Home » Community » Feature this!  »

# Triple gear

Triple gear [message #57944] Tue, 04 December 2012 07:03 UTC
In this unusual mechanism three gears mesh together in pairs, and yet they can turn!

If you take three ordinary gears and put them together so that each gear meshes with the other two, then none of the gears can turn because neighbouring gears must turn in opposite directions. Triple gear avoids this problem by having the three "gears" arranged like linked rings - the gears then rotate along skew axes, and the opposite direction rule no longer applies (although see also Oskar van Deventer's Magic Gears for another possible solution).

This is joint work with Saul Schleimer. We were inspired by another of Oskar's designs, his Knotted Gear, which consists of two linked rings that gear with each other, and of course we wondered if it would be possible to do three linked rings!

Shapeways shop.

Re: Triple gear [message #58925 is a reply to message #57944 ] Thu, 20 December 2012 05:09 UTC
Here's a smaller, less expensive version of Triple Gear. It seems to work pretty well at this scale!

Shapeways shop.

Re: Triple gear [message #58934 is a reply to message #58925 ] Thu, 20 December 2012 09:25 UTC
Yes, this is a truly amazing design.

Community Manager Europe | Shapeways
Re: Triple gear [message #58935 is a reply to message #58934 ] Thu, 20 December 2012 09:26 UTC
Thanks Bart!
Re: Triple gear [message #59259 is a reply to message #58935 ] Thu, 27 December 2012 09:28 UTC
Here's an animated gif showing how the gears mesh into each other:

Re: Triple gear [message #59440 is a reply to message #59259 ] Tue, 01 January 2013 05:02 UTC
Many people have wondered if it might be possible to drive the triple gear with some sort of external mechanism. Here is a partial solution...
Re: Triple gear [message #66769 is a reply to message #59440 ] Wed, 24 April 2013 07:39 UTC
Here is a real solution to the problem of powering the triple gear, using a central helical axle and a baseplate to keep the gears in position. Thanks to Adrian Goldwaser and Stuart Young for prototyping and construction of the motorised base shown in the video. This will be shown in the art exhibition at the Bridges conference on Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture in Enschede, the Netherlands in July.

Baseplate and axle for Triple gear.
15cm axle for Triple gear.
30cm axle for Triple gear.

Re: Triple gear [message #67948 is a reply to message #66769 ] Tue, 14 May 2013 14:50 UTC
Here is a paper on the arXiv (an electronic repository for research papers) describing how we designed the Triple gear:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.6859
Re: Triple gear [message #69165 is a reply to message #67948 ] Tue, 04 June 2013 13:10 UTC
Another animated gif, this time of the powered version:

Also, here is a video showing how to loosen the gears if they arrive somewhat fused together.

 Previous Topic: Blue Bison
 Next Topic: Daft Punk Desktop Bust