Gear Hobbing & the 7 phases of a project

As someone who is creative and brimming over with ideas, far too many things that I could ever implement in practice, it occurs to me that there are 7 phases that any project will go through, namely, ...

1. A pipe dream. 2. Thinking through how it might be done. 3. Designing it. 4. Furnishing it from the scrap bin. 5. Making it. 6. Using it. 7. Consigning it back into the scrap bin.

And, in the manner of snakes and ladders, any phase could skip over the rest to arrive at no 7!

I have been involved for some time in assisting a prominent member of the SMEE with software support for his gear hobbing machines and have been thinking about doing some hobbing of my own. (I need some 0.5 module gears for a Ham Radio project, which is currently in Phase 3).

The recent article in MEW set me thinking, firstly that that guy has resolved some of the peculiar mathematical difficulties associated with the production of spiral gears, and secondly that those projects involving stepper motors usually require some form of optical pick-up from the hob axis.

Why not, I thought, drive BOTH the workpiece AND the hob by stepper motors, and then they can be both driven by a division down from a high frequency source; the same type of electronics to be used for both, without the need for optical pick-up.

The stepper motor itself, AIUI, is an adaption of what was intended to be a synchronuos AC motor,and if one could electronically generate sine wave excitation, then any vibration associated with a stepped hob would be eliminated.

Thinking on my feet, the same argument would apply for the workpiece drive as well.

Thinking further, if one is generating synchronous AC sinewaves, then why bother with steppers, why not use AC motors? Sorry, rambling a bit here, but AIUI, modern washing machines achieve the varying speed of the drum by just such techniques.

(This discussion is currently in Phase 1, the pipe dream :-) )

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Actually, that stirred something in the grey matter, something from my days in industry, the 6 phases of a project ...

1. Enthusiasm 2. Disillusionment 3. Panic 4. Search for the guilty 5. Punishment of the innocent 6. Praise and honours for the non-participants.

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