Both of these types of joints do not provide a constant velocity to the output shaft because the resistance to rotation of the joint varies throughout one rotation. This is an inherent feature of the geometry rather than a materials or manufacturing issue.
However a joint composed of two universal joints back to back will give a much better approximation of constant velocity, these are often found in steering columns. There are also designs which stack two universal joints concentrically.
Universal joints do have the advantage that they are simple to manufacture and tend to be quite rugged.
There are a variety of designs of constant velocity (CV) joints used for different applications for example the CV joints used in front wheel drive vehicles often consist of a spherical inner and outer shell joined by ball bearings located in grooves in both shells.
Key design considerations for selecting a particular joint type include :
- The angle, or range of angles at which the joint needs to work
- The speeds and loads of the system
- Whether the joint will be subject to shock loading
- Acceptable levels of vibration