How do Gearboxes Work?
All gearboxes work in a similar fashion. The directions the gears rotate are dependent on the input direction and orientation of
the gears. For example, if the initial gear is rotating in a clockwise direction, the gear it engages will rotate counterclockwise.
This continues down the line for multiple gears. The combination of different size gears and the number of teeth on each gear
plays a significant role in the output torque and speed of the shaft. High gear ratios allow for more output torque and lower
speeds, while lower gear ratios allow for higher output speed and less output torque.
A planetary gearbox works relatively the same. A planetary gearbox system is constructed with three main components: a
central sun gear, a planet carrier (carrying one or more planet gears) and an annulus (an outer ring). The central sun gear is
orbited by planet gears (of the same size) mounted to the planet carrier. The planet gears are meshed with the sun gear
while the outer rings teeth mesh with the planet gears. There are several configurations for a gearbox system. Typical
configurations consist of three components: the input, the output and one stationary component. For example: one possible
configuration is the sun gear as the input, the annulus as the output and the planet carrier remaining stationary. In this
configuration, the input shaft rotates the sun gear, the planet gears rotate on their own axes, simultaneously applying a torque
to the rotating planet carrier that in turn applies torque to the output shaft (which in this case is the annulus). The rate at which
the gears rotate (gear ratio) is determined by the number of teeth in each gear. The torque (power output) is determined by
both the number of teeth and by which component in the planetary system is stationary.
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