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Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

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Mechanism and Machine Theory


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/mechmt

Linkage model and manufacturing process of shaping


non-circular gears
Fangyan Zheng a, Lin Hua a,, Xinghui Han a, Bo Li b, Dingfang Chen b
a
b

School of Automotive Engineering, Hubei Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Automotive Components, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430070, China
School of Logistics Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430063, China

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 18 January 2015
Received in revised form 29 September 2015
Accepted 30 September 2015
Available online 11 November 2015
Editor: Philippe VELEX
Keywords:
Non-circular gear
Gear shaping
Manufacturing process

a b s t r a c t
Current research of non-circular gear processing mainly focuses on gear hobbing. However, this
method has many limitations including being unable to process internal gears or non-circular
external gears with a concave pitch curve and is likely to undercut when processing noncircular gears of greater curvature with a smaller number of teeth. Gear shaping, in contrast,
is a method that is able to overcome the limitations of gear hobbing. Relevant studies on
gear shaping have focused on the theoretical bases rather than the concrete processes and
tools. Through the combination of shaping theory and practice, this paper aimed to derive a
linkage model for shaping non-circular gears, and to rene the feeding strategy, and develop
a cutter retraction and cutter setting method. Finally, with a pair of 3-order sinusoidal-gearratio non-circular gears, this paper demonstrated the entire process in a CNC gear-shaping
machine, thus proving the accuracy of the mathematical model and providing a valid reference
for shaping non-circular gears.
2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Due to their compact structure and accurate non-uniform transmissions, non-circular gears are widely used in function
generators [1,2], gear pumps [3], and a variety of mechanical systems [46]. Until now, research on non-circular gears has been
insufcient for their various categories, complicated shapes, complex design calculations, and especially their challenging
manufacturing processes.
Many researchers have focused on the design of non-circular gears and their applications in mechanisms, but little attention
has been paid to the processing aspects. Chen et al. [7] and Tan et al. [8] built a basic mathematical model for hobbing noncircular spur gears. Litvin, et al. [9] also built a model for hobbing non-circular helical gears. Liu et al. [10,11] and Xia et al.
[12] constructed several hobbing systems and linkage models based on 4-axis and 5-axis hobbing machine respectively.
However, there are some limitations to hobbing non-circular gears, including the inability to process internal gears or noncircular external gears with concave pitch curves, and they are apt to undercut when processing non-circular gears of greater curvature variation and smaller number of teeth; fortunately, a more universal method that does not involve the above-mentioned
limitations is available: gear shaping. Cheng et al. [13] built a basic mathematical model for shaping non-circular spur gears;
Cheng et al. [14] and Bair [15] proposed a computerized tooth prole generation method and undercutting analysis method of
noncircular gears manufactured with shaper cutter; Li et al. [16] proposed a numerical computing method of noncircular gear
tooth proles generated by shaper cutters; Tang et al. [17] discussed negative meshing in shaping non-circular internal gears;

Corresponding author. Tel./fax: +86 27 87168391.


E-mail address: hualin@whut.edu.cn (L. Hua).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mechmachtheory.2015.09.010
0094-114X/ 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

193

Xiong et al. [18] researched the avoid method of cutting interference in non-circular gear shaping. Unfortunately, there are no
processing programs available for these models.
To solve these problems, this paper conducted the following exercises through a combination of shaping principles and
manufacturing processes: a) Based on the normal vector of gear pitch curve, a simplied mathematical model of tooth prolegenerating method with a shape cutter was established involving coordinate relationship, relative velocity, meshing equation,
and b) in combination with the structure of the 3-axis linkage shaping machine and the process of shaping cylindrical gears, a
mathematical model for shaping non-circular gears containing both a radial feed and rotary feed was developed. Furthermore,
an equal-arc-length mathematical cutting model was proposed to avoid a varying cutting area in the model. c) A series of problems closely related to the process was discussed, including the feeding strategy, cutter-retracting approach, cutter preset method,
and the design method of stock and xture. d) A pair of non-circular gears with a 3-order sinusoidal gear ratio was then used as
an example; the stock and corresponding xture were designed, the processing parameters were set, the cutting process was simulated in the form of a computer graphic, and nally, the process was implemented with a 3-linkage CNC gear-shaping machine.

2. Mathematical model of generating noncircular gear


2.1. Generating method
Fig. 1 shows the geometric relationship of tooth-prole generating with a shape cutter. Its principle was to ensure the pure
rotation between the pitch curve of a non-circular gear and the pitch circle of the shape cutter. Supposing that the shaped
non-circular gear is xed on the ground, the coordinate system S0(O0 x0y0) is rigidly connected to the gear. Its pitch curve
is then dened as r(). P represents the contact point between the pitch curve and pitch circle with a polar angle , thus:


xp r cos
:
yp r sin

Assuming that t is the unit tangent vector of the pitch curve, and according to the basic knowledge of the planar curve [19],
the tangent vector at P can be found by:
2

3
dr cos
 0

6
7
d
7 r0 cosr sin
t0 6
4 dr sin 5
r sin r cos
d

where r 0 dr
d

Fig. 1. Geometric relationships of tooth-prole generating.

194

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

The module of the tangent vector is:


q
r 0 cosr sin2 r 0 sin r cos2
q
r 0 2 r 2 :

jt0 j

Thus, the unit tangent vector is:


2

3
r 0 0 cosr sin

q
6
7  
6
7
r 0 2 r 2
t
t
6
7
t 0 6 0
7 tx :
jt0 j 6 r sin r cos 7
y
4
5
q
r 0 2 r 2

Assuming that the unit normal vector of a pitch curve is n at point P, as it is perpendicular to the unit tangent vector [20] then
the following is true:
2

3
r 0 sin r cos
q
6
7

 6
7
r0 2 r 2
ty
6
7
n
6
7:
0
t x
6 r cos r sin 7
4
5
q
r0 2 r 2

As shown in Fig. 1, a mobile coordinate system S1(O1 x1y1) was set at the center of the shape cutter, its x1-axis and y1-axis
parallel to the unit normal vector n and the unit tangent vector t, respectively; the distance between O1 and point P is the radius
of the cutter's pitch circle, namely O1P = ro.
The reference frame S2(O2 x2y2) is xed on the shape cutter, and its angle relative to S1 is (the rotation angle of the shape
cutter). The arc length of the pitch curve at point P is

Z q
r0 2 r 2 d:

With the pure rolling relationship [21], the rotating angle of the shape cutter can be represented as:
Z q
r 0 2 r 2 d

ro

ro

The center of the shape cutter O2 is on a normal equidistant line of the pitch curve [22], namely:


xo2 r cosr o t y
:
yo2 r sin r o t x

Thus, the center distance between the cutter and non-circular gear can be found by:

E jO2 O0 j

q v
u
2r o r
u
:
xo2 2 yo2 2 tr 2 ro 2 q
r 0 2 r2

The polar angle of the cutter at point O2 is:


"
#
 
y
r sin r o t x
a tan o2 a tan
xo2
r cos r o t y
8
q9


>
=
<ro r sin r 0 cos r sin r 0 2 r 2 >
q :
a tan
>
;
: r r cos r 0 sin  r cos r 0 2 r 2 >
o

10

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

195

The angle between O0 O2 and PO2 is:


2

r

r o q
2
3
0

x
x
x
;
y
y

;
y

2 r 2
o2
p o2
p
o2 o2
B PO2

O0 O2
C
4
5 a cos v :
a cos@

A a cos
u
Er o
2r o r

PO2

O0 O2

ur 2 r 2 q

t
o
0
r 2 r 2
0

11

Based on the geometric relations above, the coordinate transformation matrix between reference frames [23] S2 and
S1 is:
2

M12

cos
4 sin
0

3
sin 0
cos 0 5:
0
1

12

The coordinate transformation matrix between reference frames S0 and S1 is easily obtainable through the use of the vector,
and the coordinate basis vector of S0 is thus:
 
8
1
>
>
< i0
0  :
0
>
>
: j0
1

13

Similarly, the coordinate basis vector of S1 is:




i1 n
:
j1 t

14

Thus, the transformation matrix between reference frame S0 and S1 is:


2

M01

i0  i1
4 j0  i1
0

i0  j1
j0  j1
0

3 2
ty
xo2
yo2 5 4 t x
0
1

tx
ty
0

3
xo2
yo2 5:
1

15

The tooth proles of the shape cutter are the same as those of spur gears, which are generated from rack cutters and can be
dened as r2 t x2 t y2 t 1 T in reference to Ref. [24].
Then the tooth prole of the non-circular gear can be presented as the envelope curves of the tooth prole of the shape cutter;
that is:
r M01 M12 r2 :

16

2.2. Tooth prole


Section 2.1 explains the geometric relationship for shaping a non-circular gear, and presents the tooth prole of a non-circular
gear with envelope curves. Unfortunately, Eq. (16) signies the tooth prole envelope curve, while the real tooth prole is only
the boundary of the envelope curve. In order to obtain the tooth prole curve, Vasie et al. [25] proposed a numerical method that
analyzed the features of each point on the envelope curve. Fortunately, there is a more effective and convenient way to do this,
which is based on the meshing principle [26], namely
nr  vr 0

17

where nr is the normal vector of the cutter's tooth prole and vr is the relative velocity between the cutter and non-circular gear,
as in this case:
2

3
dy2 t

6
dt 7
nr 4
5:
dx2 t
dt

18

Because the shaped non-circular gear (reference frame S0) is xed on the ground, the relative velocity vr is the velocity of the
cutter (the velocity of the reference frame S2 relative to the ground reference frame S0), consisting of two velocity components:
the movement along with the tangent of the pitch curve and the rotation together with its rotational axis.

196

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

The tangential velocity along with the tangent of the pitch curve is:
v t t0 :

19

Supposing that the cutter's angular velocity along its rotational axis is 2, then, the velocity at a point on the cutter's tooth
prole can be presented as [27]:
2

3 2
3 q2
3
0
x t
r 2 r 0 2 y2 t
6 07 4 2 5
4 x2 t 5:
v2 2  r2 4 d 5  y2 t
ro
0
0
dt

20

The velocity of the cutter can be represented by:


2

q 3
0
2
2
6 r 0 cosr siny t r  r 7
6
7
2
ro
6
q
7
v r vt v2 6
7:
6
r 0 2 r 2 7
4 0
5
r sin r cos x2 t
ro

21

By substituting Eqs. (21) and (18) into the meshing equation (Eq. (17)), and then combining Eq. (17) and the envelope equation (Eq. (16)), the tooth prole of the non-circular gear can be solved.
3. Linkage model of shaping a non-circular gear
3.1. Linkage model with equal-polar-angle cutting
Fig. 2 shows the conguration of the 3-linkage CNC shaping machine tool in which the A-axis is the revolving axis of the work
piece (shaped gear); the B-axis is the revolving axis of the shape cutter; the X-axis is the linear axis of the center distance

Fig. 2. The conguration of CNC shaping machine tool.

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

197

between the cutter and the gear; Sp is the spindle of the machine tool, which implements the reciprocal cutting motion of the
cutter. A-axis, B-axis, and X-axis are three linkage axes with interpolation.
In terms of the mathematical model above, when the cutter and gear are perfectly meshed, the positional equation of each
linkage axis is as follows:
v
8
u
>
2ro r
u
>
>

tr 2 r o 2 q
>
>
>
>
r

2 r 0 2
>
>
8
>
q9
>
>


>
>
>
=
<r o r sin r 0 cos r sin r 2 r 0 2 >
>
>
>
q
A a tan
>
>
>
>
<
;
: r r cos r 0 sin  r cos r 2 r0 2 >
o
:

>
Z q
2
>
>
r

>
>
r o q
r 2 r 0 2 d
>
>
>
>
r 2 r 0 2
>
>
>
B 0
a cos v
>
>
u
>
ro
2ro r
>
ur 2 r 2 q
>
>

t
>
o
>
:
r 2 r 0 2

22

According to the coordinate transformation, the transformation matrix between A-axis and X-axis is:
2

MXA

cosA
4 sinA
0

3
sinA 0
cosA 0 5:
0
1

23

The transformation matrix between the X-axis and the machine base can be expressed as:
2

MX0

1 1
40 0
0 0

3
X
0 5:
1

24

The transformation matrix between the machine base and the B-axis can be expressed as:
2

MB0

cosB
4 sinB
0

3
sinB 0
cosB 0 5:
0
1

25

Thus, the envelope equation of the cutter is:


rMB0 MX0 MXA r2 :

26

Although Eqs. (26) and (16) are based on different coordinates systems, in essence, they are equivalent.
When shaping a gear, the feed of the cutter should perform motions in two directions instead of a single conjugate meshing of
the gear. Similar to the process of a cylindrical gear, several process cycles are set in advance, the number of which is codetermined by the cutter parameters and the processing capability of the machine tool. An exceedingly small number of cycles
will do harm to the cutter and the machine tool, while too many cycles will reduce process efciency.
Fig. 3 shows the geometric relationship in shaping a non-circular gear involving feed; and different from that shown in Fig. 1,
the cutter pitch circle and gear's pitch curve are no longer in line with each other, namely O02 P r o . Supposing that O02 P 0 ho , in
terms of Eq. (8), the position of O2 ' can be obtained with the following equation:
(

xo2 r cos ho t y
:
0
yo2 r sin ho t x

27

Thus, the center distance is:


v
u

2ho r
u
0
0
:
E jO2 O0j tr 2 ho 2 q
r 2 r 0 2

28

198

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

Fig. 3. Geometrical relationship in shaping non-circular gear with feed.

And the polar angel of O2 ' can be expressed as:


8
q9


>
 0 
<ho r sin r 0 cos r sin r 2 r0 2 >
=
yo2
q :
a tan
a tan 0
>
xo2
: h r cos r0 sin  r cos r 2 r 0 2 >
;
o
0

29

The angle between O0 O02 and P 0 O02 is obtained by:


r 2
ho q
r 2 r 0 2
0
a cos v :
u
2ho r
u
tr 2 ho 2 q
r 2 r 0 2

30

Therefore, the position of each linkage axis containing feed can be presented as follows:
v
8
u
>
2ho r
u
0
0
>
>

E
;
h

X
tr 2 ho 2 q
>
o
>
>
>
r 2 r 0 2
>
>
8
>
q9
>
>


>
>
>
=
<ho r sin r 0 cos r sin r 2 r 0 2 >
>
>
0
0
>
q
> A ; ho a tan
>
>
>
<
;
: h r cos r 0 sin  r cos r 2 r0 2 >
o
:

>
Z q
>
>
r 2
>
2
0
2
>
ho q
r r  d
>
>
>
>
r 2 r 0 2
>
> 0
0
>
B ; ho
a cos v
>
>
u
>
ro
2ho r
>
u
>
>
tr 2 ho 2 q
>
>
:
r2 r 0 2

31

The position of each axis contains two independent variables and ho. The process of shaping gears is always divided into
several cycles, in each cycle; the rst feed is in the radial direction for a gear (ho increase while stays at zero), then the feed

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

199

is in the tangential direction ( increase while ho stays constant). The velocity of each axis in different feeding direction is as
follows:
8
>
X 0 ; ho d
d
0

>
>
X ; ho
Vt X ; ho
>
>
dt
dt

>
>
>
>
>
A0 ; ho d
d
0

>
>
A ; ho
Vt A ; ho
>
>
dt
dt

>
>
>
0
>
>
B ; ho d
d
0

>
>
B ; ho
< Vt B ; ho
dt
dt

0
>
> Vr 0 ; h X ; ho dho X h ; h dho
>
>
o
o
X
>
dt
dt
ho
>
>
>
0
>
>
A

;
h

dh
dho
0
h
>
o
o
>
A ; ho
Vr A ; ho
>
>
dt
dt
ho
>
>
>
0
>
>
B ; ho dho
dho
0
h
>
>
B ; ho
: Vr B ; ho
dt
dt
ho

32

where X (, ho), A(, ho), and B(, ho) are the corresponding differentials of functions X(, ho), A(, ho), and B(, ho) with respect to . Xh(, ho), Ah(, ho),and Bh(, ho) are the corresponding differentials of functions X(, ho), A(, ho), and B(, ho) with
o
o
respect to ho. Vt is the velocity of each axis in tangential feed, while Vr is the velocity of each axis in the radial feed. dh
and d
are
dt
dt
the feed rate of radial feed and that of the tangential feed, respectively. Generally, the feed rate remains constant in each process
cycle [28], namely:
8
d
>
<
f
dt
:
dh
>
o
:
fh
dt

33

Thus, the velocity of each linkage axis is:


8 0

Vt X ; ho X ; ho f
>
>
>
0

>
>
Vt A ; ho A ; ho f
>
>
>
< Vt 0 ; h B ; h f
B
o
o
:
0
h
>
Vr

;
h

;
h
>
X
o
o f h
>
>
>
0
h
>
Vr ; ho A ; ho f h
>
>
: A0
h
Vr B ; ho B ; ho f h

34

3.2. Linkage model with equal-arc-length cutting


According to the equal-polar-angle cutting linkage model shown in Section 3.1, the rotation of the gear (A-axis) is approximately uniform, meaning that rotating angle basically stays the same in each process step. The small inertial force of this uniform rotation helps to decrease kinematic errors of the machine tool, in turn improving its kinematic accuracy.
However, along with its rotating angle, the radius of the non-circular gear's stock generally changes. Thus, the arc length of the
pitch curve varies in different process steps, which means the cutting area changes from one process step to the next. The inconsistent cutting areas will result in varying degrees of roughness on the surfaces of the tooth proles, and can cause severe damage
to the cutter and spindle. To solve this problem, a linkage model with equal-arc-length cutting was proposed.
Eq. (26) shows that the pitch-curve arc length of the non-circular gear and the rotating angle of the cutter constitute a linear
relationship, which means if the rotation of the cutter is kept uniform, the arc length of the non-circular gear will stay the same in
each process step. In this sense, to implement equal-arc-length cutting, the independent variable (the rotating angle of the noncircular gear ) of the linkage model in Section 3.1 must be replaced with the rotor angle of cutter .
In terms of Eq. (7):
Z q
r o
r 2 r 0 2 d:

35

In term of Eq. (35), can be solved by the numerical method and its solution is an implicit function of , and can be presented
as:
d :

36

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F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

Taking the derivative of Eq. (36), then:


d

q
r 2 r0 2
ro

37

By substituting d() into Eq. (31), the position of each linkage axis with equal-arc-length cutting can be presented as
follows:
8
0
< X d ; ho X d ; ho 
0
A ; ho A d ; ho  :
: d
0
Bd ; ho B d ; ho 

38

Because the feed rate in the equal-arc-length cutting method can be gained by taking the derivative of the angle of the cutter
with respect to time, and with a constant feed rate in each process cycle, it can be assumed that:
d
f :
dt

39

Thus, the velocity of each linkage axis in feed with equal-arc-length cutting method is:
8
0

X d ; ho dd d X d ; ho f
>
>
>

Vdt
>
X
>
d dt
d 
d
>
>
>
0

>
>
A d ; ho dd d A d ; ho f
>
>

Vdt A
>
>
d dt
d 
d
>
<
0
B d ; ho dd d B d ; ho f :

Vdt B
>
>
d dt
d 
d
>
>
>
>
h
>
> VdrX X d ; ho f h
>
>
>
h
>
>
VdrA A d ; ho f h
>
>
:
h
VdrB B d ; ho f h

40

3.3. Cutter retracting method


When shaping a gear, the cutter should reciprocate [29]. To avoid scratches on the tooth ank or damage to the cutter, a cutter
retracting motion in the return stroke should be considered to keep the cutter away from the stock.
The 3-linkage axis CNC shaping machine tool is congured with a relieving mechanism to implement the cutter retracting motion, and the motion strictly follows the center line between the cutter and the work piece. When processing cylindrical gears, as
the normal direction of the gear pitch curve is consistent with the center line, cutter interference can be effectively avoided with
this method. However, as far as non-circular gears are concerned, this method would be infeasible due to the normal direction of
the gear's pitch curve being different from that of the center line. A practical method to avoid cutter interference while processing
non-circular gears is to make the cutter center move in the direction of the gear pitch curve through the compound motion of the
relieving mechanism and machine axes when the cutter approaches the bottom dead center.
Fig. 4 shows the positional relationships of the machine axes during the compound relieving motion. Supposing that the relieving distance of the relieving mechanism is E and the center distance between the gear and cutter is E ' ', then the position
of the cutter center O2 ' ' is:
(


00 00
0
0
xo2 ; ho xo2 ; ho E cos

00 00
0
00 
0:
yo2 ; ho yo2 ; ho E sin

41

Supposing that the position of the gear following the relieving motion is at P ' ' and its polar angle is ' ', then the coordinate
value of P ' ' is:
(

00 
00 
00 00 
xp r cos





00
00
00
00  :
yp r sin

42

And the vector is:


h 
iT
00 00
00
00
00
00 00 
00
O2 P xp xo2 ; ho yp yo2 ; ho :

43

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

201

Fig. 4. The cutter retracting method of shaping a non-circular gear.

In terms of Eq. (2), the tangent vector at point P ' ' is:
00

t0


0
r } cos}r } sin}
:
0
r } sin} r } cos}

44

By making the vector O2 ' ' P ' ' perpendicular to tangent vector t0 ' ', then the following is true:
00 00

00

O2 P  t0 0:

45

The position of P ' ' can be solved with Eq. (45), and assuming that the solution is ' ' (), and by substituting it into Eq. (31),
the position of each axis in the relieving motion is as follows:
8
0
< X r ; ho X d }; ho 
0
A ; ho A d }; ho  :
: r
0
Br ; ho B d }; ho 

46

Fig. 5. Presetting cutter datum for shaping non-circular gears.

202

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

Table 1
Parameters of the gear.
Gear ratio function i12(1)

Module m

Teeth number of drive gear z1

Pressure angle

Addendum coefcient ha

3.27 + 1.3 sin(1)

2.5

14

20

Dedendum coefcient h f

1.25

Therefore, the velocity of each linkage axis in the relieving motion can be found with the following:
8


X 00d ; ho f
>
>
>
 00

Vrt
>
X
>
d
>
>

>
00
>
>
A

>
d ; ho f
>


>

Vrt

A
>
>
00d
>
<


B 00d ; ho f :


Vrt

>
B
>
>
00d
>
>

>
h 00
>
>
Vrr

X
d ; ho f h
>
X
>

>
h 00
>
>
Vrr A A d ; ho f h
>
>
>

:
h 00
Vrr B B d ; ho f h

47

A cutter retracting method for shaping non-circular gears was developed in which the retracting motion was implemented by
the compound motion of the relieving mechanism and machine axes. Unfortunately, the high-response control system and precise
transmission in the machine tool reduced the processing efciency. This created a new issue of how to improve the processing
efciency, which will be researched in subsequent papers.
3.4. Presetting cutter method
The presetting cutter for shaping non-circular gears was complicated due to the irregular geometry stock. A series of rules
apply to the process:
a) Ensure that the stock and A-axis and the cutter and B-axis share the same respective center axis.
b) Make sure the stock's starting point r(0) and the X-axis keep a certain rotation relation.
And as is shown in Fig. 5, the relation is ascertained by modulating the angle between datum C of the stock and the X-axis. By
substituting = 0, ho = h + ro into Eq. (10), this angle can be calculated by the following equation:
8
9
>
>
<
=
hr0 0
q :
st a tan
>
:h r 0 r0 r 02 r 0 02 >
;
o

48

(a)

(b)
Fig. 6. Prole of the stock.

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

203

Fig. 7. Stock and its corresponding xture.

c) Ensure a certain angle between the cutter's tooth prole and the stock. As shown in Fig. 5, the angle is ascertained by modulating between datum D of the cutter and the X-axis. By substituting = 0, ho = h + ro into Eq. (11), this angle can be calculated as follows:
2

r 0
h q
r 02 r 0 02
:
st a cos v
u
2hr0
u
tr02 h2 q
r 02 r0 02

49

When processing the driven gear with the above cutter, the position angle should be as follows:
0

st st

zo

50

where zo is the tooth number of the shape cutter.


d) Ensure a constant center distance of Est between the A-axis and B-axis by modulating the value of the X-axis. By substituting
= 0, ho = h + ro into Eq. (28), the center distance can be obtained with the following equation:
v
u
2hr0
u
Est tr02 h2 q:
r 02 r 0 02

51

3.5. Manufacturing process of shaping non-circular gears


The manufacturing process of shaping non-circular gears can be divided into Ni cycles, and just like the fabrication of cylindrical gears, each cycle consists of two independent feeds: the radial feed and the rotary feed. The feed rate and cutting depth are
generally different between the different cycles. The radial feed, rotary feed, and the cutting depth are fhi, fi, and hi, respectively,
in each cycle.

Table 2
Parameters of the shape cutter.
Module mo (mm)

Tooth number zo

Pressure angle o (deg)

Addendum (mm) ha ' (mm)

Dedendum (mm) hf ' (mm)

2.5

11

20

2.5

3.125

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F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

Table 3
Cutter presetting position.
Gear

A-axis st (deg)

B-axis st (deg)

X-axis Est (mm)

Drive gear
Driven gear

9.212
4.5

7.722
28.798

35.251
71.924

With an increased cutting depth, the cutting area expands and the subsequent cutting force is also increased. Therefore, a decreasing feed strategy should be adopted, which means both the feed rate and cutting depth decrease along with the increasing
number of cycles:
8
< f hi1 b f hi
f b f i i 1Ni 1:
: i1
hi1 b hi

49

The feed rate and cutting depth should be set according to the parameters of the cutter, machine tool, materials, etc. In general
cutting, a shaper cutter is used for both roughing and nishing, meaning that the precision and roughness of the gear anks are
mainly determined in the last processing cycle; therefore, the feed rate and cutting depth of the last cycle should all be set at
small amounts.
The radial feed time in each cycle can be calculated as follows:
thi

hi
i 1Ni :
f hi

50

The rotary feed time in each cycle can also be gured by:
ti

2z
i 1Ni
zo f i

51

where z is the tooth number of the shaped gear and zo is the tooth number of the cutter. The total process time can be calculated
as follows:

tA

Ni
X
thi ti :

52

i1

Fig. 8. Presetting position of drive gear.

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

205

angular error of cutter (deg)

0.14

equal-arc-length cutting method


equal-polar-angle cutting method

0.13
0.12
0.11
0.10
0.09
0.08
0.07
0.06
0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

4500

5000

processing steps
Fig. 9. Angular error of cutter for setting processing step.

4. Example and analysis


4.1. Parameters of shaped gears and shape cutter
A pair of non-circular gears with 3-order sinusoidal gear ratio function was used as an example. And the parameters of the
gear are shown in Table 1.
The arc length of the drive gear pitch curve is calculated using Eq. (6), thus giving:

S2

Z2 q


r 1 2 r01 2 d mz1 109:956 mm:
0

And the pitch curve of the drive gear is as follows:


r 1 1

a
a

:
1 i12 1 4:27 1:3 sin1

Hence the center distance can be solved by


a 69:428 mm:

positional error of cutter (mm)

0.0350

equal-polar-angle cutting method


equal-arc-length cutting method

0.0325
0.0300
0.0275
0.0250
0.0225
0.0200
0.0175
0.0150
0

500

1000

1500

2000

2500

3000

3500

4000

processing steps
Fig. 10. Positional error of cutter for setting processing step.

4500

5000

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F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

Table 4
Process parameters setting.

Cutting depth hi (mm)


Radial feed rate fhi (mm/s)
Rotary feed rate h (deg/s)
Radial feed time thi (s)
Rotary feed time of drive gear ti (s)
Rotary feed time of driven gear ti (s)
Process time of drive gear tA (min)
Process time of driven gear tA (min)

Cycle 1

Cycle 2

Cycle 3

Cycle 4

Cycle 5

2
0.1
0.03
20
266.559
799.678
62.578
182.544

1.7
0.05
0.02
34
399.839
119.517

1.4
0.03
0.015
46.667
533.119
1599.36

0.5
0.01
0.01
50
799.678
2399.03

0.025
0.005
0.005
5
1599
4798.07

The pitch curve of the driven gear is:


r 2 1 ar 1 1 69:428



3:27 1:3 sin1
:
4:27 1:3 sin1

The rotating angle of the driven gear is:


Z1
2 1
0

1
d:
i12

The tooth number of the driven gear is:


z2

2z1
42
2 2


The tooth addendum is ha ha m 2:5, and by substituting ho = ha into Eq. (27), the stock prole curve can be calculated as
follows:


xa r cosha t y
:
ya r sin ha t x

Fig. 6 shows the stock prole in which (a) is the stock prole of the drive gear and (b) is the stock prole of the driven gear.
Both the stock and its corresponding xture were fabricated and assembled as exhibited in Fig. 7.
To avoid undercutting and pointed teeth, the parameters of the shape cutter were set in term of Ref. [15]. Table 2 presents the
parameters of the shape cutter. The presetting position of each axis was calculated using Eqs. (48), (49), (50), and (51) (as shown
in Table 3). Fig. 8 illustrates the shape of the cutter and the presetting position of the drive gear.

Fig. 11. Envelope curve in Cycle 1.

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

207

Fig. 12. Envelope curve in Cycle 2.

4.2. Error analysis of the processing


Because of a linear interpolation method of the CNC system, theoretical errors depend on the processing step setting [30], regardless if the error was caused by the cutter, machine or material. Taking the drive gear as an example, the total processing steps
were set as
Ne 5000:
Thus the step length of equal-polar angle cutting obtained for the maximal polar angle of drive gear is 2.
2=Ne 0:00126rad 0:072 deg
While the step length with equal-polar angle cutting is obtained in term of Eq. (7)
S2=r o Ne 2z1 =zo Ne 0:0016rad 0:091 deg

Fig. 13. Envelope curve in Cycle 3.

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F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

Fig. 14. Envelope curve in Cycle 5.

The value of the parameter in two cutting method is as follows in each cutting step ei


i ei
e 0; 1Ne :
i ei i

By substituting i and d(i) into Eq. (7), the angle of the cutter i in the coordinate system of the gear can be obtained, and
the angular error of the cutter can be obtained as = i i 1. Fig. 9 shows the angular error of the cutter in the setting
processing step, the red curve is the angular error with equal-polar-angle cutting while the blue one is the angular error with
equal-arc-length cutting. It shows that the angular error with equal-polar-angle cutting is change while that with equal-arclength cutting held steady; the maximum error with equal-polar-angle cutting was 0.1224 while that with equal-arc-length cutting was 0.0918.
By taking ho = 0, and substituting i and i into Eqs. (31) and (38), the position of each axes can be obtained as (Xi, Ai, Bi)
and (Xi, Ai, Bi). By taking the center of cutter r2e 0 0 1 , and substituting the position of each axis into Eq. (26). The position of the cutter center can be obtained as ri and ri in the coordinate system of the gear. Finally, the positional error of the
cutter can be obtained as


ei jr i r i1 j
:
ei jr i ri1 j

Fig. 10 shows the positional error of cutter for the setting processing step, the red curve is the positional error with equalpolar-angle cutting, and the blue one is the positional error with equal-arc-length cutting. It is shown that the positional error
with equal-polar-angle cutting changed while that with equal-arc-length cutting held steady; the maximum error with equalpolar-angle cutting was 0.0293 mm while that with equal-arc-length cutting was 0.0221 mm.

Fig. 15. Velocity of each machine axis in tangential feeding for shaping the drive gear.

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

209

Fig. 16. Velocity of each machine axis in tangential feeding for shaping the driven gear.

Based on error analysis of the two cutting method, both the angular error and the positional error of the cutter with equal-arclength cutting were less than that with equal-polar-angle cutting. Thus the equal-arc-length cutting was adopted; the expected
errors in processing are shown in Figs. 9 and 10 for drive gear.
4.3. Process setting and simulation analysis
There were altogether ve cycles for shaping the drive gear and the driven gear. The corresponding feed rate, cutting depth,
and processing time are listed in Table 4. Firstly, the position of each machine axis was calculated using Eq. (38), next substituted
into Eq. (26), and then the envelope curve of the cutter in each cycle was then obtained (except for cycle 4 due to its resemblance
to the last cycle), as shown in Figs. 1114. The velocity of each machine axis was calculated in terms of Eq. (40). Figs. 15 and
16(a), (b), and (c) illustrate the velocity of the A-axis, B-axis, and X-axis of each gear in the tangential feed, respectively.
The tooth proles of gears were obtained based on the mathematical model discussed in Section 2 and shown in Fig. 17. The
geometrical shape of all teeth was different for drive gear, while that of all teeth for driven gear was third order symmetric. As it
is shown in Fig. 17, shaped tooth proles without points and undercutting.
4.4. Numerical control processing
There are two machine tool control methods; one is the velocity control based on the NC platform of ARM & DSP & FPGA [31]
with the linkage model of Eq. (40). The other control method is the position control based on the CNC system with the linkage
model of Eq. (38). Here, the second method was taken: the cutting processes were implemented with the help of a numerical
control gear shaping machine based on the SINUMERIK 840D system. Fig. 18 shows the processing of the drive gear (a) and
the driven gear (b). Fig. 19 shows the nished drive gear (a) and driven gear (b), where the tooth prole of each nished
gear is the same as the corresponding tooth prole shown in Fig. 17. The surface roughness of the nished gears seems ne in
Fig. 19, while the manufacturing precision still needs further investigation. Fig. 20 shows that the two gears are in a good contact
state and they could roughly meet the design requirement. However, further research of an effective test method is needed.

Fig. 17. Tooth prole geometry of shaped gear.

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F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

Fig. 18. Processing of each gear.

5. Conclusions
In combination with the principles of shaping non-circular gears, kinematic relation of the machine, and the manufacturing
processes, this paper presented a 3-linkage model with an equal arc-length cutting method involving feed. Additionally, the feeding parameter settings, stock design method, retracting interpolation, and cutter datum presetting relating to the process were
discussed in this paper. The ndings of this research were as follows:
1) The process of shaping non-circular gears is in-depth and comprehensive. The feed, machine tool, cutting and retracting method, cutter datum, and other related issues should all be taken into consideration. Thus, a practical and feasible mathematical
model should include each these factors.
2) The process of non-circular shaping discussed in this paper can be implemented using a cylindrical gear CNC gear-shaping machine, which has been widely adopted in manufacturing, with no need to develop a special machine tool. It is an ideal way to
fabricate non-circular gears at low cost and with good exibility.
3) There are two cutting strategy shown in this paper, the equal-polar-angle cutting and equal-arc-length cutting. By using error
analysis, the equal-arc-length cutting method is proved to produce less but more stable theoretical errors.
4) In order to target the presetting cutter position, a circumferential datum should be set on both the stock and xture due to the
non-regular stock shape. Circumferential datum should also be set on the shape cutter, as the circumferential position of the
cutter's tooth prole may affect the tooth prole of the non-circular gear being processed. However, doing so may create a
new source of errors and in turn decrease the accuracy of the gear.

Fig. 19. Finished gears.

F. Zheng et al. / Mechanism and Machine Theory 96 (2016) 192212

211

Fig. 20. Contact state of the two gears.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank Innovative Research Team Development Program of Ministry of Education of China (No.
IRT13087), and Science and Technology Support Program of Hubei Province (No. 2014BAA024) for the support given to this
research.

Appendix A. Supplementary data


Supplementary data to this article can be found online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mechmachtheory.2015.09.010.

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