5 Books to Improve Your Gear Cutting Operations

May 8, 2020 1:04 pm

Gear cutting is the process of creating a gear by machining. Gear cutting can be done in many ways, most commonly by broaching, hobbing, milling, shaping, or grinding. All these approaches involve cutting of material, but we are going to focus on metal.

Helical Gears

Image Credit: www.anaheimautomation.com

Let’s review the different machining processes used to cut metal gears:


Broaching is a machining process that uses a toothed tool (the broach) to remove material in a consistent and accurate way. There are different broaching techniques. The most common one is linear or surface broaching, which is when the broach runs linearly against the surface of the work-piece to form the cut. When precision machining is required, broaching is the method to use, especially for odd shapes and high-volume production.


Due to the versatility and productivity of the hobbing process, it is a fundamental gear cutting approach for most helical and spur gears. Hobbing is a generating process, which means that the gear tooth is not shaped from the form of the cutting tool itself, but from the combined motions of both the work-piece and the cutting tool. The hobbing process involves both the work-piece and the hob rotating in a continual and timed fashion. Since hobbing is a continuous cutting process, fast production is a definite advantage, along with high accuracy and simple set up.


This is a chip-breaking process in which gears are milled with cutters that are shaped like the desired gear tooth space. As the work-piece is mounted axially and perpendicular to the axis of the cutting tool, the tool moves along the axis of the work-piece and mills out the space. The work-piece rotates in increments of tooth space distance, and the milling is repeated. If the project requires inclined teeth, meaning the teeth are not parallel to the shaft axis, the cutter must be set to that desired angle.


There are two main approaches in gear shaping: rack cutter shaping and pinion cutter shaping. With rack cutter shaping, the material is removed with only cutting strokes. This approach is best for spur, herringbone, sprocket, internal and cluster gears. A limitation of rack cutter shaping is reduced rate of production because the cutting process is interrupted by the indexing phase when the blank has to be brought back to its starting position. Pinion cutting does not have this issue since the tooth profile does not require indexing of the blank. With pinion cutting, the tooth profile is generated from the cutter by removing metal from the blank.


Although not really a cutting process, grinding is a fundamental part in the whole gear cutting process since it’s the more accurate method to finish a gear. Gear grinding is the most accurate method of gear finishing. After heat treatment of the gear, which is done to achieve optimal gear hardness, grinding is used to remove a considerable amount of left-over material to achieve the desired gear quality.

5 books to expand your gear cutting knowledge

There is much more to gear cutting than what we mentioned above, and mastering the complex technique requires hours or learning and practice. Dive deeper into gear cutting with these recommended books. From gear cutting theory and practice, to gear cutting tools and design, this selection will ensure a holistic foundation for all things gear cutting.

Theory of Gearing: Kinematics, Geometry, and Synthesis

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If you are in the field or hoping to get into the field of gear design, gear production, gear inspection, or the application of gears, this book is an absolute must to master the process.

Dudley’s Handbook of Practical Gear Design and Manufacture

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Need a reliable reference source for your gear cutting work? This handbook covers not only practical methods of gear design but also manufacturing methods from high to low volumes of production. This source includes tables, references, and appendices for complete coverage of gear design and manufacturing.

Gears & Gear Cutting (Workshop Practice Series 17)

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Since gears are an integral part of almost all machining mechanisms, this text covers gear cutting from an elemental angle. The second part of this book focuses specifically on how to cut gears on a lathe or a milling machine.

Gear Cutting Tools: Science and Engineering

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This book addresses the evolution of gear cutting tools and lays a foundation for scientific classifications of gear meshes. If your goal is to optimize gear designs, this text is a must-read.

Gear-cutting Machinery

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This book covers both American and European contemporary gear cutting practices and is considered by industry scholars to be a fundamental staple for gear cutting machinery practice.



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