A method for automating the design of simple and compound gear trains using graph grammars is described. The resulting computational tool removes the tedium for engineering designers searching through the immense number of possible gear choices and combinations by hand. The variables that are automatically optimized by the computational tool include the gear dimensions as well as the location of the gears in space. The gear trains are optimized using a three-step process. The first step is a tree-search based on a language of gear rules which represent all possible gear train configurations. The second step optimizes the discrete values such as number of teeth through an exhaustive search of a gear catalog. The final step is a gradient-based algorithm which optimizes the non-discrete variables such as angles and lengths in the positioning of the gears. The advantage of this method is that the graph grammar allows all possible simple and compound gear trains to be included in the search space while the method of optimization ensures the optimal candidate for a given problem is chosen with the tuned parameters.

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