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Free online tool to design and predict service life of wear-resistant 3D-printed gears

Published: 31 July 2019 - Rachael Morling

How long will my 3D-printed my gear last? To answer this question, igus has developed the online gear service life calculator for its 3D-printed gears made of the SLS high-performance plastic, iglidur I3.

In just a few simple steps, the engineer enters the gear’s tooth module, number of teeth, width and inner diameter. Then chooses the iglidur material of which the gear is to be made and its mating material. In the second step, the online tool asks for the speed and the torque of the large or small gear wheel, depending on which gear wheel the values are for. The last step is to determine the duty cycle of the printed gear, the mode of operation, the ambient temperature and the safety factor. Based on the specified parameters, the online tool will calculate the estimated service life of the 3D printed gear.

Gear wheels printed from iglidur I3 are wear-resistant and durable, as in-house tests show. For instance, in the pivot test at 1440° and a speed of 0.1m/s and torque of 2.2Nm, an additive gear wheel made of iglidur I3 competed against a POM injected gear wheel and a POM milled gear wheel. All gears had 30 teeth and a width of 16 mm. While the injection moulded POM gear failed after just 4,000 cycles and the machined POM gear broke after 12,500 cycles, the iglidur I3 gear withstood almost 20,000 cycles.

Gears can be configured online at: A 3D model is then displayed automatically, which can be exported as a STEP file. By uploading the file in the igus 3D printing service (, the configured gear can be ordered directly made of iglidur I3. 

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