Thursday, 26 April 2012

Gear Blanks

After all that geary theory, it's time to get our hands dirty again. This week I've been making the gear blanks. I had previously started the sun gear blank because I needed to machine the main bore before I built the wheel up, All that remains is to machine the special key way that locks the gear to the front hub.

These pictures illustrates the key way, 
a tapered key fits into the shaped key way and is 
drawn up the matching taper on the hub by a locking screw. 

The original that I measured came apart very easily and has obviously been apart before as the tapered key and screw have both suffered at the hands of an enthusiastic hammer owner. The key (pardon the pun) to getting this kind of interface to work successfully is to have very close tolerances and as it turns out I had two attempts at the tapered key before I was happy. I may need to make another after everything has been hardened and plated, the tolerances are that tight.

The first job is to drill a hole that just grazes the edge of the bore 
and then countersink the outer end for the locking screw to locate in. 
I actually used two end mills for this job rather than a drill.

The next job is to flip the sun gear over and mill the back of the gear 
from the hole into the bore to create the key way. 
Note that the plug to bolt the gear to the vertical slide already 
had a recess machined out. This cut has to be at exactly the right depth.

Then we can machine the key itself, first job is to drill and tap
 a 1BA hole up the centre of a length of barstock. 
The original really was 1BA, I measured it very carefully.

Then without removing the work from the chuck, remount the chuck 
on the dividing head and mill away the excess to form the correct shape.

Finally, mill the 4 degree taper, this is where the size become super critical. 
With such a short taper, if the key is too tall you can't assemble it 
and if it is too short the key bottoms out as it is tightened.

Next make the locking screw, this is just simple turning and threading with two slots milled at opposite edges to adjust it. Of course, I also needed to make the special tool to do the adjusting...

Finally we can test the assembly of the lock.

Then I just need to make the blank for the planet gear, which is also just straightforward turning at this stage. All the fiddly stuff comes later.

Gear blanks ready for the teeth to be cut.

In other news, last weekend we had a local steam extravaganza at Steam Scene. I took the kids and we had an excellent time. A particular favourite being the miniature train rides which seemed to go almost to Christchurch and back. I was examining the gearing (for topical reasons, you understand) on a traction engine when the owner appeared and asked if I was "Claudia's Dad". It transpired that our respective daughter's were friends. During the course of our conversation, the geared facile came up. I enquired where she got her casting done locally and was referred to a small, local Christchurch foundry that should be able to help. I took my patterns and a photo of a geared facile around on Monday lunchtime. Well, again, it turns out we have mutual friends and had attended many of the same events together, we just hadn't met yet. The upshot is that my parts will be cast in steel and will be ready next Friday. I'll be sure to let you know how they turn out.

In more other news, On Sunday afternoon I helped an excitable, young Tinkerbell build her faux pathracer in my workshop. She arrived laden with Jaffa Cakes (I don't do this for free you know) and we proceeded to prep the frame before using vast quantities of my spare parts. Two of her chums from the local tweed riding scene, Dylan and Pete, also arrived and helped out. We finished it off, sans brakes, and she was able to ride it up and down the street before heading home very happy. She has since added some brakes. Tweed Pete also gave me a recommendation for a local gear cutter. I'll give him a ring tomorrow.

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