When considering a new gear type for any application, one of the most important factors involved will be selecting the proper gear material. Modern gears can be manufactured from several different material types, and which you choose will play a large role in
everything from the engineering process to the long-term application viability of the gear.
At Butler Gear, we're a custom gear manufacturer familiar with a wide variety of gear materials. We've created a diverse array of gears for our clients over the years, from bevel gears and crown gears to spur gears, pinion gears and numerous others. What are some of your top material choices available as you shop for new gear products, and what are some of the top factors you should consider when choosing your material?
Common Gear Materials
While potential gear materials a generation or two ago might have been somewhat limited, modern gears can be made using a variety of different material types. The most common type is steel, which offers a fantastic combination of strength, wear resistance and ability to withstand heat treatment. In addition, steel is abundant and generally available for affordable prices.
However, there are numerous other materials gears can be made from. They are commonly produced from brass, bronze, cast iron, ductile iron, powdered metal, aluminum or even various plastic formats in some cases.
Our subsequent sections will dig into elements of material quality to consider when making your selection.
For starters, it's vital to consider the basic properties of the material you're thinking about selecting for your gear. One of the first measures engineers generally look for here is the load a given material can withstand - if your application involves high-strength input needs, those should be a top consideration, and might immediately eliminate certain materials that cannot handle these high loads.
Other mechanical properties may vary depending on your needs. You might want a particularly stiff material format, for instance, or you might desire a material that can conduct electricity for a given use.
It should be noted that not all gear materials are as easy to manufacture as others. Many may be prone to chipping or cracking during the machining process, while others may experience more manufacturing errors on average. Our team will be happy to inform you of any materials that come with these risks.
Corrosion and Wear
You also want to pay close attention to whether a given material will wear down or corrode in the expected environment it will be in. Gears tend to interact with other materials and may also be present in marine environments, and this is an important factor to consider when selecting the material.
Finally, different gear materials come with different cost ranges. If your material takes longer to machine or is more expensive to source, for instance, it will likely cost more. Once again, our pros will be happy to explain which materials tend to be most and least expensive, plus which provide the best value.
For more on the factors involved in selecting your next gear material, or to learn about any of our custom gear manufacturing
services, speak to the staff at Butler Gear today.