The Fabulous Gear Thing--It needs a better name.

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Project by grace123 posted 08-17-2013 10:57 PM 5241 views 3 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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YouTube video link

A couple of days ago my son came by to share his big news—He and his wife are going to have another baby. My son will graduate from University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in December, 2013. His wife will also receive her Associate of Applied Science from University of New Mexico in December, 2013.

So, as an excited Grandma, I needed to make something to celebrate the occasion. This son already has a little boy, Michael. So I came up with this Fabulous Gear Thing to celebrate: A toy for the soon-to-be older brother, Michael, and the soon-to-be mechanical engineer and his wife.

I started with a piece of wood, in this case a scrap of poplar.

Then I used Matthias Wandel’s Gear Generator program (available at to get a template for cutting the gears.

Then I did the cutting, sanding, glueing, you know the drill. (hahahahahahahaha—pun very much intended)

I did the big reveal. You can turn the crank and spin the gears, or you can flip the gears with your finger. Little did I suspect that my husband, a civil engineer, and my son, the almost mechanical engineer, would have their heads together discussing the degree of torque, how much force, etc. etc. generated by this little toy. Michael just turned the handle and thought it was fine.

Here is the little boy who started it all, my grandson. Yes, I know, I know. No one thinks grandkids are nearly as cute at the grandparents.

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12 comments so far

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 3086 days

#1 posted 08-17-2013 11:33 PM

hi Grace, those look great. what are the gears made of. ply?
congrats for the new grandson coming.

-- Back home. Fernando

View SPalm's profile


5322 posts in 4024 days

#2 posted 08-17-2013 11:39 PM

Hey Grace, that is cool. My son is also an ME. A nice profession to have these days.
You seem to have the instinct yourself.

My First Gear.
First Gear, it’s alright … (The Beach Boys)
Geared for the younger set.
Genuine Gear.

I love having grandkids,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View SPalm's profile


5322 posts in 4024 days

#3 posted 08-17-2013 11:48 PM

This kind of reminds me a Do Nothing Machine. Fun to make. Silly to use.
Here is an example of one (many more everywhere)


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View grace123's profile


238 posts in 2904 days

#4 posted 08-18-2013 12:24 AM

To fernandoindia: This was made from odds and ends of a poplar board.

View grace123's profile


238 posts in 2904 days

#5 posted 08-18-2013 12:27 AM

SPalm—A do nothing machine—that looks like a lot of fun. I notice that people like to manipulate things with their hands. Thanks for the link.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

21287 posts in 3248 days

#6 posted 08-18-2013 02:46 AM

Second gear hang on tight!!

Nice job grace. Now you need to install them in a mechanism and you could even make a Rube Goldberg machine with more of them and other things mechanical engineers can dream up!!

Good show!!...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2330 days

#7 posted 08-18-2013 02:53 AM

Look at you Grace. One tough challenge after another.
Imagine that youngster being old enough to fit into those shoes. He will treasure the gears forever.
Very well done!

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View robscastle's profile


5313 posts in 2346 days

#8 posted 08-18-2013 03:00 AM

I think Matthias has provided many hours of entertainment for us all over a period of time with his gears program .
Here is my effort.

Simply done as a fascination activity

-- Regards Rob

View Roger's profile


20948 posts in 2946 days

#9 posted 08-18-2013 12:31 PM

Shiftin Gears…...........Nice

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2149 days

#10 posted 08-18-2013 10:15 PM

That cute lil fella has some big shoes to fill :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View saylumber's profile


1 post in 1638 days

#11 posted 04-22-2014 06:18 PM

Hi Grace:

I am building a playset for my kids, one of the features I am thinking of is a wall where they can attach different sizes of gears and see them turn.

Would you like to take on a project? Let me know. I cannot send a private message as I am a new member. I join this group just specifically to look for handy people to help on my project.


View Ocelot's profile


2066 posts in 2780 days

#12 posted 04-22-2014 07:40 PM

OP said ”. No one thinks grandkids are nearly as cute at the grandparents.

All I can say is … I really can’t do much of a comparison, since I haven’t seen the grandparents!

Nice gears!


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