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Spur Gear Selection Advice Needed

Yes, .050 too much

Well, you gotta get backlash somehow :) If the Martin parts are cut on size, then spreading the centers is a normal way to get backlash. I personally like to try a little tighter but .025" will definitely work.

If the stock parts are just solid plate you could consider lightening them up more like a casting. An antique big gear would be cast with spokes ... kind of a lot of work to create but it'd look period.
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