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I'm new to engineering but I have a project with a lot of gears.I was wondering if it was plausible/bad/good to just stick a bunch of mini ball bearings on every single gear. I was looking into these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FVYPMPX/ref=ewc_pr_img_1?smid=A1THAZDOWP300U&th=1

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  • $\begingroup$ No, some gears need to be keyed or similar to shafts depending on the power flow. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 8, 2023 at 22:41
  • $\begingroup$ but then what about those that don't need to be keyed $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2023 at 4:31
  • $\begingroup$ Depends on the system. If you don't use a ball bearing then you need to use a bushing. The ball bearing are smoother and will handle high speeds better but the bushing is smaller, cheaper, and will survive shock loads better. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Jan 9, 2023 at 6:05
  • $\begingroup$ Why don’t you get a gearbox or 2 from a scrapyard and take them apart, then you will get an idea of what you may need to consider- that way you can also calculate all the ratios and the power paths. The best bit will be you being able to put them back together correctly with NO bits left over… $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 9, 2023 at 7:16
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know what your usage is, but my former maintenance-man self is developing an eye twitch at the thought of using bearings bought from Amazon. $\endgroup$
    – Tiger Guy
    Jan 9, 2023 at 21:59

2 Answers 2

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When a gear needs to freewheel on a shaft the bearing typically used is called a needle roller bearings. These use thin needle like roller instead of balls.

They minimize the space wasted to the balls and let the shaft be larger.

For lower power applications a plain bushing will also work.

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You would typically need 2 ball bearings in that case. See the ball bearing has a point (ish) contact so to be able for you to design it carrying any possible axial loads youd need to have 2 ball bearings. If you use a needle bearing or bushing then youd be fine with 1 though you may want two in anycase.

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