3D Printing & Imaging


Henry Segerman designed this triple gear construct and printed it at Shapeways.

If you take three ordinary gears and put them together so that each gear meshes with the other two, then none of the gears can turn because neighbouring gears must turn in opposite directions. Triple gear avoids this problem by having the three “gears” arranged like linked rings – the gears then rotate along skew axes, and the opposite direction rule no longer applies

[via Shapeways]

2013 MAKE Ultimate Guide To 3D Printing

  • 3D Printers Buyer's Guide — 15 Reviewed
  • Getting Started in 3D
  • Learn the Software Toolchain
  • 3D Design for Beginners
  • 3D Printing without a Printer

Buy now!

Just Released! 2014 MAKE Ultimate Guide To 3D Printing

10 thoughts on “3D-Printed Triple Gear

    1. Perhaps a vertical threaded rod (with three helixes?) that it could ‘climb’ down. It would keep the rings in compression against each other too. Alternately a fourth ring…!

  1. Hi, this is Henry Segerman. Thanks for posting about the Triple gear! I just put up a smaller, less expensive version at http://shpws.me/mX9t

    trkemp: Yes, we’ve thought about how to do a motorised stand. Possibly with a geared central axis to power it, and/or some sort of shaped base for it to sit in to stop it just rotating as a whole.

  2. from some angles it looks like a continuous piece, not three separate gears…. if you printed it in a flexible material could you make a one piece continuous gear? I did a quick sketch to visualise it but dont have a 3d printer to test…

    1. Google “Möbius Gear” for a few related projects using a flexible material as a gear. It seems like it should in principle be possible to make a gearing trefoil knot, but getting it to actually work sounds very difficult. I think the flexibility properties of the material would be really delicately involved.

Comments are closed.


My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net

View more articles by John Baichtal