Gears, Gears, and more Gears

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Project by Green_Hornut posted 06-03-2013 01:53 AM 1975 views 18 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Came up with this idea after seeing a couple of cheap plastic toys that used gears. Like every other woodworker I said I can build one better out of wood and less cost. Baltic birch ply for the gears and base. Each set has one gear with a handle and when you turn one they all turn. The hard part was tuning them so there wasn’t any high points on the teeth that would stop rotation. Turn the crank and when I felt resistance remove the gears one by one until I found the offending gear. Sandpaper and rasp until they turned smoothly. They sit loose on dowels for the axles so they can be taken off and put in any configuration the child wants. I was thinking of painting them different colors but in the end I thought that natural finish looked better. For the impossibly cute grandchildren.

17 comments so far

View Dakkar's profile


298 posts in 1020 days

#1 posted 06-03-2013 02:05 AM

That is a very cool project. I’ve always kind of wanted to try a wooden gear clock one day. Something like this might be a good way to ease up to that. You did a nice job on it.

View socrbent's profile (online now)


334 posts in 1362 days

#2 posted 06-03-2013 02:09 AM

Well done. Like the natural look with very neat designs. Amazing that you can get all 16 gears to turn smoothly. About how many man hours per 4×4 set?

-- socrbent Ohio

View jlb's profile


124 posts in 2659 days

#3 posted 06-03-2013 02:21 AM

Great job. Now you’re really “geared up” for your next project.

-- Jim, Ca,

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1050 posts in 2899 days

#4 posted 06-03-2013 02:30 AM

Sorry to disappoint you but, check here:

I still think yours is nice.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


6400 posts in 1669 days

#5 posted 06-03-2013 02:59 AM

Nice work Green Hornut!

You can make your own gears from the link above as well.

View oldnovice's profile


4667 posts in 2460 days

#6 posted 06-03-2013 05:09 AM

I have been looking for something for my granddaughter, and a project for me, and this one looks like a potential winner!

Did you cut the gears on a jig saw?

I was thinking about using a large dowel, flute it, sand it, and then slice the gears off with a TS!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View majuvla's profile


5808 posts in 1960 days

#7 posted 06-03-2013 08:00 AM

Ofcourse, wooden must look better!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Julian's profile


767 posts in 1783 days

#8 posted 06-03-2013 02:23 PM

That’s a great learning toy for kids. I’m sure your grand kids will play with it for hours.

-- Julian

View helluvawreck's profile


19548 posts in 1959 days

#9 posted 06-03-2013 02:26 PM

Nice work. It looks like a fun product.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View a1Jim's profile


113839 posts in 2669 days

#10 posted 06-03-2013 02:56 PM

Very cool nice work

-- Custom furniture

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

663 posts in 2359 days

#11 posted 06-03-2013 03:23 PM

my one year old has one of the plastic gear toys, its one of his favorite things to play with. of course he mostly just chews on the gears lol

View Green_Hornut's profile


99 posts in 1712 days

#12 posted 06-03-2013 03:46 PM

Mike, that toy is exactly what my grandson has and what prompted me to do this project. Wood is better any day of the week. Plus there is some creativity in moving and cranking the gears. Not sitting and watching them move because of a battery.

Charles, Ya they look great but they are also selling them for 2 yards. I have probably 20 bucks in Baltic birch ply. Also I would like to try something like that but they aren’t sharing their pattern.

waho6o9, that is exactly were I got my pattern.

Thanks for comments folks. Nice to see people looking at your stuff.

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

663 posts in 2359 days

#13 posted 06-03-2013 04:17 PM

i agree i think when he gets a bit older i might build him one of these out of wood. really cool!

View Brandon's profile


4147 posts in 2044 days

#14 posted 06-03-2013 06:17 PM

This is very cool. I’ll have to make one for my little one before he gets too old. Thanks for sharing.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Sanding2day's profile


1000 posts in 939 days

#15 posted 06-03-2013 11:40 PM

Very cool… Certainly wish to give this a try in the near future! Thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

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