Leong Hing Electrical Engineering Sdn. Bhd.
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A worm drive is a gear arrangement in which a worm (which is a gear in the form of a screw) meshes with a worm gear (which is similar in appearance to a spur gear, and is also called a worm wheel). The terminology is often confused by imprecise use of the term worm gear to refer to the worm, the worm gear, or the worm drive as a unit.
Like other gear arrangements, a worm drive can reduce rotational speed or allow higher torque to be transmitted.
A gearbox designed using a worm and worm-wheel will be considerably smaller than one made from plain spur gears and has its drive axes at 90° to each other. With a single start worm, for each 360° turn of the worm, the worm-gear advances only one tooth of the gear. Therefore, regardless of the worm's size (sensible engineering limits notwithstanding), the gear ratio is the "size of the worm gear - to - 1". Given a single start worm, a 20 tooth worm gear will reduce the speed by the ratio of 20:1. With spur gears, a gear of 12 teeth (the smallest size permissible, if designed to good engineering practices) would have to be matched with a 240 tooth gear to achieve the same ratio of 20:1. Therefore, if the diametrical pitch (DP) of each gear was the same, then, in terms of the physical size of the 240 tooth gear to that of the 20 tooth gear, the worm arrangement is considerably smaller in volume.
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