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There are two sites I can think of that describe commonly used gear assemblies. Both sites make use of animations to illustrate how the gears work. LEGO Education: Constructopedia This web article produced by The LEGO Group introduces common, basic usages of gears and pulleys. It includes alterations to the direction of gears, idler gears, gearing up/down ...
I've had trouble finding good examples as well. One of the most interesting one is, sadly, in Spanish, but the images (and some help from Google Translate) helped me some. Hopefully it can be a start. http://www.hispalug.com/foro/index.php?topic=11730.0
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