Manufacturing
Manufacturing

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Manufacturing

4.6 Machining our gearwheel

Having described some machining processes, let's now consider whether they can be applied to the problem of making gearwheels for a food mixer. These wheels are quite complicated shapes. Could our gearwheel from the gearbox of the food mixer be made by machining? Of course, the answer must be yes because as discussed the outstanding virtue of machining is its versatility – almost any shape can be made by machining.

However, the complex shape means that a lot of waste material would have to be machined away if we cut it from a solid block of metal. Manufacturing a limited number of gearwheels by machining using these techniques is a labour-intensive process and would not lend itself to mass production. But for prototype manufacture, where only a few gears may be required, then this may be the most sensible option. In fact, a process called hobbing can be used for mass production of gearwheels as shown in Figure 46.

Figure 46
Figure 46 Hobbing a gear

So machining can also be added to our list of candidate processes to manufacture our gearwheel. We also may need to use a machining process to finish gearwheels made by another process.

SAQ 9

If you were considering manufacturing ballpoint pens, do you think the machining option could be used?

Would machining be feasible for a mass-produced pen body?

Answer

Because of its versatility, machining could certainly be used to manufacture pens, but not as a mass-produced item. It would more likely be used as a limited production process at a high cost.

T173_2

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has nearly 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus