Stepper motor & Acrylic gear play

By | March 16, 2015

Here at SpikenzieLabs, we’re always on the lookout for interesting and fun components.  We got these in a few weeks ago.  It is a small stepper motor and driver board.  They sell together for $7.95.

One of the cool things about this stepper is that it runs at 5v, and the current to drive it is low enough that you can take the 5v right out of the Arduino.  After playing around with one of these little steppers with the usual piece of tape on the spindle, I thought it would be cool to laser cut some gears.  Here is a look at my project. The first step was to draw out a hole in the center of a gear that would accept the spindle.  Careful measuring done with a digital calliper, then designing the hole in my illustration software.  The lines are extra bold just so that they show up more clearly.

The red line is the actual cut line, large black circle is the center of the gear spindle drawn by the gear drawing software.  The smaller circle is there to help make sure everything is ‘center-center’ while moving elements around. A long time ago, I discovered this site: There is an interesting gear drawing capability right on the site.  For a mere 26$ dollars, you can buy & download his GearGenerator3 software.

Really awesome, simple and fun to play around with. Using this software, I set some gears up on a particular grid pattern so that the center hubs of the gears fall right on the grid lines, giving me gears that will always find a perfect mesh on a ‘real life’ grid.

Note the green grid lines going through the center of each gear hub. Doesn’t matter if you’re working in metric or imperial, so long as the scale is good, you can create a bunch of different sized gears that will be interchangeable and find a perfect center hub hole.

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