Triple gear

Discussion in 'Feature this!' started by henryseg, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. henryseg
    henryseg Well-Known Member
    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!

    Youtube video.
    Shapeways shop.

  2. henryseg
    henryseg Well-Known Member
    Here's a smaller, less expensive version of Triple Gear. It seems to work pretty well at this scale!

    Youtube video.
    Shapeways shop.

  3. bartv
    bartv New Member
    Yes, this is a truly amazing design.
  4. henryseg
    henryseg Well-Known Member
  5. henryseg
    henryseg Well-Known Member
    Here's an animated gif showing how the gears mesh into each other:

  6. henryseg
    henryseg Well-Known Member
    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...
  7. henryseg
    henryseg Well-Known Member
    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.


    Youtube video.

    Baseplate and axle for Triple gear.
    15cm axle for Triple gear.
    30cm axle for Triple gear.
  8. henryseg
    henryseg Well-Known Member
    Here is a paper on the arXiv (an electronic repository for research papers) describing how we designed the Triple gear:
  9. henryseg
    henryseg Well-Known Member
    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.