Types of LEGO Gears

Written by dan ketchum
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Types of LEGO Gears
Technic motors and gears work in conjunction with standard LEGO bricks. (lego 1 image by Nathalie P from Fotolia.com)

Denmark-based toy company LEGO produces sets of interlocking plastic toy bricks, which children use to create planned models—such as vehicles or fantasy play sets—or construct their own projects in free-form style. The toys strive to develop imagination and creativity through play. LEGO's line of Technic construction sets uses gears and pneumatic motors to propel the toys into motion. These gears reflect real-world gear construction styles in miniature, but fully functional, form.

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Bevel Gear

Bevel gears are a common gear type in both the real world and the LEGO world. Bevel gears are flat on one side and bevelled on the other, so that their bevels mesh with other bevel gears at an angle less than 180 degrees. In LEGO sets, they come in 90-degree sizes with 14 bevels, also known as “teeth.”

Crown Gears

True to their name, crown gears are crown-shaped; the bottom end is flat while pointed triangle shapes form a cuplike structure around the gear, which interlocks with other crown gears. These teeth are set in the gear's rim and rest perpendicular to its flat plane. In LEGO Technic sets, crown gears come in 24-toothed sizes.

Worm Gears

Though a somewhat obscure gear type, some LEGO Technic sets employ worm gears for pneumatic locomotion. Worm gears consist of two parts, a standard spur gear and a rod with a bevelled surface that is something like a stubby screw. As the screw meshes with the teeth of the gear, it rotates. Worm gears operate on inclined planes and generally serve as driving gears.

Differential Gears

Differential gears employ two axes on a single line, using a small rotating gear to propel a larger gear into motion. Though these gears share a common driving force, the larger gear rotates faster than the smaller one. Rear axles on cars employ this gear type; similarly, LEGO Technics vehicle construction sets often employ differential gears in 28- or 24-toothed varieties, coming in both crown and spur shapes.

Rack Gears

A rack gear is a bar with bevelled teeth that meshes with a straight bevelled pinion rod—hence the term “rack and pinion.” When included with LEGO Technic construction sets, rack gears come in 1-by-4 sizes with 10 teeth.

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