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Building your own Ball/Clutch

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  • Building your own Ball/Clutch

    I know - sounds dirty, whatever

    Anyways - most of us know what a roller clutch is - a series of spring loaded hardened rollers that reside in an angled pocket and will free-wheel in one direction and then engage transmission drive when turned the other, iv had to build a few of these over the years for various things,,,

    Well Ball/Clutches are no different, actually never seen any before but due to running low on engineering space on a project came up with the idea and said to myself "why the hell not"?

    The advantages over a roller clutch is the space savings width wise, also the fact that the Ball/clutch has self holding axial capabilities so as long as the axial loads are mild the pieces can "float" and not wonder off in either direction... so no further limit flanges have to be built as the balls and races complete this task,,,

    A further advantage is that a ball can engage at a lesser angle of attack than a roller, making the loading of components lesser as well... You actually want the bare bones minimum wedge angle of attack on pieces to increase the longevity of the unit and components, the bare bones minimum without the risk of slippage that is...

    So without further Ado, here's some pics of my new creation; this first one shows a ball with a common ink pen spring stacked into it's loading port. there are 6 ports/balls per Ball/clutch mechanism...



    Next pic is a good one to see the two angles I had to use, this is the "hat trick" I had to come up with due to not having enough space to use the proper engagement angle for the ball yet still be able to put the spring in, if I just tried to use the engagement angle I would not have had any area to hold the spring so two angles were needed.



    this pic shows the inner race of the outer piece.


  • #2
    Here's the pieces assembled - they glide like silk in freewheel and lock up instantly in the other direction...








    Here is the width profile, the small hub to the left is submerged in the project and is not a width issue - the width of the entire Ball/Clutch is very compact...




    Box me into an engineering corner --- and I'll come out swinging like a rabid Dog lol

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    • #3
      Isn't this sort of the same clutch used in adjustable torque drills?
      How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Black Forest View Post
        Isn't this sort of the same clutch used in adjustable torque drills?
        Short answer --- No

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Black Forest View Post
          Isn't this sort of the same clutch used in adjustable torque drills?
          No. The ones I've seen use two parallel surfaces with balls in between. Like a sandwich. A spring behind one of surfaces is used for variable loading.

          That clutch is way cool! BUT... It looks like your mill needs trammed.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CCWKen View Post
            No. The ones I've seen use two parallel surfaces with balls in between. Like a sandwich. A spring behind one of surfaces is used for variable loading.

            That clutch is way cool! BUT... It looks like your mill needs trammed.
            I think I got a good tram going on Ken but im using butchered up endmills lol

            internal pieces are 17-4 H-900 and external ring is 0-1 tool steel - I can never get a good finish on that stuff - it then got sent out to get professionally hardened so all flaws are permanent lol

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            • #7
              Yeah, a bad end mill will do that too. You sure didn't dilly-dally going around. Did you do the whole part on a RT?

              I was on mill tram memory left overs from another thread.

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              • #8
                Your very observant, I was spinning that RT handle as fast as I could lol

                it's just a mounting flange that will be mostly covered all I want it to do is work, the inner piece was lathed and then put in an indexer for the loading ports,

                I did most of the outer piece on the RT but the inside bearing race was done on a lathe with a Micro 100 .1875 full radius carbide grooving tool, got it for something like 14 bucks on amazon maybe 18 can't remember but everyone else wanted like 90 bucks for it...

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                • #9
                  very interesting clutch. Thank you for sharing.

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                  • #10
                    CSK series one way bearings are pretty compact combination of one way clutch and ball bearing:
                    https://www.hendersonbearings.co.uk/...2x32x10mm.html

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                    • #11
                      That's some nice work. Clever solution. Looks fairly straight forward to assemble....but how do you get it a-part?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MattiJ View Post
                        CSK series one way bearings are pretty compact combination of one way clutch and ball bearing:
                        https://www.hendersonbearings.co.uk/...2x32x10mm.html
                        Matt those are interesting and the dimension of the one you show is really close to the one I built although the width of mine is 9mm instead of 10,

                        Im not sure how their getting the engagement done as the illustration is vague,,, im also not sure how they expect you to connect to the OD piece and not have it slip? you would need to press on an external drive flange of some type maybe with loc-tite?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
                          That's some nice work. Clever solution. Looks fairly straight forward to assemble....but how do you get it a-part?
                          You guys ask all the right questions in fact one I had to ask myself when building it in fear of not getting it back apart !

                          so I built these proto-type cages with a little 45 degree recess on one side of the internal ball race of the external piece,,, you simply "spin" them apart while putting axial pressure in the direction of using the 45 degree internal ramp,

                          however, I actually wish I did not go as deep with the 45 and only added a very mild one, you can get them apart in the other direction as is (no ramp) it just takes more effort, I think im still good for my application but wish I left it with a bit more retention ---- although - I had the foresight to put the ramp in the direction that if the unit does try to wander its simply in the way that installs it further on the drive piece shaft which then will make contact with the entire base and never be able to "pop off" during operation...

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                          • #14
                            Very neat, thanks for sharing!

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                            • #15
                              What is the application? Fairly low torque bike cranks maybe??

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