Engineering Love with SOLIDWORKS Motion

While many of us will be enjoying a movie, going out to a fancy dinner, or chowing down on chocolates this Valentine’s Day, I will be spending my time engineering love itself! An urban legend has it that a heart gear has a conjugate gear of another heart gear. That’s probably the most romantic thing in engineering. Almost too romantic. Can it actually work? There’s only one way to find out.

Right here I have two heart shaped gears that supposedly fit together. Two soul mates of the same power transmission, if you will.

Heart Shaped Gears

You can see from the position they are in that they fit very well together. The question is, however, will the hearts be in contact when it spins though its cycle? Well, let’s find out by using SOLIDWORKS Motion!

First, we ensure that the SOLIDWORKS Motion Add-in is enabled. Then we’re ready to set up the study.

Mate the gears so that the centers are in the same place, and then use a distance mate to space them. These gears were designed to be 6 inches apart from each other. After the mates have been placed, go to the Assembly tab and click “New motion study”.

Now, let’s set up the properties. Click the gear icon in the motion study area and set the following settings:

  • Motion Analysis Frame Rate: 60 Frames per second
  • Use precise contact: check
  • 3D contact precision: keep to medium-low (0.0001)

And hit OK. (Remember to change the study type to Motion Analysis from animation.)

We then need to set up a contact set so that the hearts know not to interfere with each other. Click “Contact” (looks like a cam and follower) and select the two bodies for the selections. The number of contact pairs should be 1. The default length of a motion study is 5 seconds. While you can change this to whatever you want, I chose to leave it like this. It is the perfect amount of time to show one full revolution.

Now for setting up a motor. Click on motor, and for the first box, pick the inside cylindrical face of one of the gears (remember, we will use the contact condition specified earlier to transfer the motion to the other gear.) Since our analysis will be 5 seconds, setting the constant speed to 12 RPM will yield 1 rotation every 5 seconds. Perfect! Hit the check mark to accept.

Setting up a motor in SOLIDWORKS Motion

We can now calculate the study. Hit the calculate button and watch the magic!

We can go ahead and find interesting properties of the drivetrain, for example, what is the rotational velocity of the conjugate gear? To find this, click ”Results and Plots”. For category, set it to “Displacement/Velocity/Acceleration”, for sub-category, select “Angular Velocity”, and for component, select “magnitude”. The gear to select is the one that does not have the motor. Click OK, and now we have a graph that represents the velocity change due to geometry.

Velocity change graph

This is the most romantic thing in engineering. A heart gear whose conjugate gear is another heart gear, harmoniously transferring rotational motion, hardly skipping a beat (or tooth). Now, I’m not saying it’s possible to file a patent for love, but it would be easy to make technical drawings as well as animations for demonstrations with SOLIDWORKS:

Technical drawing for heart gears in SOLIDWORKS

Thanks for following along!

Check out more blogs like this one here. You’ll find helpful articles and educational videos on a wide range of engineering and manufacturing topics to help you maximize efficiency in your job role!

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on our latest blogs, videos, promotions and more!