MakerBot Print is our newest print-prepration software, which supports native CAD files and STL assemblies,
allows you to interact with all your printers via the Cloud, and many other exciting new features.

Download Now


Elliptical Gear with no center pivot

by cohlwiler Oct 20, 2015
Download All Files

Thing Apps Enabled

Please Login to Comment

Could you share your Cura profile (.curaprofile) and Gcode file (.gcode)? (for PLA and mayby for NYLON, if you have)
I am a beginner, it is hard for me to adjust to get such quality as yours.
(I have a new printer: Sidewinder X1)

Thank you very much!

The geometry on the gear is messed up.

I printed 100% solid and all four pins broke trying to insert. I then printed just the arms with zero fill and single thickness walls and they went in very easily. Trying again now with 2x thick walls.

Double wall thickness (0.8mm) for the win!!! Just flexible enough to force into the holes, solid enough to make a really solid toy that just feels heavy and right with no wiggle.

How do you rotate one of the gears a hundred eighty degrees to get the correct alignment?

Great toy! One of my favorite prints :)

Comments deleted.

Nice design. Printed it out and it's perfect. Super cool. Thanks for sharing.

Excellent project. The design of the parts was done well; they look finished when assembled, with no cleanup. I made 4 of them for family members. I gave them away as fidgets.

I hace problems to print the arm, for me it prints to lose. What settings you use?

How much flow do I have to configure on PLA?

Mine came out a little tight but still works!

worked great for me in PLA!
good job

Pretty cool..but mine turned out a little tight.
0.14 print over 1hr 57min

I noticed that a lot of people were complaining because the arms were too thin and would snap. I fixed this problem and created a build plate .stl. This is compact, fast, and reliable, and it will print all of the designs at the same time. Enjoy!


Elliptical gear with no center point fixed

Tried printing in PLA, reinforced PLA and ABS but the flanged breaks

I was able to snap the pieces together without breaking the flanges by inserting the square end of a drill bit that was just the right size in between the flanges as I pressed the pieces together. This prevented them from flexing and breaking off. It makes it more difficult to get them together, but at least they don't break.

Mine works great on my anycubic omega i3. perfect 1st time

Worked perfectly in PLA as one of my first few prints on a $200 Monoprice Mini. Sorry some are having trouble, even sorrier some commenters are so rude. Great design (and geometry!) Thanks!

How did you manage to get the geometry this bad?

My thoughts exactly! Wonder what kind of software was used to design this and export it to stl

It looks like a 3D scan to me...

this is to be my very frist print I will comment layer if I get it right

I've made a couple of these and they are a great toy to show people what printers can do.

I remember printing an earlier version of this design in late 2014 on my first printer, a ROBO3D. The rods kept breaking upon insertion so I had to print a bunch of them just to get two or three working prints! Now the design is so highly evolved that it's a work of art... cheers to all who contributed to it's development!


I still had the rods break on the first two I printed. I don't think they are quite thick enough.

Great great design!
However you cause me a problem here..
Every friend/family that playing with it want me to print them one too...

Printed with:
Geeetech i3c
25% infill

For all the guys with the problems..

  1. reduce the printing speed
  2. try to print a bit hotter

This little toy is great! My friend loves gears, so I printed one for him, but I might have to print one for myself too! As another commenter pointed out, push in the arms when they come off the printer. Had no trouble with the tabs breaking. Great design!

Cool little model, we actually did a Time-Lapse of it being printed you can see it here https://youtu.be/vjopfTVGwYw

Nice work. I printed it with my PP3DP UP Mini! and it worked flawlessly.

Here I posted a video of the gear in action:


Comments deleted.

I have tried with both HIPS and PLA and the flanges break easily on both.

Wow! Worked great the first time! Used glow in the dark material, so mesmerizing in the dark! Thank you Mr. Cohlwiler!!!

I printed with Robox, PLA, and it worked great at full size. When I scaled it down to 50%, the tabs on the arms broke repeatedly; The gears, however, came out great.

Great design, which tool did you use?

Looks great but the flanges keep breaking. Onto my third attempt now. First two at .3mm height, 20% infill. Next at .2mm, 40% infill. If that still does not work I will try ScottW1's suggestion to use horizontal size compensation.

After five tries I just could not make any that would not break. Yours looks really nice though. I am going to have to give up on it though, for now : (

Printed on Lulzbot Mini in Esun PETG. Everything fit perfectly, but I did use "horizontal size compensation -0.05mm" in Simplifi3d. Nice design!

Gonna need to print this tonight, might be the FIRST print on my homemade printer's new bed.

Mine printed fine in PLA at 210, and had no issues with the flanges breaking. The gears were too close though (partly because the bottom layer smeared out a little). I used 123D Design to stretch the arms by 1mm and that worked better; I was concerned that scaling it would make the flanges too big, but I guess the "smart scale" option was smart. I used a 0.3mm layer height and 20% infill.

Worked perfectly. Made one from PLA on my Lulzbot Taz5 using Simplify3D slicer software. (Love the printer and the software.)
Marvelous widget.

A few tips:
Make the gears first, then make the arms and pop them into the gears as soon as they come off of the heated bed.
The plastic will be still pliable when warm. Warm up the arms with hot water if you still can't pop in the arms.
Lay the gears flat on a hard surface, (like a desk) and push the arms firmly into the hole with the heel of your hand.
Set your printer for ~40% infill. Perhaps give it 5% extra on the extrusion to make sure that the layers bond well.
I used a 0.5mm nozzle and set my printer for a 0.2 layer height.

I too tried to print this also in PLA with a Flash Forge Dreamer clone using .2 layer height. Looked perfect, yet the teeth are just too brittle, all 4 joints broke one or two teeth off when trying to insert them into the gears.

Any tips from those who got this to work?

I'm sorry to hear that you're having problems with the teeth breaking off. Not sure if you've seen this, but I posted some ideas as a comment on this make: http://www.thingiverse.com/make:182887. I'll be sure to post an update if I find a good solution to this issue!

Elliptical Gear with no center pivot
by mwomack

I love this thing, but I can't seem to make one that doesn't break during assembly. I have used PLA and HIPS, and every time I broke the flanges as they "snapped" into the holes. I have tried filing/sanding the holes to make it easier for the flanges to fit and slide, and it got better. I only broke one of the flanges for each hole. Is there a trick to this thing? Does it only really work with ABS?

All of mine were printed in PLA. I'm sorry to hear that you're having trouble with the flanges. If you have any more info about your printer and settings, or close-up pictures of the pieces, I might be able to help.

Sorry for the delay. I made another go at printing some new arms, but still ended up breaking the flanges. I posted some pictures here: http://www.thingiverse.com/make:182887

Elliptical Gear with no center pivot
by mwomack

Having the same issue with PLA. Have tried temperatures between 190-205, I started having stringing issues at 210.

Pretty cool design. Good for showing off the basics of a 3-d printer.

Could you provide the file for the arms?

Sure thing! They're in the downloads section now. All credit for the arm design goes to PerryT, and you can find other compatible arms here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:37659

Elliptical Gear Set with connecting links.
by PerryT