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Download Display Gears

Four interlocking gear wheels in a display case. Art and engineering in perfect harmony.

This project is also on Instructables

The parts of this project are cut out from three millimetre plywood using a laser cutter. In this case, an HPCLaser 3050.

The plans for making this project are available for everybody to download for free. As well as the plywood you will also need a piece of dark coloured paper as a background and a sheet of one millimetre thick clear acrylic for the front of the box. One final addition, you will need three pieces of six millimetre wooden dowel. Two of them twenty four millimetres long and one eighteen millimetres long.


The parts file is divided into two pages. The file is a pdf. As different laser cutters use different file formats I leave it to you to convert it to a format suitable for your machine.

The HPCLaser in action cutting out the parts.

All the parts apart for the dowel pieces cut out and ready to go. The blue piece is the clear acrylic front with its protective film still attached. Having cut out all the parts follow the instructions below to assemble the gear display.

Glue together the two eighteen teeth gears. Make sure that they are aligned precisely.

Glue the outer ring to the thirty eight tooth gear as well as the centre hub. Again, make sure you are as accurate as possible with your alignment.

Glue the eighteen toothed gear to the hub. Use a spare piece of dowel to make sure the holes are lined up accurately.

Assemble the twenty two toothed gear as shown using the pentagon hub.

The thirty toothed gear has no hub. Carefully glue the secondary gear ring in place making sure that the teeth are accurately lined up.

Glue together the three base pieces and fit the two longer dowels into place tapping them home with a hammer if necessary. They should be a tight fit and should not be free to turn.

Fit the various spacers into place as shown in the picture.

Glue the eighteen millimetre long dowel into the knurled gear as shown. Make sure that it is sitting accurately square as the glue dries.

Glue the dark backing paper into place. This paper provides contrast with the gears making them stand out visually.

Fit the knurled wheel through the remaining hole in the base plate. It should turn easily in the hole. Fit the small gear into place on the dowel so that it just touches the spacer on the base. It should turn easily via the knurled wheel.

Drop the largest gear onto the dowel. Check that it turns freely via the knurled wheel.

Drop the final gear onto the remaining dowel. Fit the remaining ring over it so that it holds the gear down but still allows it to turn.

Fit together the five main pieces of the frame. Use glue if you need too.

Drop the acrylic front into place inside the box. Glue the two stops into place to hold the acrylic in position.

The finished front cover.

Fit the cover over the gear to complete the project.

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Download Guard Dog
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Download this fearsome(!) Guard Dog from the link and make either this coloured version or print the uncoloured version onto patterned paper to make your own individual style. This version of the Guard Dog is a static paper toy, look out for future articles where I'll be showing you how to add movement to him to bring him to life.

Paid members can download the parts sheet for free, thanks for signing up! Non members can join in for the small fee of £2.50ukp

Print out the single sheet of parts onto a piece of thin card. (230micron /67lb is ideal) Score along all the dotted and dashed lines before carefully cutting out all the parts.

All the parts cut out and ready for assembly.

Fold over the tail and glue it down making double thickness card. Don't glue the two tabs together. Once the glue is dry carefully cut out the part.

Fold the top of the ears over to make double thickness card then carefully cut them out.

Fold up the head and glue it together as shown.

Glue the completed ears to the back of the head. Fold down the ears at roughly half their height as shown in the animation.


Roll round and glue together the body.

Glue the front legs in place on the front of the body using the grey areas.

Glue the back feet and legs together.

Glue the back legs to the body.

Glue the tail to the marked area.

Glue the head to the body. Where you place the head is a matter for personal preference. I moved it slightly off-centre with the head cocked slightly. Glue the semi-circular tab at the back of the head to the body and at least one of the sides of the head.

The finsished guard dog as well as a mono version printed onto heart-patterned paper.

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As part of another project with Univeristy of Cumbria I put together this slot together horse. It's really simple, having only six parts that slot together once the model is cut out. I cut it out with the laser but it works just as well with scissors and a sharp knife. I think the end result is rather nice, though I say so my self.

If you are a paid member you can make you're own paper horse by downloading the parts sheet at the link. Thanks for signing up!

Can I suggest trying it with one on the pattern papers? Your paper horse might look rather nice covered in love hearts!

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This paper tree is based on a project I'm working on for an educational group. They very kindly gave me permission to post it on the website.

I'm making this quick project available as a free download for all members. Thanks for signing up, memberships are my main source of income and I literally couldn't run the web site without you. Thank you.

The tree is based on a simple fractal design. Fractals are self repeating patterns like those found in crinkly coastlines, mountain profiles and of course trees.

In Illustrator I started off with a truck and added a couple of different size branches at slightly different angles. I then copied these branches, reduced their size and added them to the end of the first branches.

This process is repeated one more time, with the occasional mirror flip of the branches to add a bit of randomness.

Finally I used Illustrator's excellent Pathfinder tool to merge all the shapes in to one outline. Quick and easy!

Here, the three parts that make up the tree are printed onto card, cut out and are ready to go. How you cut them out is up to you. I used my laser cutter because I'm making five hundred of them! A small forest of paper trees which I'm really looking forward to seeing completed. You can use scissors and a knife or a plotter cutter if you have access to one of those.

The vertical slot needs to be wide enough to accommodate thick card. If you have used thin card you may need to add a dab of glue under each tab to hold the pieces into place.

I cut out loads of leaves on suitably autumnal coloured card. Again, scissors work but if you can automate the process it will save you a fair bit of time. The leaves have slots in them to hold them to the tree trunk and branches. Spend a little relaxing time decorating your tree with leaves then perhaps top it off with a bluebird.

I've finished off the scene by scattering the remaining leaves around the base of the trunk.

There you have it, a paper tree. I hope it goes well for The Archive!

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Download IRM
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An intermittent rotation mechanism for you to use in your own designs. Download and make the parts then add your own character.

Members can download the parts sheets from the link for free, non members can join in the fun for £2.50

Print out the parts onto thin card. Use coloured card or one of the pattern sheets from this website to make your model more colourful.

Score along all the dotted and dashed lines and cut out the holes before carefully cutting out the parts.

Start by putting together the base. Fold up the side tabs and glue them down to make right angle triangle tubes.

Fold the rest of the box and and glue it down.

Make up the drive plate from double thickness card glued together.

Glue on four of the assembled stops onto the grey areas.

Glue the fifth stop to the underside of the box so that it is roughly 5mm from the edge of the box and facing in the direction shown.

Glue together the three parts of the box then fold them round and assemble the box.

Roll up the two drive pins and glue then down accurately using the grey areas and arrows for alignment. Glue together the two drive shafts.

Slide the vertical pin into the vertical shaft with the end with the grey line toward the chevron end of the drive pin. Slide it into position so that it is between the two grey lines.

Fit the drive plate into position lining it up with the grey line and gluing down the tabs.

Fit the drive into the base. It should be a loose, easy fit.

Fit the box over the top and down onto the base.

Glue in the four tabs onto the inside wall of the box.

Assemble the horizontal drive cam.

Put together the handle.

Fit the horizontal shaft into place between the two holes in the box sides then push the pin through the the drive shaft and out the other side.

The drive shaft should look like this.

Complete the model by gluing the handle to the drive shaft.

You can fit the arrow if you like so that you can see the vertical shaft turning as you turn the handle. Over to you now to design your own character!

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Download Cupid

Purchase a full kit of parts here

Also available on Instructables

This laser cut Cupid automata uses gears and linkages to come to life. Turn the handle and watch him fly!

I've made the pdf file of parts available for everyone to download for free. You'll need to adapt it to suit the file format of your particular laser cutter.

If you don't have a laser cutter you may be able to use one in
one of the many FabLabs and Hacker Spaces which are springing up all over the world.


All the parts are cut from 3mm laser ply. You will also need a selection of 6mm diameter dowels cut to length as follows.

6mm x 4 : 9mm x 3 : 15mm x 5 : 25mm z 2 : 35mm x 1

Start by fitting two 9mm long dowels into one of the body sides. They should be a tight fit so you may need to tap them into place with a hammer.

Glue the body middle into place, tap it down and add another thin film of glue.

Fit the other side into place.

You'll need four 3mm cube neodymium magnets to attach the wings. I purchased a set from eBay for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

Glue the four magnets into the slots in the body using strong epoxy adhesive (Araldite)

The glue holding the four magnets will need to dry completely.

Snip the end off a paper clip to make a crude drill.

Use the drill to make two small holes in the edge of both wings.

Bend a length of paper clip so that it fits neatly into the two holes.

Press the staple home and glue it into place with epoxy.

Make a small 'U' shape from a length of paper clip and glue it into the slot on the wing.

Notice that the larger gears are marked with either an 'x' or an 'o'

Pair up the two 'x's as shown joining them together with glue and two 6mm dowels. the dowels must be flush with the surface of the gear. If necessary, file the dowels down. Repeat with the 'o' gear.

Fit the gear inner into place with a 15mm dowel on either side as shown.

Fit the push rod over the dowel as shown then fit the other gear into place. the push rod must be free to rotate completely inside the gear.

The top front of the smaller gear parts are all marked with an 'x'.

Fit together two gears and the gear inner with two 15mm dowels.

Add the other two gear pieces.

Push the 35mm dowel through the gear so that it sticks out roughly 10mm on one side.

Assemble the linkage as shown carefully gluing it together.

Join the linkage to the push rod with a 9mm dowel. Make sure that it rocks up and down freely.

Fit one of the sides onto the two base pieces.

Fit the linkage and large gear followed by the small gear into the holes in the side piece.

Fit the other side pace into place.

Make up two wing push rods from straightened out paper clips.

Slip the body onto the push rod so that it is facing towards the small gear.

Fit the two wing push rods into the two holes on the end of the linkage.

Hook the other end of the wing push rod into the loops on the wings.

Lift the wing up so that it snaps into place on the magnets.

Repeat the process with the other wing.

Fit the handle parts to the shaft on the small gear.


Turn the handle and watch Cupid fly!

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Download Clockwork Orange
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A Clockwork Orange to download and make. Turn the handle on the box and a combination of scotch yoke and ratchet mechanism turn the clockwork key on the orange.

At this point I should insert a witty remark linking the model with the book/film of the same name but as I have read/seen neither I'll just tell you that oranges are not the only fruit.

Anyway, are you feeling zesty? Then we'll begin.

Members can download the model for free at the link. Orange you glad you signed up!

Print out the pages onto thin card. You'll need five sheets of 230 micron/67lb A4 or Letter size.

Score along all the dotted and dashed lines, cut out the holes then carefully cut out the pieces.

All the parts of the model ready to go!

Start by gluing the two orange segment strips with the holes opposite each other.

Glue the remaining eight strips into place. The longer strips fit in the recesses.

Work your way round the orange gluing up one ring of tabs as accurately as possible.

Work your way down the orange one ring and a time.

I only thought of creating this animation when I saw the pictures I'd taken. Not bad for hand held dontcha think!


Fold over and glue together the key and the the ratchet gear to make double thickness card.

Carefully cut out the key...

...and the ratchet gear.

Fold over and glue down the two ratchet strips to make double thickness card.

Fit the ratchet gear to the ratchet axle.

Thread the axle through one of the holes in the orange core. Glue on the washer to stop it falling it. The axle should turn easily in the over-sized hole.

Fold the core round and thread the other end of the axle through the hole, securing it with the second washer.

Glue the core closed. The axle should be a loose fit in the core.

Roll up and glue down the long axle tube.

Notice where the hole is in the side of the orange in the picture. Cut down four small snips to make the hole in the end of the orange rectangular.

Slide the core into the orange and snip of the excess card on both sides. There is no need to glue the core into place.

Thread the long axle tube through one side of the orange, through the axle and out the other side of the orange. Stop when it is just past the centre as shown. Again, there is no need for glue. Friction holds it all together.

Glue the nine ratchet teeth to the grey areas on the ratchet strips in the order numbered on the strip. Curl each tile up slightly as shown.

Test the orange out by fitting the strips into place then moving them up and down together to see that the key turns. The tiles should be facing inwards towards the ratchet gear. It the key doesn't turn swap the strips to the opposite sides of the core, still with the ratchet teeth facing inwards.

Roll up and glue down the three crank tubes.

Make up the two crank pieces.

Make the handle.

Glue together these various bits and pieces.

Glue together the yoke and the yoke top.

Fit the push-rod into the yoke then fit the yoke top into place.

Assemble the five pieces of the crank and shown making sure that everything is square and lined up as the glue dries.

Thread the crank into place in the yoke. (No glue!)

Fold up and glue the the triangle tube sections at the bottom of the box sides.

Glue the two sides together.

Fold the box round, threading the crank into place in the box sides as you do so. Make sure the yoke push rod is pointing up towards the top of the box.

Glue the box closed.

Thread the slider tube down through the box top and glue it down.

Glue the two box top stiffeners into place. Fold the two tabs down and glue them to the stiffeners.

Fit the box top into place, threading the yoke push rod into the slider tube as you do so.

Fold up and glue down the two large base flaps.

Thread the sliders onto the side pillars.

Glue the slider to the yoke and the pillar to the box top and bottom.

Repeat the same process on the other side.

Glue the four tabs back to the inside walls of the box making triangular section tubes.

Glue the handle to the longer of the two crank axle rods.

Cut a couple of slots in the axle and slot the key into place. Use a small dab of glue to hold it into place.

Face the orange so that the key and the handle are on the same side.

Pull out the front ratchet strip and thread it down through the front hole in the box.

Glue it to the yoke upper so that the end just touches the top of the body of the yoke and the strip is nicely centred.

Repeat the process with the other ratchet strip.

Fit the orange down over the strips...

Glue the two core flaps to the box top. That's it! Turn the handle and the yoke mechanism drives the ratchet in turn driving the key. Clever stuff!

Jaffa good time?

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It seems that in recent years Penguins have become Christmas characters. South Pole people! South Pole! Still, I'm always happy to jump on a passing band wagon, just for the ride you understand. With that in mind here's another of my paper projects from the Brother website. You can download it for free here. Festive felicitations one and all!

The model is powered by a crank slider. Turn the handle...

...and the Penguin Bobs up and down whilst flapping her wings. Just like they do in the southern hemisphere!

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Got half an hour to spare? Try this super quick model. The Paper Stegosaurus is another of my paper projects now available to download for free from the Brother Website. Woo hoo!

This Paper Stegosaurus has only four parts but still looks the part. Download the colourful fellow from the Brother website now! Do it now! Quick, before it becomes extinct!

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Download Paper Mouse
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This fun paper mouse project comes complete with its own piece of cheese to cut out and make! Members can download the parts for free at the link, thanks for signing up! Non-members can download the parts file for £2.50.

Print out the single sheet of card onto thin card. 230 micron /67lb is just right.

Score along the dotted lines then carefully cut out the parts.

Curve round and glue down the two ears then roll the head into a cone and glue it down.

Glue the two front parts of the body together starting from one end and working your way round.

Glue the two parts of the rear body together.

Glue the front and rear of the body together carefully lining up the edge of the front with the edge of the grey area to make a slightly arched body.

Glue the rear legs into place. Use the picture as a guide to placement.

Finish off the mouse by gluing the completed head and the tail in the appropriate places on the body.

Warning! Some people find mice terrifying. Be careful where you leave your paper mouse.

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