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Is there generally any cheaper way to get a bunch of gear wheels. I've been to some local companies who specialize in gear production and the price is always somewhere in the range 100-150 USD for a single gear. This is well beyond what I'm willing to pay.

As a side question, why are the prices so high? I understand that the machine has to be set such that it must cut my desired dimensions but $100 is 3 days wage in my area and surely it wont take 3 days to set it up, nor does it consume anything?

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  • $\begingroup$ If you have the tools and time then make your own... If not then respect the skills of others. See youtube.com/watch?v=J4cmRHClU9c $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 1 '19 at 9:08
  • $\begingroup$ Assuming it doesn't consume anything is incredibly naïve - wear and tear on the machine etc. all has a cost... $\endgroup$ Apr 1 '19 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ A good machinst who can make one-off gear wheels to order will be earning more like \$100 an hour than \$100 in three days. And a good quality lathe plus gear cutting tools might not leave you much change from $50,000. $\endgroup$
    – alephzero
    Apr 1 '19 at 13:30
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. You look in a gear catalog or two and design around what's in them. $\endgroup$
    – Phil Sweet
    Apr 1 '19 at 21:55
  • $\begingroup$ Go for commercial parts in mass production. Bike chains and gears / cassettes etc are efficient, long lasting, pretty common and really cheap for what you get. $\endgroup$
    – D Duck
    Apr 2 '19 at 19:40
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It depends on the specs of the gears you need. If you need small high-torque, high-precision gears you will need to pay the price.

If you can deal with larger lower-torque gears then you can cut them out of the sheet of plywood following a template from a gear generator (not affiliated to that site, just mentioning a good one) or 3D print one.

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  • $\begingroup$ I should have up voted this last year. That gear generator is great, just giving a link to it is worth a vote. $\endgroup$ Sep 15 '20 at 23:22
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If you are getting custom gears made, I am surprised if you can get them that cheaply. I did a search for Boston Gear (a company I dealt with years ago) and found them for sale on Amazon ranging from not bad to waaaay too much money.

If you have metal working equipment, making a toothed wheel that will function as something like a gear is easy. Making a for-real involute gear that transfers power smoothly and does not self-destruct is hard but not as hard as it would be if you could not use Ratchet Freak's gear generator.

Depending upon what you are trying to accomplish, sprockets and roller chain, something like what is used on a bicycle, or a belt and pulley, such as some cars have to drive the fan, maybe a much more economical solution.

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Plenty of cheap gear options these days.

When I don't need precise rotational accuracy or high torque capabilities, like when testing prototypes, I just 3d print the gears. It will be fairly inexpensive when done this way, and about the crappiest quality I can tolerate for gears.

For moderately higher strength, get it laser cut from a sheet of plastic or composite.

For even higher strength, and if the gear is large enough, get it CNC plasma/torch cut from steel plate. Water jet cut it if better tolerances are needed.

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