In the manufacturing of spiral-bevel and hypoid gears, circular cutter dimensions are usually based on the desired performance of a gear set. In large manufacturing operations, where several hundred gear geometries may have been cut over the years, the necessary cutter inventory may become quite large since the cutter diameters will differ from one geometry to another, which results in used storage space and associated costs in purchasing and maintaining the cutter parts. Interchangeability of cutters is therefore of significant interest to reduce cost while maintaining approved tooth geometries. An algorithm is presented which allows the use of a different cutter, either in diameter and/or pressure angle, to obtain the same tooth flank surface topography. A test case is presented to illustrate the usefulness of the method: the OB cutter diameter of an hypoid pinion is changed from 8.9500" to 9.1000". CMM results and the comparison of the bearing patterns before and after change show excellent correlation, and indicate that the new pinion can be used in place of the original pinion without performance or quality problems. Significant cost reductions may be obtained with the application of the method.

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