2-speed Automatic Gearbox
My first automatic gearbox, based on a design by Misha van Beek, but improved and simplified.
I always liked the idea of incorporating automatic gearboxes into large models, unfortunaltely such gearbox designs are unique and I only know two by Misha van Beek. While both are advanced and show great knowledge of the author, they are also large, complex and none changes gears smoothly. I thought that the new, small differential may give me a good opportunity to create a more useable design. I had three simple goals: to make a gearbox that is small, simple and above all capable of changing gears without jamming. The two first were easy, the third one took some time to work out, but eventually I got exactly what I wanted.
The basic idea of Misha’s design is to use a differential to transmit the drive in such a way, that if the resistance of the output grows, it will at certain point trigger the gearbox to switch to lower gear. Thus the motor will have a better chance to overcome the resistance, and once it’s done the gearbox will switch back to the higher gear. Whereas Misha has taken this idea further, and created gearboxes with more than just 2 speeds or with no fixed gear ratio at all, I considered two smoothly operating speeds a better option than three or more jamming ones. The lower gear has 2.77:1 gear ratio, and the higher one has 1:1 gear ratio. I have been experimenting with more different ratios, but as the difference increased so did the tendency to jam while changing gears. The 2.77:1 ratio difference should be sufficient in most cases, and it offers a reasonably smooth functioning of the gear change mechanism.
The construction of the gearbox is really simple. It fits into a 8×12 studs rectangle (plus the middle shaft protrudes out by 1 stud on higher gear), and axles of any length can be put into input and output without taking the gearbox apart. Moreover, the horizontal liftarm which servers as the gear change lever, provides a lot of space to adjust the tension of the rubber band accordingly to the weight the gearbox is supposed to handle (namely, the towballs it sits between can be put closer or further from each other).
You can see the smooth functioning of the gearbox in the video. I have also provided a parts list (just 45), an LDR model of the gearbox at lower gear and higher gear, plus an exact instruction which can be found below.