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The Ultimate Guide to Gear Hobbing

January 28, 2019

One of the most fundamental processes in gear manufacturing is gear hobbing.


Hobbing involves using a “hob” to make gears, splines, and sprockets. A hob is a tool used to cut teeth into a piece of metal. The hob is attached to a special type of milling machine, and progressively cut into the workpiece by a series of cuts.


Compared to other gear forming processes, it is relatively inexpensive but still quite accurate. For these reasons, hobbing is used to make a broad range of parts. It is often the top choice in manufacturing many types of gears.


A Brief History of Gear Hobbing


The first gear hobbing process was patented in 1835. In the years that followed, the process became semi-automated. In the late 20th century, gear hobbing became fully automated. Today, hobbing machines can produce a broad range of gears, including spur gears, helical gears, cycloid gears, splines, worm gears, and so on.


An important thing to note about hobbing is that it is a generating process. It means that the final shape of the gear is not simply the inverted shape of the cutting tool. Instead, it is the combined work of the cutting tool and the material used.


Hobbing machines have two skew spindles. One spindle holds the hob, while the other one holds the gear that is being made. The two spindles will be set at the angle necessary to make the desired gear. The hob cuts through each tooth of the gear to the right depth. In most cases, the gear hobbing machine can cut simultaneously through multiple blanks. Hobbing machines come in different types with the two common varieties: single-threaded and multi-threaded hobs. While multi-threaded hobs are great for increased production, they are not ideal for high precision applications.


Overall, gear hobbing continues to be a cost-effective and efficient process of manufacturing gears. At True Gear & Spline, we provide these services and more. If you have gears that need hobbing, just give us a call.