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If I wanted to have a 49:1 total reduction, would there be less friction losses with a single stage of a 49:1 or two stages of 7:1 and 7:1?

Google has not been much help. My gut says that I should use the large single stage. For spur gears, fewer stages is better because tooth count or gear size doesn't really change the friction losses, but each stage adds friction on the axle. Perfect Spur gears have no sliding friction losses on the teeth

But I don't know about worm gears. I could theorize things, but I have limited knowledge, and book knowledge is different from experience. does any know if it is better to have more stages with less reduction per stage and a higher lead angle or is it better to have a single large reduction with a small lead angle

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't know, but wouldn't a single-stage worm gear give a right-angle shaft arrangement and a two-stage gear have the possibility of parallel input and output shafts? That might be enough of a reason to prefer one over the other. $\endgroup$
    – Transistor
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ good point. I might try both and see which is better empirically $\endgroup$
    – Zeno
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 23:32

2 Answers 2

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Worm gears have a lot of sliding friction and as such are inherently less energy efficient than most other gear systems. Worm gears are good for getting a lot of reduction in a single stage and for not being back drivable which is sometimes helpful.

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Check out planetary gearboxes as if the load is high then the load is shared on several teeth not just one.

Also, space considerations come into play.

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  • $\begingroup$ the load isnt very high, I am just using a weak motor. I want the most headroom with torque that isnt diminished by friction losses $\endgroup$
    – Zeno
    Commented May 21, 2022 at 23:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Zeno Don't use worm gears then. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 0:15

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