The optimal design of compact spur gear reductions includes the selection of bearing and shaft proportions in addition to the gear mesh parameters. Designs for single mesh spur gear reductions are based on optimization of system life, system volume, and system weight including gears, support shafts, and the four bearings. The overall optimization allows component properties to interact, yielding the best composite design. A modified feasible directions search algorithm directs the optimization through a continuous design space. Interpolated polynomials expand the discrete bearing properties and proportions into continuous variables for optimization. After finding the continuous optimum, the designer can analyze near optimal designs for comparison and selection. Design examples show the influence of the bearings on the optimal configurations.

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