CNC Processes

Gear Hobbing

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  • Tight Tolerances
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Gear Standards


Japan: JIS

Germany: DIN

China: GB



Int’l: ISO

Hobbing vs Wire EDM vs Sinker EDM

Hobbing Wire EDM Sinker EDM
Tolerance level ISO grade 6 to 12 ISO grade 7 to 12 ISO grade 8 to 12
Part size Min: 1.0x1.0x0.3mm
Max :500x500x800mm
Min: 3.0x3.0x0.3mm
Max: 300x300x200mm
Min: 3.0x3.0x0.3mm
Max: 200x200x150mm
Top use cases External gears External gears, shafts with gears, helical gears Internal gears and features which are not through hole, internal features requiring minimal fillets such as a hexagonal shaped cutouts in a part
Materials All available materials All available metal materials All available metal materials
Minimum fillet radius n/a 0.05mm standard
0.01mm premium precision
0.05mm standard
0.01mm premium precision
Lead time As fast as 12 days As fast as 7 days As fast as 7 days

Gears for HEBI Robotics

Part Specifications

Tolerances as low as +/- 0.01mm

Secondary Processes

Heat Treating, Assembly

Lead Time

6 Weeks

Production Quantity

650 Gears

“We’ve had major challenges with quality and delays for gears… Being able to use Fictiv for gears is very exciting for us because we know that they’re going to hit their lead times and we’re going to be in constant communication to see where our parts are in the supply chain.”
Andrew Willig, Mechanical Engineer at HEBI Robotics

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About Gear Hobbing

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.

Gear Hobbing FAQs

Technical FAQs

What kinds of gears can Fictiv make with gear hobbing?

Gear hobbing can be used to make external gears. There are multiple types of external gears, but gear hobbing can be used to make spur and worm gears.

What materials can Fictiv cut with gear hobbing?

Any material, including plastic, can be used to make gears with the gear hobbing process.

What size gears can Fictiv make using gear hobbing?

The maximum size for gear hobbing is 200 x 200mm (7.8 x 7.8in) with a 300mm (11.8in) thickness.

General FAQs

What is the difference between gear shaping and gear hobbing?

Gear hobbing is a widely used cutting process with great versatility, often used for creating gears and spurs. Hobs involve a cutter that rotates in sync with the workpiece that is being "hobbed."

Gear shaping is a cutting method that uses reciprocating action of the cutter to create the gear teeth in the blank . Shapers may cut one tooth at a time, whereas others make multiple passes to cut teeth with a rotating cutter.

Only shapers have the ability to cut internal gear teeth, whereas hobs can cut external spur and worm gears.

What is indexing in gear cutting?

Indexing in gear cutting is a method where the periphery of a cylindrical workpiece is divided into an equal number of parts with the assistance of an index crank and plate.

There are 4 indexing methods for cutting a gear.

  1. Simple Indexing
  2. Compound Indexing
  3. Direct Indexing
  4. Differential Indexing

How are internal gears made?

When manufacturing an internal gear the usual gear hobbing used in spur gear production cannot be used because of its shape. It is generally made using gear shaping that is equipped with a pinion cutter.

Top Resources for Gear Hobbing


CNC Machining vs. Manual Machining


The 3 Essential Methods for Gear Machining


Finding the Right Secondary Operations After CNC Machining, Part III: Hardware Installation

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