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More Gears | LMNts

More Gears

In a previous post, we mentioned some developments using a gear generator with Grasshopper. We’re looking forward to applying the tool for practical applications, but for now here’s something completely impractical: a gear cube version of the Seattle Central Library. This was a project of ours in collaboration with OMA back in 2004 and is just a couple blocks from our office. We’ve decided to turn the project on its head.
Using the gear generator, this was a simple setup using these steps:

  • Create an octahedron and generate circles tangent to each edge. ┬áThis will give 8 circles.
  • Using the gear generator, create involute gears for each circle
  • ExtrudeToPoint each gear to the center of the octahedron to create 3-Dimensional mitered gears.
  • Import any closed Brep geometry (Seattle Central Library here).
  • Use closed geometry to trim gears.
  • Scale down octahedron to provide a structural core and trim gears from that as well.
  • Layout for printing.


This setup draws from Emmett Lalish’s cube gear design as posted on Thingiverse. The original cube has gotten a great deal of attention in the maker community and is a lot of fun to play with and figure out. We’ve posted the Library model on Thingiverse as well. Also, at the bottom of the post you can download a very basic version of the gear generator for Grasshopper (two-dimensional gears at the moment, work in progress). Enjoy, and please share any results!

[download id=”33″]
Obligatory disclaimer: the author does not guarantee that these parametric models are bug-free or that they will solve all of your problems. If you find bugs or have suggestions for improvements, please let us know.



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