# Bearings for home-built gyroscope?

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One of the projects on my back burner array is making a gyroscope out of an old 6" ball bearing race. One of the things I need to figure out is how to mount the spindle in the frame.

Given the mass of the thing, the mounting needs to be robust in order to resist the effects of precession. My first thought was to use a needle bearing:

but that would require a seriously hardened spindle tip and equally wear-resistant fitting. And precession thrusts would probably do neither much good.

Next I considered a simple ball-bearing:

and that's the best I've been able to come up with. Shoulder bearings such as used in 'jewel' watches would require the fitting to be adamantine and refractory. and there'd need to be at least a tiny bit of play. One's hard to come by, and the other's not something I want in a fairly massive device spinning at thousands of RPM.

Any thoughts or suggestions on a solution suitable to construction in a home shop?

Thanks!

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Graphite or Graphalloy Bearings are really good for high speeds, and are more easily adapted to smaller applications as they are solid as opposed to being made of small balls. You will probably have to shop around for something in your size, or you could probably have something custom made.

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You don't say what your intended application is but...

An air bearing might be fun to build.

Edited by InigoMontoya
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You don't say what your intended application is but...

An air bearing might be fun to build.

The application is a fairly massive gyroscope (I'm guessing the rotor is about 1kg) spinning at whatever RPM I can safely manage. The bearings are to mount the spindle in the inner gimbal, so they need to be able to support the axial thrust and provide low-friction support of the spindle rotation. And be strong enough to support the precession forces if the gimbal is locked and an attitude change is attempted.

The Graphalloy stuff looks like it would work very well:

provided the flange can support the axial load and act as a keeper.

Unfortunately, I haven't heard back from the Graphalloy people..

Edited by THX-1138
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Google 'high speed angular contact ball bearings'. They'll accommodate combined loads, i.e. simultaneously acting radial and axial loads. You can get ultra/super precision grade from some manufacturers which will accommodate high speeds as well. Timken, Fafnir and NSK are some that come to mind that I've used before in screw type air compressors and blowers where multi-axis loads at super high speeds are common.

P.S.

The application is a fairly massive gyroscope (I'm guessing the rotor is about 1kg)....

Typical rotor weights on the screw compressors I've used these in is 50kg+ so massive to you is lightweight to me...

Edited by doG
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I'm not sure I understand what your shaft size is, but anyway:

http://mechanicalcarbon.metcar.com/category/s-flange-blocks-w-metcar-self-lubricating-bearings

http://www.hightempbearings.com/4bolt-HT750.aspx

http://www.randallbearings.com/page17.php Ctlg. pg 12

these could be anywhere from $50 -$200+ depending . . . . . I have worked with them on high speed applications, including high speed vacuum pumps and high speed steel brush finishing wheels . . . . the point is that they are durable! The brush was a 20kg mass spinning at between 2500 an 5000 RPM, and the pumps ran up to 10000 RPM.

or what doG said . . . I like NSK!

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Many suppliers have a "bearing selector" page. Some are more detailed than others, so you might need to try a few different pages.

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What sort of bearings do they use in these?

They put up with quite large forces while cutting and they run at a comparable speed to what you are looking at.

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With the specs you are suggesting your per bearing price is still going to be greater than $100 for angular contact ball bearings.... Yep, it is not uncommon for me to spend$1500-$2000 for 4 bearings to go in a high volume blower. Then again, I get about$5000-\$6000 for a rebuild on one of those so it's really not coming out of my pocket

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One of the projects on my back burner array is making a gyroscope out of an old 6" ball bearing race. One of the things I need to figure out is how to mount the spindle in the frame.

Given the mass of the thing, the mounting needs to be robust in order to resist the effects of precession. My first thought was to use a needle bearing:

but that would require a seriously hardened spindle tip and equally wear-resistant fitting. And precession thrusts would probably do neither much good.

Next I considered a simple ball-bearing:

and that's the best I've been able to come up with. Shoulder bearings such as used in 'jewel' watches would require the fitting to be adamantine and refractory. and there'd need to be at least a tiny bit of play. One's hard to come by, and the other's not something I want in a fairly massive device spinning at thousands of RPM.

Any thoughts or suggestions on a solution suitable to construction in a home shop?

Thanks!

This is what I have done some time back. And it is cheep along with doing in you home shop.

Edited by Amateur -1
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This is what I have done some time back. And it is cheep along with doing in you home shop.

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I know wiki isn't God but according to this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_bearing

"It is difficult to build a magnetic bearing using permanent magnets due to the limitations described by Earnshaw's theorem, and techniques using diamagnetic materials are relatively undeveloped."

so I rather doubt the bearing Amateur described would work at all. If it could cope with the axial load then I suspect that

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Amateur -1

Well the one that I made was made from a 9" flywheel off a out board motor and was about 3.5Lb.

And I can assure you the that ½ in. By 3/8th. thick button magnets are strong enough that you can not

pull the apart & for sure that you and a friend would be able push them together.

Edited by Amateur -1
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"And I can assure you the that ½ in. By 3/8th. thick button magnets are strong enough that you can not pull the apart"

The same would be true for a couple of bits of metal covered with epoxy cement, but I wouldn't use them as a bearing.

What did you use as the bearing with that flywheel?

Did you use magnetic bearings and if so how?

(BTW, I'm not too fussy about Earnshaw's theorem. I have a small magnet floating in mid air and if you blow on it you can set it spinning. But it's horribly unstable and has almost no resistance to radial forces.)

Edited by John Cuthber
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"And I can assure you the that ½ in. By 3/8th. thick button magnets are strong enough that you can not pull the apart"

The same would be true for a couple of bits of metal covered with epoxy cement, but I wouldn't use them as a bearing.

What did you use as the bearing with that flywheel?

Did you use magnetic bearings and if so how?

(BTW, I'm not too fussy about Earnshaw's theorem. I have a small magnet floating in mid air and if you blow on it you can set it spinning. But it's horribly unstable and has almost no resistance to radial forces.)

Dear John Cuthber;

I have one of thouse toys also, but do you understand that in Germany & Japan they are working on high-speed trains

that totally float on magnets fields. Also they are very coustly but you can get on the market Magnetic floating barring.

Edited by Amateur -1
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Yes I know they have magnetically levitated trains.

I know they are expensive.

They are expensive because they are complicated.

If you could make them work without being complicated they would be cheaper.

The people who buy trains do not want them any more expensive than they need to be.

So the people who make them complicated do that because that can not make them simple.

If your idea for a bearing worked then it would be simple and cheap and so people would use it. They don't.

So your idea does not work.

Magnetic bearings do work, but they are much more complicated than your idea.

Edited by John Cuthber

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