3D Printed Gears. Source: Sonny Abesamis on flickr.com
3D Printed Gears. Source: Sonny Abesamis on flickr.com

To help you design gears that are 3D printable and workable, we have asked our in-house designer, Krista, for some tips.

First of all:

  • Check the tolerances. They need to be the same throughout all of the gears
  • Tolerances between touching surfaces should be about 0.3 mm or larger
  • The gear hole needs to be bigger than the stud and keep an offset of 0.3 mm around the stud
  • The gears need to be tight enough where they are not sloppy but loose enough to remove support material
  • Use the same dimensions or ratio when working with multiple gears and different sizes
  • Ensure that the teeth do not overlap so that they do not print on top of each other
  • Consider the use for which your gears are for (e.g., if you are creating a smartphone case with gears, the gears may need to have a perimeter wall behind the gears so that they do not snag when in your pocket)

Krista also recommends SolidWorks as a good program for creating design with gears. All you need to do is input the dimensions and the program does the work for you. Other options include finding a gear file on GrabCAD and modifying the gear in Blender if needed. WhiteClouds can also 3D design your drawing as well. One of these solutions should meet your needs.

Helpful Tools and Information for 3D Designing Gears

SolidWorks Website

In-depth Information on Gear Tolerances

Metric Gear Technology

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