I'm looking to invest in a mill and lathe to progress my robot
building beyond Lego, wood and glue. I'm a proper geek, so I'll be
going for CNC.
So, let's assume I have kit the size of a Taig or Sherline mill and
lathe, with CNC. How practical is it to cut my own gears? I'm looking
at gears for the power train of smallish robots up to 2kg in mass - no
60kg radio-controlled Robot-Wars tanks for me! Minimum size would
ideally be as small as I can make the electronics (very small!).
I know that gear hobbing machines exist, but as far as I can tell they
are too specialised for my needs (read: too big and expensive). Is
cutting gears with a small (CNC) mill pratical? How do the gears
compare to mass-produced items such as one would find in RC models?
Can CNC do it all or is there some art involved? Other than hobs and
specially shaped cutters are there any other tools to make the job
That's a lot of questions, I know. I'll be happy to hear any personal
experiences, references (web or books) or suggestions.
I dream of building a working 1/2 scale model of the NASA Sojourner
rover as a platform for my robot brains and sensors. I expect that
would require custom planetary gears, machining of complex shapes and
a lot of time. It certainly wouldn't be my first project, but I'd like
to know if the kind of kit I am considering would be capable of the
job once I'm a good enough model engineer and metalworker.
- posted 17 years ago