Universal Joint Project

Project to design a universal joint that could perform assigned operations, through which many design principles were developed.

Freedom was given to produce any joint that was able to:

  • Be mounted between two frames and connected via a rod.
  • One side would require translating up and down a frame.
  • Both joints would rotate whilst translation was ongoing.
  • Both frames would need to be fixed at a set distance during movement.
  • Select appropriate bearings from UK manufacturers.


  • Sketches were roughly made to visualise operation and understand how fixed distance will be kept
  • Quick trigonometric calculations were made to understand the space which the joint will be travelling through and how this would effect the design.
  • Rough sketches of parts were developed and geometry of these finalised
  • Duplicate parts were produced to reduce design and manufacture cost and maintain simplicity of design.
  • Sketches were taken into SolidWorks
  • Engineering drawings were made highlighting correct GD&Ts
Female yoke part with detail of key hole and GD&Ts
Spider component engineering drawing with GD&Ts

After the main design stage was completed an animation was developed of the system in operation.
Rapid prototyping of parts were produced using a 3D printer. These were assembled and tested that they performed properly.

3D printed prototype of universal joint

Skills Developed:

  • Built on design principles and appropriate good practices.
  • Became familiar with appropriate GD&Ts and how these effect manufacturing methods, speed and cost of manufacture.
  • Developed an understanding of product development, particularly taking this from an idea to product.
  • Introduction to rapid prototyping

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