To the outsider, the world of gear cutting and gear machining is a complex one.
Highly specific types of gears (which are made of differing materials, with a large
variety of specifications) are required for every type of machine you can imagine.
The sizes of a gear can range from those that have such a high specification, the gear
cutting is done at a sub micron level, to gears that help power some of the largest
pieces of machinery in the world. One such is the steel-cast 43.27 ft horsepower-
driven ring gear. This gear can be found in Chile, at the Escondida Cooper Mine in
the Atacama Desert. It was custom made (rather obviously, you wouldn’t have a run
of fifty on these), and it drives the primary ore semiautogenous grinding mill at the
At either end of the spectrum, molecular gears put gear manufacturing at the very
edge of innovative technology. The smallest gears in the world at the moment are
being developed at a nano level. Although many of these nanogears are beyond the
current reach of chemical synthesis, the modelling of them has become more and
more straightforward. There has been a successful construction of a molecule sized
gear in Singapore. A gear the size of a molecule is a hundred thousand times smaller
than the width of a human hair and cannot be seen with human eye. The technology
is being developed so it can, eventually, be used in pocket-sized supercomputers.
So from the exceedingly large to the unbelievably small, gear manufacturing is at the
forefront of driving the world around us. Without gears our technological advances
simply would not be happening, and our world would look dramatically different
from how it does currently.
For children just starting out learning about gears, these facts are interesting, but do
not really instruct them on how gears power our world. With precision engineering
companies in Manchester, schools could arrange trips to find out how gear cutting is
done, but a more instructive start would be to purchase one of the many gear packs
aimed at primary school children. They can test how gears effect each other and see
for themselves whether their configurations will work or not.
For more information about gears and Hopwood Gears, Check out their website at: