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Gear Bearing

by emmett Feb 23, 2013
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Printed perfectly on my Ender-5.
Cura 4.1 - 0.15mm resolution, 20% infill.

Works really well!

I printed this successfully with a Ender 3 and PLA but it took a bit work and care afterwards to free it up, but it was worth it :-)

Settings I used: Cura 4.0 // Normal (0.15mm) resolution // Infil: 20% Grid // Speed 60mm/s // No Raft.

The item was locked up off the bed, but I managed to free it up with some gentle teasing with a small flat head-screwdriver being careful not to damage the teeth in the process, then I used a pair of mole grips (or gripping pliers) to grap the center piece and turn the outside. As soon as I got it moving I put in some tooth-paste and then fitted a bit to a battery drill and turned slowly in both directions, sped up and up until now it is moving quite nicely, it is still a little stiff but I can move it with my bear hands and I imagine it may loosen up further with time.

I really love this design, it is a nice example of what 3D Printing can achieve, thank you for sharing the design freely.

No idea why, but every time I try to print the bearing with 6 planets, the print freezes. Any ideas? The 5 planet version prints flawlessly. Amazing design.

Awesome design. So cool to make something that can't be built. Came off and broke loose fairly easily, and then ran with drill a bit. Spins nicely.
Printed the stock 6 tooth gear in PLA at 200/50 with 0.2 layers and 0.4 line width.
Speed: 30 first layer, 60 top/bottom, 80 walls, 120 infill.
Thank you!

I had trouble with bottom layer fusing. Lowered bed temp to 55C & it works fine. Prusa Mk3.

I like this model, but I have a couple of different printers and the tolerances work on some but not others. Would it be possible for you to upload the bearing with some larger tolerances for the gaps between gears? Regardless, you've done some good work with this model.

The SCAD file is included, just open it up in OpenSCAD and change the tolerance.

Any way to add a circular hole in the center in the customize? i need the to fit over a round 20mm shaft. Thanks.. Great design btw

Yep, you can do that in OpenSCAD for sure.

What're the units on the customizer?

All measurements are in millimeters.

Great design! Printed nicely with my Ender 3. Took some violence to get everything unfused - especially the first few layers. I didn't have a hex screw bit of the right size at hand to turn the center gear, so I ended up doing most of the work by wedging a flaptop screwdriver in between the outer gears. Feels like it would be much easier with a hex bit and an electric drill.

Doesn't move super smoothly right now, but running it at high RPM on an electric drill to wear down the uneven bits should fix that.

Mine fused totally on my ender 3. what settings did you use?

I was able to modify and print it easily using blender.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPmtSQb2GX4&t=7s

When I try to customize it for size that I need and tolerance it just makes a solid cylinder I am trying to mke it 28mm by 8mm with a tolerance of .20 and its solid block

worked really good. I printed this at 100% in 2h and it was really easy to free the gear. thanks for sharing

Is there a way to customize it and add a name?

Printed this as a test to see whether my Geeetech A10M could do a clean job with such tight tolerences. After printing, I took a hammer to the piece and eventually the gears broke free. It now spins very nicely, after using a drill to spin it and "break it in." I'm VERY impressed with this design - sooo cool! ;-)

Printed in PLA, .1mm layer height on my Maker Select Plus, and it came out totally fused. I couldn't get the customizer to work, so I scaled up the X/Y axes from about 58mm to 63.5 and tried again. It took some work for the gears to separate, but now it spins pretty well. It does catch slightly at a few points, but my printer has a stringing issue for travels so I'm actually impressed it goes as well as it does.

Okay, I did eventually get the customizer to work, and I have my own stl with increased gaps ready to go any time now :) I believe the default gap is .15mm. I'm using .29mm now, and it's much better for my printer. I also enlarged the opening slightly to better fit over a #2 pencil.

I thought my print was kinda failing when I saw "defaults" on the outside, until I realised it was written "EL" ahah :')
Otherwise, I printed it with my Ender 3 in 0.15 layer and 20% infill. I had to force a bit on the pieces but now it turns perfectly

I HAVE AN ENDER 3 AND IT WORKS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I printed mine, it did not cost me anything to remove it, but I have the problem that the pieces were too loose, too much distance between them, that when they turn they jump over their teeth. Can someone tell me what can go wrong in the configuration of Cura or help me solve the problem? Thanks dear friends.


Post-process with baking soda and water between gears will really smooth out the action. Used old Cura with 0.3 layer height and 20% fill. Was difficult to break out; but just took time to move it back and forth. Finally broke free. Had a lot of friction when turning. Used baking-soda as abrasive and ran with drill. Now smooth as can be.

Amazing thing! Printed and worked perfectly when the print was done. Well done!

are there files of this where it is in peices and not assembled? I want to try and color it!

FYI one of the key features of this thing is that it can only be put together IF it's printed together. That's why its kinda magical.

Cura can break a model into parts. Go to Extensions->Mesh Tools-> Split model into parts . It will treat each part as a separate model so you can print each separately.

Printed on my Ender 3 @ 0.15. Absolutely amazing.
This is the kind of thing I can show my friends how amazing 3D printing is.
I put this in my drill at 1000's of RPM and it's coping fine.

Slice in Cura with the default 1.5mm standard settings. I put an allen wrench in the hex hole and gave a slight tug and it started rotating. It has a catch or two in the rotation, but I'm very happy with the results.

First attempt didn't work out. Ender3, 215 deg PLA (Amazonbasics). 0.2mm / layer. 3 of the herringbone gears were free but the rest were fused either to the outer ring or center gear or both. ended up breaking it trying to free the rest so it's in the garbage now. I'll try it again later after I finish some other prints.

What are the parameters to make bearing6.stl from bearing.scad?

i dont know how to change the tolerence can anyone help me? i printed one thinking it would work but it all stuck together. i tried everything to get it to work but i ended up destroying it only to find that it would have never worked because the gears were fully bonded to the outeside! the gears snapped before it broke free!

Anyone care to try a sinusoidal tooth shape?

Incredible design...printed this on my ender 3 ...0.2 Layer Height, 20% infill and 40 mm/s. Had a hard time freeing the gears...but eventually one gear popped out and I was pleasantly surprised that the print wasn't ruined....the gear that popped out broke in to two pieces but it still rotated and the other gears remained trapped. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmvSxS8YZ48

Thanks for sharing this Emmett.

I wondered for a while how hard this would be to separate on my Cube 3 printer. Came out amazingly well at 100%. The hex access was spot on for a driver bit and the whole thing is running free. Not smooth, but free. I can see this idea applied to large ID bearings.

Thanks Emmett!

Got mine printed and working first try! Printed at 100% on a select mini pro and took about 8hrs.

Wow, great bearing. Very smooth and functional with some elbow grease.

Disclaimer: This may not work for everyone, and I have no idea what i'm doing really. I just got a lot of time on my hands and this is what I did to get it to spin super smooth:

Tips for making the bearing super smooth(using PLA):
1). Make sure the bearing is loosened (able to spin).
2). Soak the part in boiling water for a second, then apply a decent radial load to it.
What I did is I insert a hex key into the part first, the soaked in hot water. Then I rolled it on a table with decent pressure. The idea is to flatten and "mate" the gear contact surfaces.
3). Apply some buffing compound inside the gears and spin in with a drill for 5 mins.
4). Rinse clean and dry it, then apply some 35wt 100% silicon lube.

The thing spins amazing. Design your own buttons if you wanna turn it into a cool workplace fidget spinner.

To free the gears from the races, lay the object flat and tap each of them with a hammer. You will see stress marks start to form between the gears and the race when you've tapped it enough.. Once they're all tapped, you can insert the hex key and turn it without a problem.

I love it. Took me quite a while to figure out how to free the gears but I finally found a good way. It is really tight and nice, doesnt shake and doesnt make me afraid it would fall apart. + it fits into my filament rolls nicely. now I just have to design a part to attach it to my filament holder and it will be perfect <3

Where the tolerance is?

For some reason the exact last layer went over everything and made them all connected and now its impossible to turn

i had this problem too! i dont have the problem for the 6 gear one though

Must be a problem with your slicer then. I didnt have any problems. Maybe you can try to free it with a sharp knife?

Awesome! Printed a 7 cog version @ 0.14 tolerance on Monoprice MakerSelect Plus (Wanhao I3 plus) 0.18mm layer height 40% infill, 30mm/sec. Came out perfect, broke loose with very little effort. Currently printing some test wheels to do another version, going to try for 0.1 or 0.08 tolerance.

I want to also know. Does more or less planets make for smoother rotation?

More planets should be smoother but more friction

does more or less planets make for smoother rotation?

printing mine now 150% I will update in 3.5 hours

This is quite a piece, perfect for demonstrating the unique capabilities of 3D printing! Breaks in quite easily, and (printed in PLA) easily survived 1500 RPM rotation for 5 minutes with no noticeable damage to it. I only have one question: can we possibly get versions with different-shaped holes in them, not only the hex key hole?

would be nice. but I think the cad file is attached to feel free to remix, I guess

Fantastic design, works incredibly well.
Loosen it manually after printing. Put it on a drill (slowly in the beginning) to break it in. A drop of machine oil and it runs like crazy. Printed it out for a spool-holder and I will definitely use it.
Printed in PLA on a standard Tevo Tornado, sliced it in Slic3r.

Hello, I am new to the 3d printing space so I'm sure this is a simple problem. When I import the stl file into cura. The file looks fine but when I slice it and view the layers, it wants to print the entire design as one piece. I know they are supposed to print at the same time but cura wants to print as one connected piece.

didint have problems with cura. Maybe you activated the "fill all holes" option on accident?

Favourite thing I've printed so far.
Came out really well (ABS, 0.2mm on my Tornado). Gave top and bottom a little sand and a quick spray of PTFE, and it does indeed spin (OK, maybe only manages two rotations after giving it a flick - seems to be a little lump somewhere I can't find).
What I love is that it's a pretty good bearing with no wobble in any direction.

Unfortunately mine was fused at the bottom and top a bit, so i dont turn. I dont know which settings to tweak.

Mine was too, take a knife and try to pry it open carefully

scale it up a bit, should work


I tested "limits" of this bearing
Nice work

Comments deleted.

Loved it. Printed on my Prusa MK3 with PETG at a layer height of .15 and offset .2 and sliced on Slic3r
Used no rafts and infill was at 20%
Didn't take much to get the gears spinning. I put it onto my drill and spun it fast and put pressure on it to make the gears smooth.
Thanks so much. I will be making more.

Printed this brilliant thing and after the first attempt seemed to fuse together scaled it up to 125% to have it printed in four hours on my Prusa i3 MK2S. It came off the printbed flawlessly and spins very well.

Why didnt you just create a version with bigger tolerances?

The fusing happened with the given STL.

After that worked I've created a few variants with openscad.

I printed this wonderful model a 2nd time on my Anet A8, with the following CURA settings:

  • All the default settings for "Coarse" = 0.2mm height, 200º, etc.
  • Outer Wall Inset 0.2mm
  • Outer before inner wall = True
  • Raft

THIS time, the model spun freely immediately. If anything, it was too loose, but true to its great design, would not come apart.

A print switching the "Outer Wall Inset" to 0, resulted in a model I had to break apart, and after doing so would not spin freely.

Currently printing "Outer Wall Inset" at 0.1, and I expect it to be best. I'm not sure if I'll want to try 0.05...

A great model for this testing!

Thanks for your suggestions. First print at size provided too tight, no clearance. Scaled to 150%, 0.2mm height, 210 degrees, 120%speed, outer wall inset 0.1mm, outer wall before inner, raft.
All parts free and easy, a little loose, but ok.
Aldi Cocoon Create, Cura.

Printed 6-cog version, Cura 3.2.1, Anet A8, hadn't read comments about avoiding "elephant foot" - was quite difficult to break loose, and doesn't really "spin", though it turns. As somewhat of a math geek I found it takes 10 turns for gears to return to original location, haha.

Thanks for a very interesting project! I bet with a little fiddling this would work fine, but with 608 bearings going for <50 cents US I'm going with that idea...

I just wanted to ask, how do we put these gears together? I spent a lot of effort and found that I could load up to 4 gears. . .

wait.. did you seriously print these gears apart from eachother? I mean it's no problem, but have you read the description?

This prints as 1 piece, there is no assembly (you in fact can not assemble this)

when using the customizer to get a version with some more clearence, I get this error on the jobs in the queue
: #<RuntimeError: Failed to get https://www.thingiverse.com/download:139821 403: Forbidden>.

Going to the mentioned URL gives me the scad-script for me to tinker with myself.. Is the customizer broken, or the script.?

customizer is just online version of openScad
step 1) download www.openscad.org
step 2) download scad file from your failed download link
step 3) customize scad in OpenScad and export STL file.


how to customize it ? do you have any tutorial how to make gear bearing ? i need the outer diameter to be 16mm. id 8

I haven't gotten anything to work in customizer for a while, I get similar errors.

Which is to say, I think it's a customizer issue. There's some talk of it here:

Really cool design, thank you!

I made 5 star, no customization on Monoprrice Select V2. Has some play, does not need loosening and spins with no efforts. Main thing is to do two changes in the slicer:
Outer shell print first - ensures dimensional accuracy.
-0.2 offset on first layer - reduce elephant foot effect (credit to billbo1958 for pointing out).

If you dont set 'outer shell prints first' which is disabled by default, at least in Cura 3 slightest over-extrusion will make print wider causing blockage.When outer shell is first all extra filament expands inside the object keeping dimensions right even if your extruder calibration, filament size and flow rate are not perfect.

Could you please clarify the "-0.2 offset on the first layer" please?

I'm using Cura, and doing a search only "Infill {x|y} offset" are available.

I will print it with RAFTING to see if that helps.

/Stock Anet A8

With raft it would not matter.

But if you print without it then it is "Initial layer expansion" setting that you need to have at -0.2

Oh! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and the details!

I had searched CURA for "offset" not "Expansion". That solved it! Yay

If you use a drill to loosen it - run it very slowly to start

Flashforge Finder, finest setting, raft base to prevent problem with the first layer. The raft was easily removed and everything spun freely without any post processing. A quite big gap between the gears so sometime i will try to figure out how to shrink that in the model before printing. Used 10% infill and its surprisingly strong! Printed the 6 gear version. I'm newbie in fiddling with 3D creation software - is it easy to modify the center hole to any other dimension?

I printed both the 5 and 6-gear versions on my Anycubic Kossel (pulley version w/heated bed). Both printed fine, but the 5-gear version spins more freely than the 6-gear version. I used 0.2 layer height, 40 mm/sec speed, with a 0.4 nozzle. My slicer is Cura 3.1. My setting for 'horizontal expansion' was 0 for all layers except for the first layer, which had the horizontal expansion set to -0.2. (The negative value insures that there would be no 'elephant foot' effect that could bind all of the gears together at the first layer. Some of you that are having trouble making this work might want to try that same adjustment.) Even though both of my prints spin freely, the gears initially had some binding when I pulled the prints off the build plate. I freed the gears by inserting a hex key into the center, and basically oscillating it clockwise and counterclockwise until the gears were free. After they were free, a few drops of oil made them turn more smoothly. Congratulations and thanks to emmett for this wonderful design.

Didn't work at all, It broke before we could break it apart! Don't Print!!!

What slicer?
What settings?
What printer?

I ask because most people are successful, and not being successful is something we can all learn from, by supplying details.

Best fidget spinner, ever!

Printed in PLA with Cura, 30% infill.
.4mm nozzle at .3mm layer height.
The center hole got destroyed when I attempted to unlock. Completely useless.

PLA with Cura, 10% fill lines, scaled 1.5X
80% flow !!!! (give less sticky assembly)

it took me 5 secondes to unlock...
i love it !!!
thanks Emmett !

the video :

thank you so much for 80% advice!
finally it works with 0.3 tolerance and 80% flow!

Printed the 6 cog with 15% infill @210 degrees temperature, but the gears stuck together

I printed a few of these from the Prusa packaged sd card. They show off 3d printing very well. I did a multimaterial one, but had to smash it with a hammer to get it to work. I'm sure it was the dodgy pla, not the pattern :)

I'm really impressed.

Printed the 6 cog and it works great. Spins almost as good as some of my fidget spinners with 608 bearings.

I printed the 6 cog version with Makergeek Crystal PLA. 3 shells 25% infill. I had some stringing issues early on and turned the heat down after the few layers. Once the print was complete, my first impression is it was hopelessly one solid block. After some fiddling with a screw driver, I managed to get the gears to move. But in the process I seem to have split about 1/4" off one of the gears. I think the model might benefit from greater tolerances between. Scaling it larger may be a quick and dirty way to achieve that.

The reason for using this over a fully printed ball bearing is that the balls print poorly. Now this might have something to do with the fact that I always use a layer height of .05, but I've printed this https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:252694 in 608ZZ scale and the balls come out great. I think the only reason it doesn't work yet is that it was too small and my method of freeing it up wasn't effective. I printed this in 608ZZ scale and it didn't even remotely work. Now I'm going to have to try this, https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2317598, but as of now it was a worse fail than a ball bearing.

Ball Bearing (print in place)
by Rotten
608z Gear Bearing

Having an issue with the customizer. It keeps throwing in a random layer at right above the text. How can I fix this?

I am looking for one that is
Using the following options:

number_of_teeth_on_planets = 7
number_of_planets = 7
w = 8
nTwist = 1
P = 45
T = 15
D = 54.2
tol = 0.15
approximate_number_of_teeth_on_sun = 20

I have attached a photo of the problem layer and the one before it.


Would this work for a fidget spinner? Everyone I know that knows I have a printer wants one.

it is pretty big but I guess it would work for a spinner

I just printed one of these with red ABS and it came out great! Two opposing gears had to be "pushed" as they were locked into the outside, but they came away clean with a little "snick!" I'm switching from the blue-tape to a borosilicate glass bed over the next few days, so we'll see how that works. I haven't tried PLA yet, as I'm just learning (this is my third print on the FlashForge Creative Pro) but soon!

Would it be challenging to print the the outside and center with a different filament using dual extrusion? I have SImplify3D, but I'm not sure if I'd need to open it up into something else first? FreeCAD?

Printed 7 of these in the following way on my Makergear M2:

1 Orange eSun PLA - works well
2 Red Solutech PLA - work well
1 Red Solutech PLA - works poorly
2 Blue Solutech PLA - fused solid
1 Solutech White ABS - fused solid

Not printing any more right now unless I can figure out how to get better results.

Just realized the files were updated... trying a new print with the new files. Will post results

I must have some setting wrong... from what the print looked like, it was going to work. But when I pulled it off, it was fused SOLID. :-( Resolution: .2mm... Temp: 200... Speed: 25mm/s... Base and top Thickness: 1.4mm... I did reduce the size to 54mm in diameter to fit my spool, wonder if that screwed up the tolerances.

yeah its already super tight so making it smaller in a slicer will not work

so in theory making it larger should make it more likely to work?
Having some issues printing any moving parts that arent fused solidly together.

Anybody else learning openscad because of this bearing?

I'm trying to do the quick-print, single wall version of it, but a little more elegant than the one by Whosawhatis on youmagine. Well done emmett, you've got me hooked on drawing with code.

That makes me so happy! The bevel gear library this is based on is what inspired me to learn OpenSCAD originally.

Very nice code! I think I`m going to learn OpenSCAD too because of this. And thanks for sharing, you definitely deserve a TIP.

Wow this is such a cool print! Thanks for posting! Took me several tries to get it right since the first 3 prints were completely fused together despite aggressive attempts to break them free. I almost gave up on the design. I'm printing on an ebay "upgraded prusia I3" with PLA. had to drop the print temperature down to 190 degrees rather than the 200 I usually print on and lower extrusion percent down to 97%. I used 0.2 clearance in the customizer and used cura to slice. This resulted in a bearing that has absolutely no horizontal give but turns smoothly once broken loose. So cool!

Comments deleted.

Using a Wanhao Dup i3. Took me several iterations to get this working right off the print bed in PLA. Ultimately, I customized to .3mm tolerance and printed 105% with .3mm layers and .8mm shell, top and bottom. This gave me a very nice looking print with very little play in the gears. Slight twist and crack when done and it was rolling. May work back from these settings to try and tighten it up a bit further, but very pleased with it at this point.

it all was stuck together for mine I did everything to try to fix it from chiseling to soaking in hot water

it all was stuck together for mine I did everything to try to fix it from chiseling to soaking in hot water

The first time I made this I accidentally had the material set to 2.85 mm PLA instead of 1.75 PLA so none of the ends were covered and the resolution was low but somehow it still came out amazing. It spins freely and is fun to play with. I am going to print it again with the right size filament this time.

Comments deleted.

i want to print it but i need to put it in inventor so what are the values

Comments deleted.

IM Pressive!
love the app!

IM Pressive!
love the app!

Comments deleted.

Has anyone tried this in nylon? It sounds like a few overlaps are expected, but in nylon even a few lock up the gears beyond rescue. What tolerance? I'm afraid that if I raise the tolerance much more the gears are going to be to loose to to provide planar stability (which seems to be the case when I print gears individually that I can manage to snap into place)

The magic formula for the tolerance in customizer seems to be the nozzle diameter divided by 2. 0.25 tolerance with a 0.5 mm nozzle made a part that took little force to rotate. I am using this as an example of new possibilities in a 3D printing class.

This is what I've found as well. My FlashForge has no trouble with this at .2mm layer resolution, half the nozzle diameter, but at 0.1mm the bearing is perpetually locked.

My printer is always printing a 0.1mm layer height. While I did have to tweak the individual flow settings to fix the blobs on the first print, the only thing I change from print to print is the nozzle diameter. It may seem counter-intuitive, but I never have any problems with layer separation.

IDK in customizer, in Scad i had great results with:
tol=0.15;// clearance
on a .4 nozzle (also at 0.1 dZ) which would be a bit below your .5 ratio ... but i "break in" the gearbox with a cordless drill and a 6mm allen bit. slow at first then faster, without going overboard after a few secs the rougher parts (retraction blobs, strings) get warm and blended in (or maybe roughed out?).
it's amazing how smooth it moves without any lube.

I really like this model. Used it to showcase 3DP to my boss and a few co-workers. All of them reacted as if it was some kind of magic.

Printed the five bearing one on my Ultimaker 2 with Ultimaker PLA @ 210°c, 0,1mm layer hight. Printed with brim for extra adhesion which was probably unnecessary and made for a really tedious cleaning process. Works great though.

It took me three tries to get this right - using an Ultimaker 2. Finally, the cogs all worked freely after printing at 50% speed and 195 degrees (rather than the normal 210 for PLA). So the answer seems to be - slow the printing down, and print somewhat cooler than normal. I didn't have to use hammers or any other mechanical help. I was able to free all the cogs just using light pressure from my fingers. It's a nifty design

I also pulled this off using the .25 mm nozzle that comes with the Ultimaker 2+. In this case, I did not have to adjust for speed or temperature. It printed at the normal PLA settings and worked with about 10 seconds massaging with my fingers when it came off the print plate. What more can I say?

I printed the bearing5 and it doesnt turn any tips?

I printed bearing_6 and it doesn't turn. I am trying to print bearing_5


  • Scale is up to for example 125% (worked for me)
  • Load it into openscad, increase the "tol" value to 0.2 or 0.25, then press F5 to preview, and F6 to render, save as -> STL
  • Have good filament, I used the silver/grey PLA that Prusa supplies with its printers

Printed on my FlashForge Creator Pro really quite nicely. Used Hatchbox blue PLA at 30mm/s and with 35% infill. It's got a few places where there's some resistance, which is probably down to calibration, so I'm switching up some settings and checking the leveling to do it again.

First: THANK YOU SO MUCH for this beautiful model! I love it!!! And I'm using it for fine tuning my printer clearance, after printing my clearance test object (Thing 1523887).
Second: I'm having problems with OpenSCAD. I can load your source, I can change parameters and I can correctly see results with F5 (preview). But when I try to export to STL or press F6 to render the model it takes ages and then (everytime at 444 of 1000) it crashes and closes. :'( I'm using OpenScad 2015.03-2 64 bit on Windows 8.1. the strange thing is that I can customize the object with Thingiverse customizer and create a thing (I did in this way to download a printable object).
I have some OpenScad of my objects that renders correctly, strange!
I'm I the only one in the world with this problem? :( Any point?

Not sure if you figured this out or not, but i got around this with the latest development release of SCAD.

Very good design .. I print 1/8 micro version .. see it ;)

What fun! Tried one at 100% on a Robo3D+ and PLA, but it wasn't much. Then I enlarged the model to 150% with Simplify3D (3 layers top, bottom, & sides -- 35% infill -- about 4 hours at the medium setting) and it turned out great. A few taps with a little brass hammer to break it off my build surface and the thing turned perfectly with no additional persuasion required. :-)

What's the best way to control/calculate the ratio produced by this generator?

Well, I tried to print it on my Prusa i3 and it went horribly. I don't know, why, every other thing I printed was great, but when I was printing this, the extruder somehow went nuts and started superoverextruding while infilling the first layer. It made blobs all over the printing place, so next layer bumped into these and stopped. Do you have any idea why?

I also noticed this with Slic3r, it happens when I enforce a specific perimeter width. If I leave it at 0 (auto), it is OK. The latest releases from the Prusa3D Slic3r fork no longer have this bug.

Yeah, things changed since then. We upgraded to the latest model and now it works just like it should.

I'm having this problem now. Slic3r says it is on the latest version 1.2.9. I'm not sure where "permeter width" is in the settings. Is it "vertical shells"? It says 3 is minimum for that. Any suggestions?

Hmm... just tried to print on my Prusa i3, and I had EXACTLY the same experiences as yourself; overextruding the first layer, made blobs all over..., next layer bumped into these and dislodged the first layer. I, too, have no idea why this should happen.

I think that I will try to print one twice the size and half the speed and see what happens.

I had the same problem. I was using slic3r it seems to be some issue with the slicer not correctly handling the model correctly. I can see it in the preview, there is infill showing on the outside of the model.

I can change my print quality and get it to print correctly, I seem to need to increase the number of vertical shell perimeters, if there are too few, then the infill spills out of the model.

Printed this (default as downloaded) 3 months ago on default electron 3d prusa i3. The thing came out all fused together. No way to turn it. Two months later, after a lot of tuning and tweeking to 3D printer, the part (still default as downloaded) came out perfectly. First i thought it was fused again, but when I used power drill to brake it, it turned. I never thought I would be able to tune and tweek my cheap printer so it could print inside the default tolerances.

Hi Emmett,

Love your gears!

I was wondering if there is away that you can make the inside hexagon a square that fits over 2020 aluminum. I would think that would make the inside gears smaller so I'm not sure even if its feasible.

thanks Paul

I have printed the 6 gear (bearing6.stl) version 5 different times on my Ultimaker 2 Extended. I have never customized the the file at all. Using the silver PLA material that came with the printer resulted in a part that would not turn freely, but could be loosened with considerable work, by striking it repeatedly about the circumference of the ring gear with a wooden malley on a hard wood surface. Patience and perseverance were the key here, When it finally broke loose it took some work first with an allen wrench by hand and then with a cordless drill. Soft Scrub liquid cleanser really turned it into a working part. The result was a bearing with little or no end play and a smooth operation. That said, two of the parts were made using PLA from two other sources SHAXON and MatterHackers that produced loose to very loose assemblies right off of the printer bed using exactly the same gcode file. It appears that the material selected has a significant impact on the final result. Perhaps it's a difference in shrinkage?

Printed on a Monoprice Maker Select. The gears would not come unstuck, and I'm pretty sure I've already worn down the hole as any hex tool I used keeps slipping. I'll try printing another one later.
EDIT:I really want to get it working, as printing moving objects as a single model fascinates me, and this is my first attempt at one.
EDIT 2: Seems like my print, along with the raft, curled up ever so slightly. Maybe that's why the gears won't unstick?

We're using the same one and had the same problem. Printed with a brim... did you ever figure out what needed to happen?

I too am looking for a file I can open in SolidWorks? Is there one available?

Printed one on my no-name Prusa i3. Default "6" model (i.e. not customized, still your 0.15 mm tolerance), 0.2 mm layer height, with ABS. Had to roll it on the desk, pressing down kinda hard with my palm to break it loose, but once it came loose it was able to rotate. A couple minutes spinning it with a drill (not at max speed, either) and it spins just about as freely as a bearing should (still a couple of sticking spots that need to be knocked down). There's maybe 1 mm of axial "play" in the gears.

Just starting out with a Printrbot Simple. PLA for now.
Emmett, I don't understand the settings.
First print stuck to stage with blue painter's tape. Destroyed gear on removal. Tried Al foil under tape, rounded the bottom. Glue on
Blue tape had an unknown error.
I was trying setting 0.06mm for layer height. 15% fill density. I thought about trying a raft on next print. Print speed 45 mm/s, total print time is almost 11 hours. What is wrong with these settings? Where is tolerance set?

update: Printed successfully using Raft, layer height 0.1984mm which was default, and 15% fill density. 4 hour print time. Note: to break gears free, push ea gear parallel to axis of rotation. There is a small amount of play that allows to break each gear free. Start with center first. Much less force needed than trying to rotate gears.

any chance there is a CAD file available I can open in solidworks?

Just wanted to let folks know --- this is a good challenge for knowing if your printer works right. I spent a couple of days trying to do this, followed by about a week or two printing whistles, until they came out perfect. Then, back to this again and got a perfect build -- didn't have to break anything free or anything at all. FlashForge Creator Pro with Kapton tape -- Sli3r was used for slicing. Using Sli3r seems to be the big difference on whether something works or not.

I like it. Printed in taulman Bridge and this bearing feels indestructible

What settings did you use? I did one with Bridge and even a little slop during printing fused the bearings beyond survival

Very cool. Just printed this on an xyzprinting da Vinci 1.0 Jr. First time with the default 0.15 tolerance it was too tight and my son and I destroyed it trying to free it. We give it a second go with a 0.25 tolerance and it came out perfect. We were able to free it with a little bit of torque from an allen wrench.

i did the exact same thing, use toothpaste to loosen it

Comments deleted.

Just finished building my Folgertech Prusa I3 a few days ago. I've only printed about 5 parts and wanted to try something more complex. I am thoroughly impressed with the design of this gear set. My machine printed it in about 3 hours and it turned out perfectly. Thanks Emmet for posting this!

It just bothers me because I've printed this on two different printers. Both entirely different and over a long period of time. In the first print I thought it was because my printer wasn't accurate enough (that was with a printerbot simple I bought back in 2013, when they were still made of wood). Now I open this print up again on my lulzbot taz 5 and realize its designed for aggravation. Way too little tolerance. I realize I can jump into customizer and figure it out there but honestly the default download should be good for most printers. Super cool print with horrible execution. The difference between this and great execution is really small and its just sad to see this happen because I've never had this issue with any other prints.

Well, it prints great on my printers (Makerbot and Printrbot), as it does for many of the others who have commented here. This is a difficult test of printer calibration, and those who have been successful have worked hard for it. It's hard to make a desktop 3D printer respect a 0.2mm gap, but it is possible. I'm working toward a time when all 3D printers come calibrated accurately enough to do this out of the box, but that day is not quite here yet. Without tough tests, we'll never get there.

Just a thought: would it be possible to print the outer ring as two mirrored half-rings, print the gears separately, set the gears in place in one half-ring, then twist the other half in place?

Yes, totally possible. It's a little like what I did for this gearbox: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:59075

Differential Planetary Gearset
by emmett

Genius concept. I printed the stock #5 one without any adjustments and can see the potential for bearing a load, however what I need it for is for smooth free movement...well I was disappointed with my first print - probably my fault, but the tolerances are WAY too tight. I almost couldn't get it broken loose at all. with the help of some vice-grips and a 1/4 Allen wrench, it finally broke free. I will have to tinker around with the customizer or design one myself from scratch for my purposes. I probably should have sifted through all of the comments first, but I wanted to see it for myself. Genius concept - THANKS!

Awesome! Printed this and it worked the first time I printed it after I broke it loose with a wrench. Worked great until I hooked it to a drill whereupon it exploded into the individual pieces. However, considering the amount of stress it was under and the fact that I printed it in PLA I have to say that I was very much impressed. Epic design.

Emmett did a great job on this gear. I printed three of them. One in PLA, one in ABS and one in Taulman Nylon 618. Very cool stuff. The PLA was printed at the default settings as in the SCAD file. ABS needed the clearance set to 0.2mm, and the nylon needed 0.25 (minimum). All three printed beautifully and work very well, although the nylon should probably use 0.3 for clearance as it is a bit snug, showing zero play between any of the gears and it broke loose very easily when turned. All prints used a .4mm E3D nozzle in my Hexagon hot-end and were sliced & printed with Simplify3D v3.02. All filament was 1.75mm. I used Elmer's Xtreme Glue Stick for the bed adhesion.

My general settings were...
PLA: clearance: 0.15, 2400 mm/min print speed, layer height: .2043 mm, extruder: 220C, bed: 60C, 20% infill
ABS: clearance: 0.20, layer: .2043, extruder to 235C, bed to 110C, 20% infill
Nylon: clearance: 0.25, layer: .2043, extruder to 240C, bed to 60C , 20% infill

I'm trying to use the Thingiverse Customizer to change the tolerance. It processes for a couple minutes then gives me a JSON error about octets. All I'm changing is the tolerance from 0.15 to 0.1. Anyone know how to fix?

I've rewritten the source code for this and added a few options to the customizer.

-PRECISION: A setting to adjust the complexity (number of vertices) to get the most finely detailed model your system can support.
-HONEYCOMB InFill: I've added a customizable HoneyComb InFill to each gear and the outer ring.
(This may be turned off or adjusted for strong or weaker internal support.)

In accordance with the licensing I've shared it here http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:968011
You can edit it directly here: http://www.thingiverse.com/apps/customizer/run?thing_id=968011

Thank you so very much for the original Emmett!

Herringbone Planetary Gear/Bearing (Optional HoneyComb) (Customizable)

Thank you; nice to see more deep work in the SCAD code.

Comments deleted.

I would like to make this into a larger (60mm or so bearing) with a large internal hub and smaller planets to improve the load charachteristics, I have access to a mojo that i think can handle the print, however when I make the modifications in open SCAD and export the stl file I get a bunch of weird triangles in the export when the model gets more complicated.

Anyone else send this and/or knows how to fix?

Thanks for the wonderful model.

This is probably my favorite 3d design here. It's functional and suits 3d printing really well. There are some obvious uses, but it can be adapted to a couple of non-obvious use cases as well...

I am unable to get mines to print. The gears just print to close together.
Im using cura and i dont know how to adjust it.
Got a prusa i3 z605.

I've printed this a few times now on my MakerFarm Prusa i3. The first attempt, with tolerance at 0.15 was too tight, but printing at 0.25 tolerance allowed it to rotate straight off the print be.

hello. what tolearance are you talking about? where do you adjust it?

mine came out with too much loose space between the part.. :/ i was wondering what i could adjust to fix that..

tks in advance o/

When you 'open in customizer', you can adjust 'Tol clearance'. In your case, is sounds like you want to lower the value from the 0.15 default.

very cool! I printed one last night on my UMO. thank you for making this design available!

Printed on a Makerbot 2 with 0.3mm tolerance for first run. Spins freely right off the build plate. A tad loose but I expected that at 0.3mm. I'm now going to try a 0.15mm with thin layers overnight.

How small could this be printed and still expected to work under... lets say .5kg?

Awesome base for some cool toys for my colleagues and my daughter! good job!

This is a great design and SCAD code. I had to increase clearance to .7 for it to spin freely right off the printer. (My machine is a little sloppy).

Great Work!


Is it possible to set the inner diameter as well?

I added base mounting flange, reduced size to 45x10 [gears are tight] and increased clearance tol=0.20;

I wanted to see how it would print on the Behemoth. The only way it can be made is on a 3d printer. It can’t be assembled or dissambled (at least without breaking it). It printed great and it was very easy to break the gears free and start rotating it.

Worked perfectly on first print. Using Ultimaker 2. Cura "High Quality" setting upping infill to 50% thanks to the tip from apullin. Able to break gears free with just finger pressure. Thank you for the great design!

Same here. Love the Ultimaker 2, such good quality, so easily.

The edges can have some rough parts on them that you will feel when turning it (After loosening it up). If you feel some resistance when doing a full revolution, then back up to that point and look carefully for any small irregularites where the parts touch. Chipping of these usually results in the bearing spinning freely. Mine spins around three times now when given a light spin. Pretty much what a real bearing does.

What is the optimal infill for this?

Default config printed nicely on Ultimaker2. PLA, default settings, default "high quality build" in Cura.
The gears were a little sparse internally. I might recommend increasing the infill or wall thickness by 30% from the default "high quality".

Had to use an allen key to break the gears free, but it took only a small torque to do so.

Printed in ABS. Gears stuck together, but brute force solved the problem. Just crack it apart with a hex key. Used a drill with a long hex bit to spin the bearing at pretty high speed to loosen it up. Run it for a minute in both directions and it will loosen up and spin more freely. Use safety googles ang gloves in case things go horribly wrong. A bit of oil wont hurt either.

Either you are in the workshop or in the bedroom, a bit of well applied force and lubrication will usually get the job done.

Great thing!

Using the Velleman K8200 printer and Slic3r, my first one (PLA) was terribly fused together. After giving it another shot, I discovered, zooming close at the g-code preview that the Slic3r software was fusing/bridging the gears to the outside ring where they came close. I tried downloading KISSlicer with these settings here (except 190 degrees C for the extruder and 50C for the bed) :
and got a much more sensible slice. It made sharper corners on the gears by ending the extrude at the points of the gears, rather than wrapping around. The settings ran the fan on the perimeters, I don't know if this helped the details stay sharp. I made one at a .3mm layer height, and also at a .21mm layer height, and both performed identically.

The parts would come unstuck using a 1/4" allen wrench. The same wrench fits in the magnetic bit holder for the drill, and like the designer said, running it for a minute or two in the drill smooths out a lot of the initial lumpiness in the movement.

Glad I got this to work! the initial failure had cast some doubts about the printer's capabilities. Thanks Emmet!

this works well with .4 and 15% infill

Dear Emmet
Currently I'm designing a passive walking robot for 3D printing. For this robot I need a a rotary part as a "hip". Your gear bearing would fit perfectly as it seems to have little or no clearence. For my use, I'd have to make some changes in the design, such that I can connect it to the rest of the robot.
Therefore I'm asking you, if you could send me a part- or a step-file of your bearing? It would be very helpful for my further work and I would be very grateful. If you want to contact me, my mail adress is as follows: modae236@gmail.com

Awesome, go for it. However, there is no part or step file. I designed this in OpenSCAD, and the .scad file is the source code (available in the downloads section). You're welcome to modify it, but you may need to look up how to use OpenSCAD (at least it's free).

What effect does the number of planets have on the bearing?
What would the benefit of changing the number be?

Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Printed this one and it was pretty much fused together or so it was seem and I at least couldn't get it spinning without destroying it. Printed another version from someone else here and it was so loose the gears almost fell out. I'm baffled, especially since I've printed other very close tolerance one piece hinges and alike with no issues at all.

That's cool, I'm always glad to see people making use of my designs and showing proper attribution. Thanks for the link.

I have printed it firstly on an Ultimaker 2 with the provided settings which caused a nearly impossible friction to move the gears. A second print with only 1 perimeter (shell thickness 0.4 mm) and 20% infill overlap (in expert settings) worked better. An electric screw driver helped a lot loosening the parts to get them moving.

Amazing thing! Really awesome!
First print failed spectacularily at 200 degrees and 1.0 extrusion. Gears fused to outer rim.
Second try: lowered to 180 degrees, extrusion to 0.85. Perfect result. Used bearing5.stl

was this your original idea? If it is, it is absolutely brilliant! What an innovation!

hmm, would it be possible to create sinusoidal herringbone pattern instead of triangle ? it would allow smaller 'overhang'

I agree this would be awesome! A variable helix angle. A semicircular shape would probably mesh better than a V shape.

Another crazy idea would be to add a throat to the gear so that the planets were enveloped by the sun and ring gears.

What I really want to see is someone take this design and make it self aligning, not really sure if this is possible.

hello everybody,
I have a problem. I have a lot of points or small filaments on my parts.
I thinks, I can't find good settings can you help me?

What printer do you have?

First off, I love this bearing! The possible applications are endless! Now, my question. What would it take to change the center hole from a hexagon to a circle? I dug through the source code, but I'm not skilled at all in coding, so I couldn't find it.

very late but remote the bit that says:


on line 50

I am not familiar with OpenSCAD yet, but I think you always can make center whole 0 size, save stl, import stl into Blender and create hole with required size there.

I printed one with a PrintrBot Simple Maker. 0.25 tolerance, half thick and size/1.5, 4 planets. My printer is yet not printing fully calibrated circles, so it moves, but not that smoothly (still it is amazing).

Really? Do you have the model? I would like to know the exact info and it would be easiest if I could just download the model...

I wouldn't want to upload the STL model to my github (it is too big, it clutters my repository). You can download the .scad from my github repository:


You'll also need: https://github.com/josea/3dmake/blob/master/Hex.scad

Put them in a the folder and use OpenSCAD (http://www.openscad.org/) to open and export to STL.

printed a couple of these on my 2x in abs but they're much too tight / melted to operate. i tried increasing layer tolerance to 0.3 and printing at 110% scale. any advice? how about a modified STL with smaller gears? :)

how do you all get this thing to work? mine was completely stuck, i broke it apart and the planets were fused to the outer ring like as if they were supposed to... can't break them apart with my hands. i made it in 0,2mm layer height in white PLA

Mine too. Maybe PLA isn't the right material for this.

By changing the tolerance to my layer height (0.3), I got it to work with my printrbot simple.

Good job, I like it !

These also make awesome wheels for toys!

Dumb question from a noob but, what part does this replace on the 8200?

This Thing(tm) is amazing ! the design is simply genious !
I printed it on my makerbot 2 in PLA with default settings in makerware. 10% infill, 2 shells, 200um layer height.
The clearance is perfect, i could gently loosen it, and after adding some WD40 and using it on a drill for a minute, it now runs very smooth.

Hi Emmet,
sorry but it doesn't work... the parts stick together.
How can I solve this problem?

go into customizer and increase the tolerance setting. that will increase the spacing between all of the parts. you might have to play with that setting a bit to get the perfect fit.

Hi atartanian.
Thanks!!!! Because of your help I made some nice gear bearings.
now a can also make other things that woudn't work for me.
i can not thank you enough!

Thanks for your help. I appreciate it !
I will try and let you know.

I finally got this working on my Printrbot jr. The problem was I was using Repetire-Host Mac 0.56 which comes with version 0.99 Slice3r. This version of Slice3r has a bug which attaches the small gears to the outer gear. I installed Slice3r V1.0 separately, changed preferences in Repetire to use the new Slice3r and now it works. I set fill density to 1 and Solid infill every 1 layers, combine infill every 1 layers, Extrusion multiplier .7

Excellent! This is the first successful object with moving parts that I have been able to print on my newly constructed Reprappro Omerod. Printing at a tolerance of 0.15mm I did not think would free up, so I tried it at 0.4mm which was too loose but worked straight away. Subsequently with a bit of persuasion freed up but was a bit bumpy. I'm now going for 0.24mm. Thank you for posting this Thing.

Hey, awesome job on the design! I have a leapfrog creatr and was wondering if anyone had figured out the perfect customization settings for that printer???? Any help would be much appreciated

Hi, congratulations to this wunderfull design. I wanted to print it immediately when I saw it first time. I got the same problems like many others. Sticked together. Some time later I tested another slicer and had some very good results on other parts. When I tested the slicer with your gear, The first print was even to perfect! The gears where so lose, they nearly fell out. When turning the thing, they stuck because of to lose tolerance. I used customizer to adjust tollerance. But still the part was to lose. I was thinking that this happens because of shrink of my PLA. Therefore I made the hexagonal hole smaler, the tolerance even smaller 0.5 and the wall thinknes thicker. But now again, they stick together. I made another test but then the printer itselfe stuck while printing an fall on the part. Do you have a Idea if this may happened because of the customizing. Do you have a Idea why the first test with the new slicer where to lose?

Sorry to ask something like this, but how can I remove the monogram. I am trying to print a very small bearing and the monogram is cutting in the wall.

Got it printed in Nylon, actually my mod of your gear. printed pretty well. Not as clean as abs, but still good. Nylon == major butt pain

I've been trying to print this in Nylon. Have you ever tried it? I'm having trouble with strings and blobs.

Awesome, first thing I printed on our new Replicator 2X - high res works out of the box!

Very nice model. I gave it a try today but unfortunately I'm afraid my printer's resolution is too low to print it in the original scale in such a way that it works properly. It took me quite a while to free all the parts so they could move and once I managed to do that, imperfections created so much friction that it is really hard to spin. I believe this would work much better if the model had some tolerances added.

It does have tolerances, and better yet, they're adjustable in Customizer. So widen them up and go to town! I make these adjustable because the printers are all so different it's impossible to make one design work properly on all.

I see. I will probably give it another go one of these days, then.

Made this on mt CUBE in PLA. Easy print! Planetaries were loose and working as I removed it from the print stage.

NICE!! Really like, THANKS!!!

I'm planning to print this on my new FlashForge (I've been a 3D printer for nearly THREE WHOLE DAYS now!). But given how slow the printing is, I'm wondering if anyone has a generic profile that might optimise my chance of printing one that goes round 'n round at the first go? I'm all for trial and error but less enthusiastic about re-inventing wheels!

Calibrate, calibrate, calibrate. Even two printers from the same company that ship at the same time could have subtle differences, and so too with the filament. Print out some test pieces and make sure you're all good, and then print out more tricky stuff. When you calibrate your machine well, and run slower to avoid wiggling your setup, the results are usually quite good on the first try -- but you have to get those calibrations done well first and foremost.

Many thanks - I'm discovering that the hard way! I also put the anti-vibration feet under my machine and it looks a bit like the Titanic at the moment of impact; this bothers me!

hi i have a question. i used slicer but found out that it presumes that the planets and teh inner and outer ring are one piece so i always have to crack it and that results in hard to turn gear. Any suggestions?

Yeah, if you scroll down there are lot of comments about this. The short answer is use a better slicer. Many are available.

I am trying this on my Afina Type H. This is quite brilliant. You have a gift for design. I look forward to your new ideas.

I'm an trying this on my Afina type H, 200um layer, high res. This is a brilliant design. I look forward to seeing how it turns out in an hour.

Hey Emmet,

I would like to incorporate your design in a project I'm building (for private use only). However it will require me to modify your design (specifically add a Y carrier...). Is it possible to get a .par file instead of the .stl?


Go for it. This was designed in OpenSCAD, so what's available for download is my .scad file. It's just ASCII text. This is also what runs the Customizer app. I highly recommend you look into this free program, as you could easily make the modifications you're referring to there. I don't even know what a .par file is, and I have no ability to generate one.

What a gorgeous piece of design. Great to see that it's cc-by-sa.

Every time I try this (or anything requiring tolerance), the parts print fused solidly together. Can anyone recommend what profile settings I should tweak to make this work? I really like this and the adjustable wrench but I always end up with one solid piece on my Replicator

On my Replicator Dual I used the profile available to download in http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:23030http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... if you give it a try and the parts still fuse together, you can try to cheat and play with the filament diameter increasing the value in 0.05mm should make a big difference.

Tiny Planetary Gears Set
by aubenc

Awesome design emmett!

I'm going to buy a 3D printer in the coming months, and the first thing I plan on doing is using this design to create a stabilizer for my coffee grinder.

The key question is, how small can you print this? For example, could you print this with the outer diameter of the ring being 25 or 30mm?

The answer is "quite small", you can print it smaller than the sizes you are asking for. The diameter for this one http://www.thingiverse.com/make:25844http://www.thingiverse.com/mak... is 22mm

Gear Bearing
by aubenc

try it and tell us.

It is an incredible piece. I use it to explain the wonders of 3D printing to my friends. They have a hard time understanding the fact that is printed assembled.

Fantastic design. Kudos!

Well done Emmett! Just made it on my Flashforge Creator, and it works well.

Has anybody tried using this as an idler bearing on a printer?

My girlfriend likes this bearings very much as a decoration because of the aesthe...aests..., well they actually look good. I said, "hey, we will get you into this mechanical engineering thing. The mathematical side can wait." Next object I print will be a gearbox with a geneva wheel...

Awesome design! The success of these gear speaks for itself. That being said, does anyone have good/tight settings for printing this on a replicator2? I have printed 4 and each one seems to have the same problem. It rotates fine for the most part but then it reaches a point where it gets really tight and it takes alot more torque to finish the rotation, making it unusable for hobby-grade servos & track setups. I am more than sure that this issue is related to the print settings, but I have done enough wasteful experimenting with no workable results.

Current Setup -
RepG 40r22-sailfish w/ 7.5
Using Skeinforge(50)
Infill - 15
Layer Height - .27mm
Shells - 1
Feed - 80
Travel - 150
Temp - 235

Plastic/Extrude - 1.75/0.4

Try slowing down your prints. If you have backlash problems, you can develop high-spots. Try lowering your travel of 150 to 90.

Also, if you run the bearing long enough, even the high spots will tend to wear away -- you might just need to spin it for a an extra while.

Do you have any bevel gears? that are customizable how would you make these?

Check out the ancestor of this thing by GregFrost (above). His bevel gear library was what got me started on my cube gears. You'll have to learn a little OpenSCAD, but it's well worth the effort.

Thanks emmett i'm on that right now

very nice, but as with printing any pre-assembled moving parts, i'm concerned about calibration to get reasonable tolerance, seems like its generally always going to be a bit hit and miss, unless you can post-tighten.

for this bearing , have you considered doing something like making the outside ring slightly opened out, 'c' shaped, with a small gap, (and with the planet gears printed slightly further apart) so that after printing you close the gap, tightening the whole thing, which could then be held closed by a some sort of clip on the end, or just by whatever you mount the bearing into. (possibly a generic bearing holder or pipe clip.)

Have you tried? A lot of people have made it work (see the Made section). If you look back through the remixes, someone made an assemble-able version, so you could try that, though I'm not sure it's any easier.

No, i'm really thinking in a general sense and of pre-assembled systems, what i meant above is for there to be only a very small gap, not big enough to generally exploit for assembly, just to improve the tolerance without the chance of the parts being too stuck together. (although your bearing has set me thinking of specific uses).

there is also another possible way to achieve close tolerance; using tapering parts, so that they can be slightly displaced from their working position, and so more easily printed due to an increased gap, then finally moved into close spacing by some small more easily/externally accessible change.

Feature request: Can we get a checkbox to select a round hole in the center instead of a hex hole?

You're welcome to edit the OpenSCAD file. That would be a pretty simple change.

Great part and the customizer makes it a million times more useful. This part should definitely won the customizer competition (not just been a runner up). I'm guessing this part will be used in many many peoples designs as it works so well, so will be fun to see how other people put it to use in their models. Well done, and thaks for all your amazing work!

Just printed in PLA at 100% and I could not get it freed. After working at it for quite a while I managed to get the central gear loose, but I could not free the others. After smashing it with a hammer, I took a closer look...the other gears were welded tight against the outside and it took some more hits with the hammer to free a couple (which, of course, ruined them).

I just pulled my 608-sized variant off of the bed. It works like a charm, but this is DEFINITELY close to the small end for this part. I might try again with a smaller pressure angle - it seems like it needs 'deeper' teeth.Well done, emmett! This model is awesome.

mine was stuck at first but once i inserted a hex allen key and turned it to break the stringing away it moved then after playing with it for a while it got better and better, alos added in some wd40 for good measure! now i can spin it freely - hard to see how many rotations it does before it stops. love it!

Emmett, i'm an old guy thats seen a few too many of my inventions/designs "borrowed" by big companies and exploited for very big money. Please, do me a favour and get a US Provisional Patent submitted on this thing. Its huge. This is the type of thing that sets you up for retirement. Seriously.

I'm primarily an electronic guy with a few mechanical patents, but i would be happy to chat via email or text if you want.

Yes, but is it additively manufactured? :) I realize emmett is not interested in a patent on this - but just for sake of the discussion, it should be pointed out that it might still be possible to get a patent on the use of 3d printing to print such gears. At a USPTO conference, it was pointed out that patents were issued in the early days of companies using LED's to replace light bulbs in various applications. Over time, LED replacements became "obvious" and no longer patentable - but the original ones stood.

Interesting post. I wonder if he ever made one?

I agree this is a great invention. But he already published it into the public. He can't PPA it after the fact. :(

He's got one year from public disclosure to file a provisional. Better to file first, but not required.

doesnt matter, China already is manufacturing it

Ooooh, I forgot that the US had the one year grace period. I had worked with some foreign patents a while back and got it into my head that any public disclosure was an instant disallowance. Yeah, a PPA would be good for him.

Thanks guys, but I didn't CC-license it to turn around and patent it. I'm already pretty sick of the patent system, and the last thing I need is to pay lawyers to help write and defend my own. And honestly, outside of the realm of 3D-printed plastic, I don't think it'll really compete with existing bearings anyway. At least this counts as prior art to keep anyone else from patenting it.

Good point. Still, I expect this design to show up all over 3D printed designs, as the way it allows for printing preassembled is quite elegant.

OKay, Printed it today, thew print itself was a success, but I cannot het the bearings free. I am just one week into printing and I notice that my perimeters are maybe a bit too thick.

I have calibrated my machine so the dimensions it prints are almost a 100% correct, but the insides of circles keep on being to tight and also like with this bearing, the space between the herringboned dials in the bearing was so tightly printed that they are fused together. The hole in the center is now round because the hexagonal pin slipped from too much force put on the bearing to get it loose. I have cut out all residu from inside the bearing, beat it with a hammer, the middle wheel is free and can be wiggled very little, but it's free. The other wheels are all connected too much to the outer ring.

Slicing with Slic3r, what setting should I watch? Btw I think I printed this on 0.3mm I think. Maybe I should go for 0.4mm just as a test, but I don't know how to make the walls thinner somehow if that is possible in Slic3r. I am using it on a Mac so Skeinforge doesn't exist for me.

Printing it with Pronterface, works great.

Thanks for this awesome thing, wish I could learn how to print it better.

pretty awesome piece of engineering!

Anyone have suggestions for breaking it free before stripping the plastic from the middle opening? I've done 5 of these now, but cant seem to get it to not strip. Most have been .2 or .3mm resolution, 1 with .1m resolution, .25mm tolerances. PLA.
Every one of them was stripped. Should the print be done w/ 100% infill, or prepped to break open?

I think mine were 25% infill. One ABS, one PLA. No stripping problem, but the ABS was much tighter than the PLA. Still is, even after thousands of revolutions.

This and your derivatives are simply amazing, emmett. I am staggered that these are not featured, and instead makerbot is featuring its own useless designs.
As mentioned above, this illustrates not only individual brilliance, solving heaps of problems, but it opens up realms of new ideas to go off of or include it with.
I tip my hat to you. .o>

Because of your design i now have a mind full of ideas to put this to use and have already started on the first one, day two of design fest! http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:63231http://www.thingiverse.com/thi...

So thank you, for the the tools and the inspiration

KINECT Turntable and Mount for 3D Scanning : First Ever TinkerCAD Design !

excellant work! printed nicely and I broke it free with a impact drill on low torque setting. very nicely done.

Finally got around to printing this today. Wow. Just wow. The print was a little stiff at first, but I couldn't stop fiddling with it in my hands. Just a few hours later, just from my manually turning it, it has turned into a freely spinning but still very well fitted bearing. This is awesome stuff.


emmett, first off, you're a genius, well done sir.

My personal objective with this file is to print 608z sized bearings x 8, and then stick them on my skateboard and see how they work.

8mm internal diameter, 22mm external diameter, 7mm thickness.

I don't have a printer yet though, so if someone wants to ship me the bearings, I'll post the videos of the test! LOL

You are a shoe in for the makerbot contest. The 2 best designs submitted (this and the heart box) are both yours. R U a wizard? Cuz dis iz magick to me! Yeah, you're light years ahead of anyone else on Thingiverse or any other 3d printing website for that matter. There are other beautiful designs in the universe but no designs that show a mastery of the limitations and promise of 3d printing. You somehow always manage to design something that sidesteps 3d printing's limitations while maximizing 3d printing's strengths. All your designs are deceptively simple to the casual observer, but to those in the know it evokes wonderment because of the complex thought that went into designing it so that a symphony of complexity comes together in a seemingly simple operation. If intelligence is the ability to make something complex simple, then your I.Q. must be off the charts!

Thank you, I think that's the best complement I've received.

Don't forget to put a drop of oil in it! Makes quite a difference.

Cute, but the forces require a drill motor with 1/16 hp or greater to be useful. A balance between PLA exclusive and bearings would be much more useful.

Have you printed one? With the right tolerance, they spin quite freely. I agree it's not as smooth as one machined out of steel, but I'm not sure where your 1/16 hp number comes from.

I think you have recreated the wheel for the 3D printing revolution. Awesome job.

are you FREAKING kidding me? This might be the most AWESOME thing on Thingiverse!

Emmett, did you know about GregFrosts involute gear library?

Parametric Involute Bevel and Spur Gears

Yes, in fact I put his as the ancestor of this thing. I've used his library extensively, but now I'm working on a more general version, which this scad file is the beginning of.

It should ofcourse be named "cogbearing".

Now THAT is how you do it! Excellent work, as always!

20,000 RPM Test!! Taking my ABS Gear Bearing to 20,000 RPMs, held up awesome!


So I ran a test today on my newly printed ABS Gear Bearing, Ran it on a pneumatic grinder with roughly 20,000 RPMs. Held up quite well!


This is really cool!

What's the turn friction like? I would imagine gears have a lot of friction...

Gears have friction where they touch (the teeth mesh) but they also rotate. The elegance of this design is that it provides a freely rotating bearing without requiring anything to slip - the planet gears rotate, allowing the outer gear to move freely around the sun gear.

Actually the whole point of gears is to have little friction; it has a lot more to do with the accuracy of the printing than the design. See scubaru89's video above.

Imma have to redesign /thing:37432

Mini Heavy Duty Printable Filament Spool with Cylinder Bearings
by cymon

Great work! This is a huge break through for us as a community. We now have the ability to make amazing new inventions. U DA MAN!!!

Printed this today on a Dimension 1200, came out awesome, as soon as I popped it off the support layer it began to spin. I do have a little play in the gears but that is most likely from the Dimension being able to produce higher quality prints that don't need as much a wide tolerance between gears. I love this little thing!


could someone upload gcode for the one pictured?

I finally got it printed at a tolerance of 0.2!
Here is a video that I took of it in action:

bravo sir. I can't wait to see what people make using this!

I made one. It sliced and printed flawlessly. I can't break it free though. I've tried using tools and a ton of brute force. It won't turn. I had no idea what to set for the tolerance setting but I'm guessing .15 won't work for my printer. I'll try again with a bigger number. Wish me luck!

I ended up using a cordless drill on low setting to get mine started. I just used a bit that fit perfectly in the center hole and pressed the button. It spun free immediately and was able to withstand the drill on high power.

I thought mine was stuck for good too. The thing is, when you break it, it will break along the lines of the gears and will free itself. I had to use a socket wrench with the hex attachment in the middle and a giant pair of vise grips on the large outer circle.

This is a very cool design and concept! :D

I think this is awesome, on my 3rd attempt to print. Slic3r can't handle slicing this thing. It is connecting the gears to the body on some of the layers. Any chance you could add your post-sliced g-code of the main version to the downloads? I want to compare it with the slices I am getting. Thanks!

Which settings did you use for sucessfully print it with slic3r?

I got it to print the standard one using no perimeters, but was able to print a perimetered bearing by adjusting the spacing to be 2.5 in the customizer.

I think you can use 'split' in the slic3r gui/plater then it will keep the parts separate. I've not tested this with a print yet but the gcode looks right now.

Okay, so for anyone else using slic3r, I got it to slice by using no perimeters. It ain't pretty, and it ain't smooth, but I printed it, and it rolls. I'll post a photo in a bit. I bet it would roll a lot smoother if I had 1 or 2 perimeters on there.

If you use the scad file and set the tolerance to .2 instead of the default .15 and leave everything else the same slicer will slice it just fine. I sliced and examined gcode at .16, .17, .18 and .19 before I got to .20 and slicer not linking some of the planets to the outer rings.

So I sliced it using .20 at a layer height of .4 and 2 perimeters, there were still a number of connections. Changed the layer height to .2 and there were still 3 or 4 layers that were connected. Sliced it at .15 layer height, and still 1 connection on the 12th layer. Slicing at .1 produced even more connections. Attempted with 1 perimeter as well. Can't get it to go without connections. How'd you do it?

Listen to this guy! I'm going to try printing it at 0.20 tolerance when I get home and post my results.

I rendered with "tolerance" of 0.15, 0.4 and 0.3, and 0.3 worked well. 0.15 ended up permanently bonded, while 0.3 popped loose with an easy twist of a screwdriver. I'll try 0.25 and 0.2 tonight.

I printed one with 1 perimeter at .25 tolerance, and I got a successful print out of it. 0.25 was the key for me. 0.2 was still bonding and 0.25 was snug but separate. Printrbot Jr.

If it is sticking for you, just throw it into the microwave for two minutes and twist it with an Allen wrench or something. it cleans it up quite well.

For PLA, reduce that to two seconds...I use a hair dryer or hot water and get them warm, then spin with a drill until it cools down a bit. I think Emmett's several minutes of drill spinning just heat up the gears enough to deform. With hot water I can get pull these off the print bed and get them spinning smoothly in 30 seconds.

When I sliced it with slic3r, the outer gears fused to the ring. I printed it at a layer height of 0.15 and couldn't get it to budge using a flat head screwdriver. I ended up breaking it with a mallet.

Is it like the picture woodsmoke posted? If so, it sounds like slic3r has a bug that should probably be reported. I used the makerbot slicer in MakerWare and it worked well.

My first thought was that this would make a great substitute bearing for a filament roller (printing 4x of them, printing vertical supports to hang them on and setting a spool on them), and I think that a slight groove option/v-shaped indent in the outer surface would be a great addition. I just can't seem to win when it comes to open scad. Would anyone have any suggestions on how we could make that change?

Don't give up on OpenSCAD; it's really not that hard if you give it a chance. Just open my file and start putting # in front of subobjects to see how they interact. Your change will actually be pretty simple.

Emmett, You've done it again!

I printed the 6 planet one right off, and it came out quite well.

I have a request / suggestion for a modification if someone wants to take it on (I'm not Scad literate): place an axle thru hole in the planets. Doing so would make it possible to attach a cage from which an input or output can be driven.

I tried a custom one but ran into colliding planets. See settings below.
w = 8
P = 45
T = 15
D = 76
number_of_teeth_on_planets = 8
number_of_planets = 6
tol = 0.15
approximate_number_of_teeth_on_sun = 9
nTwist = 1

Yeah, it's parametric, but you still have to apply some critical thought. If the planets overlap use more teeth on the sun gear until it looks good. Remember, number of teeth is proportional to diameter.

As for holes in the planets, that's an easy mod. Just download my scad file and difference a cylinder from the planets. It's high time to learn a little scad!

Awesome! Loved the detailed youtube vid. It's indeed rolling much better than the printed ball bearings ;)

This is a cool print. I made one the other night (The 5 planet one) that was pre-rendered. It was a little tight so I guess next one needs some looser tolerance on my ToM. Awesome!

Imagine Emmett with and industrial 3D printer, it would be dangerous.
Yet another awesome model!
You're a credit to Thingiverse

Thank you for publishing this great idea under an OpenSource licence! This bearing will help us to develop totally new 3D printed machines.

I thought you did some amazing work before, but this is on another level imo. So inspiring.

Excellent! This print is begging for a Nylon and Polycarbonate dual extrusion test

Awesome. This is the coolest bearing yet! Given how many bearings there are here, that's saying something!

The like button seems inadequate. I need a mind blown button!

QFT! Awesome idea emmet!

Something similar was on my todo list.
I thought about a drive for a moineau pump via a planetary transmission (after a wobble compensation coupling of some sort) There you see quite naturally that with herringbone gears you could take care of the axial load too. But for a transmission the planets themselves need to be beared. Now that I think of it, why not bear the planets of a big planetary gear transmission with small ones of these.

Printability in one piece is cool and saves some assembly work. I like the minimalistic design removing everything but the core functionality leaving only an irreducible minimal machine element.

Judging from the video your GearBearing is lash free. Still I think a version with minimal post assembly could work even better. You buy this at the expense of part size assembly time though. When the outer ring is split in two mirror symmetric rings (which bolt or/and screw together) all parts can be printed separately. Then clearances can be made even tighter and there are no stringing travell moves.

I'm impressed with how smoothly this turns, and the amount of force it seems to be able to take. This strikes me as something which could actually replace metal bearings in some light-duty applications.

Yes - especially if printed in nylon...

Very cool....I get hokey puck when I change away from default as well. I can get it CGAL to render with .17 and .18, and since I was able to successfully print at .15, but was only able to free the center gear, I'll try .18 and see how it goes.

Hmm, I thought I fixed that. Are you using my latest file? It seems to be working in Customizer now, have you tried that?

It pucks for me in Customizer as well (put in 0.20 to see this). I grabbed the SCAD file last night, so if you've updated it since then, I wouldn't have the latest file. Either way, .15 is a good place to start. Mine would have likely been fine if the bottom hadn't squashed so much and if I had modified the hex key insert to take something I have lying around, rather than stripping it out. This go-around I expect success.

Emmett. I bow down before your awesomeness. Two questions.

1) Is it PLA compatible. My guess is that it gets quite warm and PLA is not known for liking that
2) What about plastic fuse? Do you need to lubricate it at all?

I had no luck with turning with my Clear PLA, although I printed it at 0.2 line thickness. Ill try at 0.1 next :)

I print everything in PLA, so yes, but I'm not promising it'll run at 3000RPM. I haven't lubricated mine at all and they work fine (as you can see in the video). It probably wouldn't hurt, but since gears mostly roll rather than slide, it shouldn't make a huge difference.

Printer AWAY! .... thanks for the info.

Your creations are always so awesome, makes me wonder what im doing with my life.

good work man. Printing now.

Emmett.... you are a genius. It takes some very legitimate outside-the-box thinking to come up with something like this. Bravo!

Bravo indeed! Simply brilliant!

I second that. Bravo!

Thanks! To me, 3D printing is one of the most deserving reasons for out-of-the-box thinking to come along in a long time. So much is possible now that never was before. I only hope I can help to inspire others.

It's so nice to see the medium of FFF 3d printing utilized to its strengths! You, Sir, are a pioneer, and I salute you.

Impressive... printing it right now :)

Awesome work!

I think that the issue with the customizer is due to a typo in the "np" parameter np=roiund(... )

You nailed it that typo is what is causing the problem. I was able to export the script and change that thing and now it is working for me.

Ah, so simple. Can't believe I didn't catch that. Must have forgotten to hit F5 the last time. It's fixed so it works in Customizer now. Thanks.

It looks good in customizer now but when I open up the resulting stl it is still a hockey puck for some reason. The only thing I modified was the tolerance to 2.5 from 1.5.

Default is 0.15, so try 0.25. 2.5 would be an aweful lot.

Oops sorry I meant .25 I'm trying .20 now to see if that works.

Hmm, I see what you mean. It renders, but doesn't make the right STL. Perhaps we found a customizer bug after all.

Ah, nope it's an OpenSCAD bug. For some reason with tol=0.25 it throws a CGAL error and gives up on the gears. I guess just try a slightly different number and hope. I'll try and figure out if it's because of something I did.

I imported your OpenSCAD script and put the value at .23 and it compiled and I was able to export it to stl. I'll give it a shot on the printer as soon as it is available.

Okay, looks like it was a roundoff error (OpenSCAD's one true failing...). After some minor changes, it appears to be a lot more stable now. Hopefully no more solid cylinders anymore.

Excellent I'll give it another shot. Thanks for designing such a cool thing.

Even i Opescad I'm just seeing a puck with the EL initials on it.

Emmet, you are the master, we are but unworthy students!

For some reason when I open this in customizer I'm seeing just a hockey puck no matter what settings I adjust.

Increase the "tolerance". I had that trouble, but when I went to 0.2 or higher, it worked fine.

Emmett fixed the problem for me. It was an scad rounding error. I've been able to print a few more copies that have worked very nice.

Awesome design! I'll have to give it a go. I've been tinkering with a few bearing designs as well but have struggled with making them parametric, I'll poke around your openscad file to see if I can't pick up some tips.