Tech Support: Gears & Levers



Helpful Tips

  • The highest gear ratio you can achieve (limited by the size of the gears available and the number of positions for axles on the physics stand) is 18:1. This will require you to combine gear sets, since you will need two large gears, three small gears, and one medium gear.
  • The long screws are used when you stack two gears on the same axle, or if you stack a lever onto a gear on the same axle.
  • Remind students to keep fingers away from gear teeth when setting up and moving the gears - high gear ratios can transfer a painful pinch to unwary fingers.
  • Try this: relate the concept of gear ratios to the physics of a bicycle! Have students find the gear ratios on their own multi-speed bike.
  • When students have built a gear machine, have them spin the top gear and then the bottom gear, so they can feel the difference in effort force required.
  • There are two different styles of thumbscrews for the Gears and Levers equipment module. The short one is for using one gear while the long one is used when stacking two gears, a gear and a spacer, or a gear and a lever on top of each other.


Q: Do the weights I need for the lever come with the gears and levers kit?

A: No, the weights are sold separately. This is because the weights are used with several different modules. Rather than having to purchase them every time you buy a module that needs weights, you can purchase them separately and use them interchangeably with different modules.

Q: I ordered the Extra Gears set and noticed it does not come with any hardware. Am I missing a package?

A: The Extra Gears set is used as a supplement to the Gears and Levers equipment module. Therefore it requires that the hardware that came with the module be used.