Helical gear products are often used in many industries, especially in the automotive industry. Helical gears offer a refinement over spur gears. The leading edges of the teeth are not parallel to the axis of rotation, but are set at an angle. Since the gear is curved, this angling causes the tooth shape to be a segment of a helix. The angled teeth engage more gradually than do spur gear teeth. This causes helical gears to run more smoothly and quietly than spur gears. Helical gear products also offer the possibility of using non-parallel shafts. A pair of helical gears can be meshed in two ways: with shafts oriented at either the sum or the difference of the helix angles of the gears. These configurations are referred to as parallel or crossed, respectively.
The parallel configuration is more mechanically sound. In it, the helices of a pair of meshing teeth meet at a common tangent, and the contact between the tooth surfaces will, generally, be a curve extending some distance across their face widths. In the crossed configuration, the helices do not meet tangentially, and only point contact is achieved between tooth surfaces.
Bevel gear products are essentially conically shaped, although the actual gear does not extend all the way to the vertex (tip) of the cone that bounds it. With two bevel gears in mesh, the vertices of their two cones lie on a single point, and the shaft axes also intersect at that point. The angle between the shafts can be anything except zero or degrees. Bevel gears with equal numbers of teeth and shaft axes at degrees are called miter gears. The teeth of a bevel gear may be straight-cut as with spur gears, or they may be cut in a variety of other shapes.
"Spiral bevel gears" have teeth that are both curved along their (the tooths) length; and set at an angle, analogously to the way helical gear teeth are set at an angle compared to spur gear teeth. "Zero bevel gears" have teeth which are curved along their length, but not angled. Spiral bevel gears have the same advantages and disadvantages relative to their straight-cut cousins as helical gears do to spur gears. Straight bevel gears are generally used only at specific speeds.
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