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Gears & Transmissions

Multiple Gear Speed Reduction Unit

Top view of gear reduction unit.

Linear Rack Gear Reduction Drive

This gear chain converts rotational motion (top left) to linear motion, thereby driving a linear rack (lower right).

Do MEMS Have Dimples?

Yes. We call them dimples, but actually they are tiny bumps. This one minimizes microscopic tilt and wobble of a rotating gear.

Alignment Clip

Meshing MEMS gears is similar to meshing two sheets of paper; they are very thin and must be precisely positioned. We use alignment clips to ensure these co-planar gears remain in plane and meshed.

Alignment Clip

This alignment clip is used in conjunction with a transmission (please note that there are 2 layers of gears). This complex device is entirely batch-fabricated, with no assembly required. Simply amazing!

Alignment Clip

The structural layers supporting the clip indicate the precision achieved in fabricating MEMS.

Engine Driving a Transmission

The microengine pinion gear (lower right hand corner) drives this 10:1 transmission.

Dual Drive Gears

Two small gears rotate the large gear in the middle. This necessitates synchronizing four comb drives!

Alignment Clip

This is another type of clip designed to keep gears in plane and meshed with each other.

Wedge Clamp

This fancy looking clamp is actually a very simple device used to keep meshed gears co-planar.

Close-up of Transmission

The triangular holes that you see in this image were necessary because this transmission was fabricated before we invented planarized polysilicon.

Close-up of Transmission

A microengine drives this 10:1 transmission.

Six-gear Chain

All gears are driven sequentially by the drive gear (top center). The fixed guide plates (mounted to the tops of the gears' shafts) are clearly visible. Gear chains such as this one have been driven at speeds up to 250,000 RPM.

Six-gear Chain Close-up

Close-up of the chain of meshed gears, and the guide plates.

Six-gear Chain

View of six-gear chain, slightly from the side, showing the thickness of the gears.

Five-gear Chain

One of the first gear chains fabricated at Sandia, consisting of five gears in a linear arrangement.

Contact MEMS at Sandia: memsinfo@sandia.gov

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