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Rack and pinion. By King.

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Rack and pinion animationA rack and pinion is a type of linear actuator that comprises a pair of gears which convert rotational motion into linear motion. The circular pinion engages teeth on a linear "gear" bar–the rack. Rotational motion applied to the pinion will cause the rack to move to the side, up to the limit of its travel. For example, in a rack railway, the rotation of a pinion mounted on a locomotive or a railcar engages a rack between the rails and pulls a train along a steep slope.

The rack and pinion arrangement is commonly found in the steering mechanism of cars or other wheeled, steered vehicles. This arrangement provides a lesser mechanical advantage than other mechanisms such as recirculating ball, but much less backlash and greater feedback, or steering "feel". The use of a variable rack (still using a normal pinion) was invented by Arthur E Bishop,[1] so as to improve vehicle response and steering "feel" especially at high speeds, and that has been fitted to many new vehicles, after he created a specialised version of a net-shape warm press forging process to manufacture the racks to their final form, thus eliminating any subsequent need to machine the gear teeth.

Enclosed steering rack in an automobileFor every pair of conjugate involute profile, there is a basic rack. This basic rack is the profile of the conjugate gear of infinite pitch radius.

A generating rack is a rack outline used to indicate tooth details and dimensions for the design of a generating tool, such as a hob or a gear shaper cutter.

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Rack-and-pinion Steering

Rack-and-pinion steering is quickly becoming the most common type of steering on cars, small trucks and SUVs. It is actually a pretty simple mechanism. A rack-and-pinion gearset is enclosed in a metal tube, with each end of the rack protruding from the tube. A rod, called a tie rod, connects to each end of the rack.The pinion gear is attached to the steering shaft. When you turn the steering wheel, the gear spins, moving the rack. The tie rod at each end of the rack connects to the steering arm on the spindle (see diagram above). The rack-and-pinion gearset does two things: It converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into the linear motion needed to turn the wheels. It provides a gear reduction, making it easier to turn the wheels. On most cars, it takes three to four complete revolutions of the steering wheel to make the wheels turn from lock to lock (from far left to far right).

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Rack-and-pinion Steering

Rack-and-pinion steering is quickly becoming the most common type of steering on cars, small trucks and SUVs. It is actually a pretty simple mechanism. A rack-and-pinion gearset is enclosed in a metal tube, with each end of the rack protruding from the tube. A rod, called a tie rod, connects to each end of the rack.The pinion gear is attached to the steering shaft. When you turn the steering wheel, the gear spins, moving the rack. The tie rod at each end of the rack connects to the steering arm on the spindle (see diagram above). The rack-and-pinion gearset does two things: It converts the rotational motion of the steering wheel into the linear motion needed to turn the wheels. It provides a gear reduction, making it easier to turn the wheels. On most cars, it takes three to four complete revolutions of the steering wheel to make the wheels turn from lock to lock (from far left to far right).