other, using the Rotate Components tool on the Command Manager toolbar.

Open the Mate dialog, and make a coincident mate of two opposing mesh points, such that one is from a tooth top, and the other from a tooth gap. The mesh points will be the endpoints of the lines where they intersect the circle. For best results, choose the tooth top mesh point from instance Gear<1>, and the gap from instance Gear<2>.

For fun, use the Move Component Tool to tilt the top gear back and forth. When done, do an Edit/ Undo to put the gear back into position. Make a second coincident mate between the Origin of instance Gear<2> and plane P Right of instance Gear<1>. Notice that the top gear straightens up, and can no longer be moved. Notice that the minus (-) in front of (-) Gear<2> disappears, indicating that the instance is now locked, unable to move. Hide the sketch RG Mesh F in one of the two instances within the design tree. Notice that both sets of lines disappear. This is because there is only one part. For aesthetics, Right-click near the top-most icon of Clock, and choose Collapse Items. This will close the design trees for the two instances. Save. Then close the assembly.

Step 5- Building A Sub-Assembly So far, we have created a gear, and aligned it so that meshing between individual gears works correctly. Now we increase the complexity by meshing assemblies of gears. To do this, we must back-track a little, and make some retroactive changes. Open the Gear part again, and make sure that the 20 Tooth configuration is active. Create a new Assembly, and when the Insert Component dialog appears in the Feature Manager, select the Gear part in the list, and click OK to insert it at the origin. Save the assembly as Reduction Gear, within the Clock folder. Show its Origin, if not currently visible. Rotate to Front view, and then zoom out a little. Copy/Paste a second instance of Gear, then drag off to one side. Save. Then close the assembly. Open the Gear part by Right-clicking on its icon in the design tree, and choosing Open Part from the menu. Switch configurations to 14 Tooth. Rename the 14 Tooth configuration to be 10 Tooth, and make the appropriate change to the Teeth Circular Pattern feature that sets the number of teeth, so that there are 10 teeth. Rebuild. Then Save. Add a new configuration, 30 Tooth, and make the appropriate change in the same way. You should now have 3 configurations, consisting of 10, 20 and 30 teeth, respectively. We now have 3 possible gears, which we would like to mate front-and-back. To do this, we will create two new planes, one at the back of the gear, and one at the front of the hub. Show sketch RG R, Hide the Solid Body, and rotate to Isometric. Select P Front from the design tree, and Ctrl-Select the upper right-hand corner of the right-hand rectangle. Open the Plane dialog using the button, or by Insert / Reference Geometry / Plane. Make sure Parallel to Plane at Point is depressed, and click OK. Name the plane P Gear Bk, and then select it and Hide it. Create a second plane in the same way, at the upper left corner of the smaller left rectangle. Name this plane P Hub F and Hide it too. Hide RG R Show the Solid Body again. For both planes, do Edit/ Unsuppress/ All Configurations. Leave the gear in the 20 Tooth configuration. Save.

We are now ready to make the mates. Switch back to Reduction Gear via the Window/ menu, choosing Reduction Gear.SLDASM. Rebuild. Bring up the Mate dialog. Mate the two gears together, so that instance Gear<2> is in front of Gear<1>, mating P Gear Bk of Gear<2> to P Hub F of Gear<1>. Then make a concentric mate between their two bore holes. Then make a coincident mate from P Right of instance Gear<1> to P Right of instance Gear<2>. Close the Mate dialog. Collapse Items in Reduction Gear. Save.

Notice that the minus (-) is now missing in front of the icon name for Gear<2>.in the design tree. Thus Gear<2>.is fully constrained.

Now we are going to change which configurations of Gear gets used for each of the instances of Reduction Gear. Right now, the gear would be a 1:1 ratio, because both sub-gears are 20-tooth. We wish to make a 2:1 gear ratio, so we need to make one of the gears a 10-tooth gear. Right-click on the icon for instance Gear<2>, and choose Component Properties. Under the Referenced configuration section, make sure that the Use named configuration radio button is checked. Change the named configuration from 20 Tooth to 10 Tooth. Click OK. The reduction gear rebuilds, and should look like this:

Create a new configuration within Reduction Gear in the same way we did for the Gear part. Name this configuration 3:1. Have this configuration use the 30 Tooth configuration of the gear for the large gear. (Why name it 3:1?) Switch configurations to Default. Rename this configuration to 2:1. (Why?) We now have a complete sub-assembly, to be used in the main assembly, Clock. Save the assembly.

Step 6- Building An Assembly Of Assemblies And Parts We will now build a compound reduction gearbox, that produces a 12:1 ratio of a clocks hands. Once again, we will change an existing model to accommodate complexity. Open Clock.SLDASM, and delete all of the Mates between the two gear instances by Right-clicking on the MateGroup1 icon in the design tree to expand it, and deleting all of the Mate entries. This way we will be free to mate in whatever way seems appropriate. Tile the windows horizontally again. Open the drop-down for Assemblies on the Command Bar, and choose Insert Components. Select the Reduction Gear assembly from the list, and click in an open space in the main window. This will deposit the assembly there. Now drag a second instance. Change the second instance to be a 3:1 reduction gear.


Now comes the challenge. What we wish to do is create a reduction gearbox, that does what a clock does. That is, it is a 12:1 reduction, with the gear for the hour hand concentric to the gear for the minute hand, and both hands turning in the same direction. Our tools are: (1) simple gears, such as the 10 Tooth gear, and reduction gears such as the 2:1 and 3:1. We would like to create the gearbox using as few gears as possible. We would also like to create it in a way that gears do not slice through the axles of other gears. How do we create a reduction gearbox? The picture below left shows a possible gearbox. (Warning: this solution is NOT correct!) Note that the gears not only mesh, but the reduction gears cause the overall assembly components to lie in several different planes.

To figure out how to create a gearbox that produces a 12:1 gear ratio, we must first understand what is happening. In the picture above right, if the single 20-tooth gear turns clockwise once, how many times does the 10-tooth gear of the reduction gear turn? In what direction? If the 30-tooth gear of the reduction turns counter-clockwise once, how many times does the 10-tooth single gear turn? In what direction? Finally, if the single 20-tooth gear turns clockwise once, how many times does the single 10-tooth gear turn? In what direction? What combination of reduction gears would it take to make a 12:1 ratio?

We are now in a position to define our gear selection and positions of the gears. To do this, the easiest way is to create a sketch, and have it control the positions of the gears. Make the RG Mesh F sketch visible on the Gear<1> instance. Hide the two single Gear instances, leaving just the 2:1 and 3:1 reduction gears visible. You should see the RG Mesh F lines visible on all of the gears on both subassemblies. If not, you may have skipped the step above in which you did an Unsuppress All Configurations. What we are going to do is to create a sketch that will define the positions of each of the gears and reduction gears. Open a new sketch on P Front of the Clock assembly. Rotate Normal To. Draw 4 circles, with two of them nested inside the other two, as shown below left.

Select one of the outer circles, and give an equal relation to the mesh circle of the 30tooth gear. It should now have the same diameter as the mesh circle for the 30-tooth, but not the same position. In the same way, make the other outer circle equal to the mesh diameter of the 20-tooth gear. And again in the same way, make one of the inner circles equal to the mesh diameter of the appropriate 10-tooth gear. Then make the other inner circle equal to it, as shown above right. We have now captured the sizes of the gears, parametrically. Should the gears change size, so will the sketched circles diameters. So now we can define the gear layout.

The two sets of sketched circles correspond to the mating diameters of the two reduction gears. We will now align the sketches, and from them, align the gears. Because these diameters are parametric to the mesh points, they will correctly position the gears so they will mesh properly. Make the inner circle of the 2:1 reduction tangent to the outer circle of the 3:1 reduction set, as shown below.

Exit the sketch, name the sketch RG Align F. Hide the RG Mesh F of the gear. Save. Create two mates. First, mate P Front of the 3:1 reduction gear coincident to P Front of the assembly. Then mate P Front of the 10-tooth gear of the 2:1 reduction gear to the P Front of the 30-tooth gear of the 3:1 reduction gear. This will cause the reduction gears to stagger, so that the teeth can align properly. Finally, rotate to Isometric, and mate the center Bore Hole of each of the two gears Concentric to the point in the center of their respective sketch circles. The gears can rotate, and will be mated in a way that they will mesh properly, as shown below. Save.

It should be clear now that we can do all of the design and layout of the gearbox inside of RG Align F, then mate the gears, and it will be correct. From the above examples, you should be able to conclude how many gears it takes to create a 12:1 ratio gearbox, with the starting and ending gears rotating in the same direction, and concentric to each other. Assignment: Make a 12:1 reduction gearbox from the current assembly components, such that the input and output shaft bores are concentric. Feel free to change the tooth configuration used by each instance to achieve the proper results. This includes the Reduction Gear assembly. But do not create any new tooth configurations for the Gear part itself. It must be constructed as a combination of 2:1 and 3:1 reductions and single gears. Make sure that the input and output gears turn in the same direction, and that there are no gears obstructing the shaft holes between them. Suggestions: 1. Take a piece of paper, and draw the gear step-downs necessary to achieve the proper gear ratio, with each gear in a straight line. Do not worry about the making the input and output gears concentric until you understand the overall design. 2. Once you know how the gears will need to be logically coupled, edit sketch RG Align F, and draw the necessary circles to match your hand sketch. 3. Give those circles equal relations to your existing circles, and connect them using tangent relations. Again, do them in a straight line. Make your starting gear coincident with the Origin of the assembly. Do not make any new equal relations to the gears or reduction gears. This means you must re-use at least those two reduction gear items in the sketch. 4. The last step is to make the starting and ending gears (circles) concentric,. Do this last, because it may twist on you as you complete it. 5. Check that none of the intermediate gears or reduction gears cuts through the center axis at the origin. If they do, you will need to break the tangent relations, and reorder the gears. 6. When you are confident that you have a good solution, and all conditions will be met, exit the sketch, and mate the gears to the sketch. When you have completely this step, Save.

To summarize, we learned that to use a part in new ways (in this case, as components of new assemblies), we had to go back and make retroactive changes to our part. Each new use of a part will potentially require changes to the original design. And so the parts and models evolve as they get used. And we see that the ability to control the design parametrically helps us to be sure the result is reliable. You have finished the second design. Congratulations!


Appendix: Why?

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The natural inclination is to just hard-wire the mesh height. But this has the disadvantage that if the tooth height is changed, we have to remember to modify the mesh height at the same time. What would be better is to have the mesh height be a percentage of the tooth height. Then, when the tooth height changes, the meshing will still be correct. But how do we set a percentage? SolidWorks does not directly support such a relationship. One solution might be to use an equation. Clean, clear, and it will work. But equations have the disadvantage that they can adversely affect rebuild performance. A better solution would handle the percentage directly in the sketch. But without a way make the dimension a percentage directly, we are forced to try another approach. From trigonometry, we know that in similar triangles, the sides are proportional. Therefore, if we lock an angle, the ratio of the sides will be maintained. One side would be the tooth height, the other the mesh height. We matched one side of the triangle to the tooth height, all that is necessary is to lock the angle. But what is the correct angle? We do not need to know. We simply force the ratio for a given dimension (here, .05), and then capture the angle. The easiest way is to harddimension the tooth height as .05 x .6 (60% of .05), then convert the dimension to Driven by right-clicking on it, and selecting Driven. Then we can hard dimension the angle. It will maintain that angle from then on, and will force that ratio regardless of the tooth size.

Appendix: Why?

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