Feasibility of a multi-purpose testing machine for research studies in gearing has been demonstrated with construction of a unique gear testing machine with a differential planetary gear drive. This machine was used in such interdependent studies as determination of instantaneous gear tooth engagement loads, minimum film thicknesses, and gear efficiencies. With minimal structural and mechanical modifications, this gear research machine can be used for studies of surface durability, thermal distribution in gear meshing zones, and effects of variable torques and torsional oscillations on performance of gearing. Most of these studies could be conducted simultaneously. Upon selection of appropriate gear ratios, this machine was operated either with one or two stationary gears. Presence of stationary gears simplified greatly the measurement techniques and increased the reliability of tests. This machine can accommodate spur, helical or any special type of gearing. Design and operational characteristics of this machine, as well as a short summary of research projects performed on this machine, are presented in this paper.

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