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Display Gears. Laser Cut Project


Gear Display

Download and Make


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.

5 reviews for Gear Display

  • This really is an attractive
    This really is an attractive gear case. I found a company in Berlin, which makes laser cut work. They only accept file format EPS or SVG. Is there a simple and free software to convert?

    • Hi Michael
      “Simple and free

      Hi Michael

      “Simple and free software to convert”

      You can use ‘GIMP’ on a Windows PC to open a PDF and export to EPS.

      Available from here :-

      Make sure you download the manual in your language.

      • Thank Smelter for the
        Thank Smelter for the information. Have just installed Gimp 2.8. With success PDF converted to EPS. I hope that the laser cut company to work for it.

      • Yes, I second the

        Yes, I second the recommendation of GIMP. I'm actually going to convert the file for my paper cutter using GIMP so I can build out of cardboard (I will just have more layers to glue together for thickness), just because I can (and because I don't have access to a laser cutter that I know of).

  • Wickedly cool, Rob!
    Wickedly cool, Rob!

  • I love it and would like to
    I love it and would like to use it but i was wondering if i can scale it up or if it won’t fit anymore.

    Thank’s a lot!

    It should scale up with a little planning. For example, I would keep the axle holes the same size otherwise you will have some very thick axles. Also, the cut-outs in the box sides have 3mm rebates, the same thickness as the plywood. If you scaled the model up you would need to modify these. – RI

    • Thank you, I already tougth
      Thank you, I already tougth about the axles but didn’t knew about the cut-outs. Happy I asked 🙂

      Happy to help:-) Let me know how it goes. – RI

  • A commercial kit of the
    A commercial kit of the project would probably sell well. I would certainly buy one or two. My grandson is the age he would be intrigued. If anyone does make a kit, I would like to know.


    • Thanks for your interest,
      Thanks for your interest, just out of interest what would you consider a fair price for a kit? Would around £10 – £12 ukp be okay?

      • That range seems reasonable.
        That range seems reasonable.

  • And for your next project
    And for your next project :-

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