Design of the Week: Gripping Gears
This week’s selection is the amazing Gripping Gears by Henry Segerman, Will Segerman and Sabetta Matsumoto.
Segerman (Henry) is no stranger to these pages, having previously been awarded our Design of the Week in 2013 for the fascinating Sphere Autoglyph (see the story for exactly what that is). He’s also been our Book of the Week for his text, “Visualizing Mathematics with 3D Printing”, and also featured for his video series, on visualization.
How can this fellow create all this highly complex material? He’s a mathematician, an associate professor at Oklahoma State University. He has published numerous public outreach projects, often using 3D printing and always using mathematics.
The design this week is the incredible Gripping Gears. They are a pair of gears that rotate against each other — with a difference.
They have no axle, nor any frame to hold them. There is only two gears.
They interlock in an interesting fashion, whereby a pin guides the rotation along until another pin takes over. The gears never leave each other, and can be rotated in either direction.
You can see how it works in this video, where Segerman explains how it works:
Unfortunately, the 3D model for the Gripping Gears has not yet been published, so you cannot print these yourself.
However, the concept seems relatively clear and it is entirely possible you might try designing something similar to see if you can match Segerman’s design.
There’s one problem with the design, as Segerman points out towards the end of the short video: what, exactly, could these be used for? He doesn’t seem sure, but suggests that might be for a future video.
I propose they are useful for our own amazement.