Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shifting Gears: the Transmission

Shifting gears with Lego is a complicated task, albeit with numerous effective solutions. Today I designed the transmission above, and I'm going to talk about designing your own transmission in this post.

Deciding your gear ratios is the first step. What kind of power do you want? What vehicle will be using this transmission? Is speed a concern? This transmission used two unique gear ratios:

Gear train #1:            24t:8t:40t:24t (3:1:5:3)
     - This gear train provides torque and power sacrificing speed. The 24t is part of the transmission and when you shift up, the gear train is discontinued while the 24t in the second housing shifts into place, completing...

Gear train #2:            24t:40t:8t:24t (3:5:1:3)
    - Here you increase the speed, as you utilize the mammoth 5:1 ratio you're getting in the middle. This transmission is completed when you've shifted up, and using 24t's on the same axle helps complete the train.

The basic design of all transmissions are the same. Utilize two independent gear ratios which you can switch between at the push of a handle/knob. These manual  transmissions can have an unlimited amount of speeds depending on how creative you wanna get.

Also, the two independent trains must be connected to the same axle you're attempting to drive. Failure to do this will result in no forward motion by your vehicle.

Transmissions are fun to play with, and if you can successfully build one and implement it in your Mindstorm bot, few things can match the performance. Here's a video of the transmission in action, and I look forward to using it in future bots:

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