Gear Hobbing

At a Glance

Lifecycle

Lead Time

Materials

Tolerance

Prototyping to production
As fast as 12 days
All available materials
ISO grade 7 to 12

About the Process

Hobbing is a machining process for cutting gear features on both metal and non-metal parts. The gear teeth (or splines) are progressively cut into a cylindrical piece of material by a series of cuts made by a cutting tool called a hob. Hobbing allows you to achieve various gear shapes and sizes such as spur gears, worm gears and bevel gears. Although gear hobbing can be used for prototyping small quantities, this process is best suited for higher volume production.

Our manufacturing partners have various hobbing tools in stock which allow for quick turnaround times.  If a custom gear profile is desired that is not part of our standard hobbing tool library, customers can order custom hobbing tools to be built. If you want to create internal gear features, we offer Electrical Discharge Machining (wire and sinker), as internal gear features cannot be achieved with hobbing.

Machines

Fictiv's manufacturing network includes a range of gear hobbing machines, including:

Mazak i400AG
Hamai N60
Kitamura-3X Vertical CNC

Minimum/Maximum Part Size

Hobbing can be used to create gears with an outer diameter of 0.6 mm to 1000 mm.

Design Recommendations

Customers can minimize cost and lead time by selecting a standard hobbing tool. Building a custom hobbing tool requires longer lead times, greater hobbing tool cost and time for pre-production testing. For custom tools, customers must submit a drawing in addition to a 3D model to specify the gear hobbing tool (module), number of teeth, and level of precision required.

Worm gears are made using a combination of hobbing and milling. Bevel gears are made using a combination of 5-axis CNC and hobbing.

For standard gears, please submit a 2D drawing with your model that specifies the following information: module, number of teeth, and the precision level.   

For spur gears, please submit a 2D drawing with your model that specifies the following information: module, number of teeth, pressure angle/helical angle, and the precision level.

For profile shifted gears, please submit a 2D drawing with your model that specifies the following information: profile shift coefficient, tooth to tooth composite error, and tooth profile tolerance.

List of Standard Hobbing Modules / Tools

Units: mm
0.06, 0.2, 0.25, 0.3, 0.35, 0.4, 0.45, 0.5, 0.55, 0.6, 0.7, 0.75, 0.8, 0.9, 1, 1.25 and 1.5.

Gear Standards

We accept the following gear hobbing standards:

US: ANSI
US: AGMA
China: GB
Japan: JIS
Germany: DIN
UK: BS
France: FN
Int'l: ISO

Hobbing vs Wire EDM vs Sinker EDM

Hobbing

Wire EDM

Sinker EDM

Tolerance level
ISO grade 7 to 12
ISO grade 7 to 12
ISO grade 7 to 12
Part size
Min LxW: 1 x 1 mmMax LxW: 200 x 200 mm
Height: up to 300 mm
Min LxW: 8 x 8 mm
Max LxW: 350 x 350 mm
Height: up to 350 mm
Min LxW: 0.3 x 0.3 mm
Max LxW: 800 x 800 mm
Height: up to 500 mm
Top use cases
Internal and external gears, internal deep pockets (must be through hole), hole with keyway
Internal gears and features which are not through hole, internal feature requiring minimal fillets such as a hexagonal shaped cutout in a part
External gears, shafts with gears, worm gears, plastic gears
Materials
All available materials
All available metal materials
All available metal materials
Minimum fillet radius
n/a
0.05mm standard0.01mm premium precision
0.05mm standard0.01mm premium precision
Lead time
As fast is 12 days
As fast is 7 days
As fast is 7 days
Profiles and tooling
Library of hobbing tools or custom tool
No tooling required
Custom electrode
Production volume
Low to high quantities
Low quantities only
Low quantities only

Internal radius

We support features with internal radii down to 0.4 mm (0.016").

Hole diamter

We can drill holes as small as 0.5mm (0.020") in diameter.

Hole Depth

Our maximum drillable hole depth is 12x the drill bit diameter.

Feature Depth

We recommend a maximum depth of cut of 5x tool diameter in both metals and plastics. Chat with us if your project requires more.

Related Resources

Fictiv for Robotics Teams

Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) Capabilities