I’ve read the How Stuff Works article on how gears work. It was not very helpful, actually, as it focused on engines and I’m more after the theory. I’m confused as to what exactly makes gears work!.
I’ve managed to grasp the concept that gears behave like levers, in that they can multiply force. HOW they do that is beyond me. It seems to me that (worm gears aside) they’d be ‘pushing back’ just as hard as if you were trying to move the load by hand.
For example: say I have a winch. How is it I can sit there and spin a handle with minimal effort and move a load that, were I pulling on the rope directly, I’d never have a chance of budging? That’s what I don’t get. I understand it works, but I don’t understand why.
Or this: how is it changing gears can produce more force from (presumably) the same input? Doesn’t it matter that you’re not pushing harder? I mean, that’s starting to sound like free energy or something… which I know is bunk, so obviously I’m missing something pretty important here!
Can someone enlighten poor stupid me? (I never grasped why more than one pulley arranged in some mystical fashion can reduce effort, either, but I’m told THAT works as well. Arrgh!)