this instructable is for the steampunkers out there needing brass gears for projects, not acurate or functioning, purely decorative. My next gear project I will spend more time with the dremel tool instead of files and hopefully fab up a working gear set, using thiner brass stock.
Step 1: Find suitable image
google search gear images, found adding "silhouette" to my search found more stensil worthy images.
Step 2: Crop and print
i use arcsoft photo studio5 for most of my images, or paint works too. then place image in your photoshop or paint, crop and print to the size you want to make..
Step 3: Cut brass bar stock to size
i found some 2inch by quarter inch bar stock at home depot, and cut it at 2 inches for a square piece to work with.
Step 4: Time to start drilling a "few" holes
moving toward "stock removal" i began drilling numerous holes along the inside edge of the stensil where i wanted to remove to create the gear spokes. i used a one sixteenth bit. smaller bit less filing, bigger bit more filing. i used a drill press on two of the triangle openings, and a cordless drill on the third opening, and a hand drill on the inside of each tooth. i used the 3 different drills to prove to my self that even one with limited tools can make these gears.
Step 5: Chisel out the opening to create the spokes
after drilling series of 1/16ths holes as closely as i could, i ground a standard screwdriver bit into a chisel. laying the brass stock on the flat anvil part of my bench vise i hammered the chisel along the drilled holes on both sides weakening it. placing the stock over the jaws of the vise opened just a little wider that what i was removing i used a punch and hammer and knocked out the triangle shaped cutouts.
Step 6: Drilling the teeth
time to drill the teeeth of your gear, not the ones in your mouth. same drill bit as used b4 1/16th , with any drilling device you wanna use. previous pics show where i drilled. pictured is the 1st gear i started when my girlfriend asked me if i could do "the one that looks like the nuclear symbol one" CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!
Step 7: Hacksawing and rough filing
at this stage its time to cut away everything that is OUTSIDE of the gear stensil. clamped in the vise i cut the corners away with the hacksaw as close to the stensil as i could creating an octagon shape, then filing the rest away with a coarse-cut file making it round. the larger gear pictured i put a bolt through the center and spun it in my drill press. using my coarse-cut file and drill press as a lathe. the smaller spoked gear was done by hand filing to prove it can be done by people with limited tooling.
Step 8: Ugh....more filing and hack sawing
clamping the round chunk O brass i have created in my vise, i hack saw slots frm the outside to the holes i previously drilled for the gear teeth. with an assortment of needle files or jewelers files its time to finish it into something that looks like a gear. half round files, small flat files and triangular files are the ones i used. take your time here, filing too fast can remove too much material, and/or clog your files because brass is soft. note that filing in the corners of the openings with a multi-sided file will file two sufaces at once, and change the shape if you are not carefull.
Step 9: Finishing
filing the tooth slots are done in stages, sawing slits opening up the 1/16th holes, then using a flat needle file to enlarge the slots, and finishing to a gear tooth shape with a triangular file. cleaning out the opening of the spoke was all done with the half-round needle file. i then debured it all and finished its face with 320 grit wet, but you can step up to finer grits if u want a more polished shiney gear. oh...i think i may have spent a total of 3-4 hours for both gears....thnx 4 reading ...hope u liked my instructable. anything that might be unclear, plz feel free to ask.