Igus has developed an online gear service life calculator for 3-D printed gears made of its SLS high-performance plastic Iglidur I3.
The first step involves entering the gear’s tooth module, number of teeth, width and inner diameter, then “choosing the Iglidur material of which the gear is to be made and its mating material”.
In the second step, (www.igus.co.uk/onlinegearcalculator
) the online tool asks for the speed and the torque of the large or small gear wheel, depending on which gear wheel the values are for.
The last step is to determine the duty cycle of the printed gear, the mode of operation, the ambient temperature and the safety factor.
Based on the specified parameters, the onlinetool will calculate the estimated service life of the 3-D printed gear.
In-house tests have shown that gear wheels printed from Iglidur I3 are wear-resistant and durable.
For instance, in a ‘1,440deg pivot test’ at a speed of 0.1m/sec and a torque of 2.2Nm, an additive gear wheel made of Iglidur I3 competed against a POM (Polyoxymethylene) injected gear wheel and a POM milled gear wheel.
All the gears had 30 teeth and a width of 16mm. While the injection-moulded POM gear failed after just 4,000 cycles and the machined POM gear broke after 12,500 cycles, the Iglidur I3 gear withstood almost 20,000 cycles.
Gears can be configured online (www.igus.co.uk.igusukCAD
A 3-D model is then displayed automatically, which can be exported as a STEP file.
By uploading the file in the Igus 3-D printing service (www.igus.co.uk/igus3D
), the configured gear can be ordered directly — made of Iglidur I3.