Jeff's Blog

My daily (well I am trying to update daily now) weblog covering topics such as wind power, embedded electronics, software development, CNC Machines and some fun stuff like travel and sailing.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Gear-Wheel Designer Vastly Improved

When I wanted to couple my prototype Savonius wind turbine to an off-the-shelf alternator, I decided to use gears. I cut the gears on my IMService CNC machine using an inexpensive piece of software from Delph Electronics called the Gear-Wheel Designer

Graham Baxter's Gear-Wheel Designer with G-code generator lets you type in a few parameters, press a button, and get a DXF file of a gear, along with G-code to run a CNC machine. This program allowed me to make gears to electrify my wind turbine without being an expert on gear cutting. Click here to see a video of the wind turbine in action.

The user interface of the Gear-Wheel Designer is quite simple and contains a parameter area and a graphical preview of the gear to be rendered:

Here is a picture of a gear produced from the software.

The latest release has the ability to create five gear types as opposed to just cycloidal and involute gears in the previous release. The new release added the capability to design ratchet wheels, dead-beat ratchet wheels and anchor ratchet wheels. See this page for more detail on the new gear/wheel types. Also added was the ability to create wheels with spokes as shown above. There are also a number of other new features as this release was a complete rewrite of the software. They let you download the user manual prior to purchase so I advise doing this to find out more details about the software prior to purchase. This software does not attempt to teach you terminology or gear design concepts so if you are like me and don't know much about gears, you should do some research prior to machining your gears.

This software is definitely a bargain at less than $80 to purchase. I just upgraded to the latest version and will be trying it out on my next generation vertical wind turbine. I am also going to try my hand at machining a pendulum clock. Watch this blog for future updates if interested in gears.

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