Customizable Cube Gears

by emmett, published

Customizable Cube Gears by emmett Feb 15, 2013

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UPDATE: This design has been superseded by my newer version, thingiverse.com/thing:213946, which has better pins. I highly recommend you print that instead, as it prints more reliably, assembles much easier and holds together better.
I figured it was high time I updated my cube gears to use my newer pin library, and while I'm at it, why not make it customizable? The new pins fit in much easier than before, and if you have any trouble, you can change the tolerance and get new pins from the customizer app.

This cube gear has different numbers of teeth than my original, which means you have to turn it more to get back to a cube. The customizer also has the original gearing as an option, as well as one with fewer teeth (good for making it small).

I also put in the ability to put words on the faces of the large gears. This way you can make a personal gift, or maybe a silly game where different word pairs come together as you turn the cube. I'd like to see what you come up with.

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What a Jackass, I tell everyone its your initials and give props every time. Nice as usual.

Running the cleanup extension in sketchup seems to fix the pins up. Whenever slicer can't slice because of overlapping/intersecting faces I have found you need to look inside the model for unnecessary walls. e.g. If you join two boxes then the whole inside needs to be one open space and so you need to remove any partitions.

I'm not quite sure, but I think the bridges across the top of the pinholes in the gears may be sagging, thus shortening the effective depth of the hole. I should probably just put some extra depth in there to make it a more sure-fire print, but you can try adding a fan if you're printing with PLA.

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Print the plate (it fits on a Replicator bed), or print one center, four large gears, four small gears and eight pins. Assemble and turn! I've found a little grease on the pins helps a lot, especially with PLA.

When you open customizer, you're given a choice of what part to render, in case all you need is a new pin or a large gear with words on it. If you want to make an all new cube gear, just make an stl of each of the four parts. The assembly is just there so you can see how it will look; there's no point in exporting it.


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knobunc on May 22, 2013 said:

I'm having trouble with the pins too. They printed fine along with everything else on the plate, but they seem too long. How much of a gap is there expected to be between the gears and the center? I get a several mm gap and things don't feel tight.

emmett on May 22, 2013 said:

Yeah, actually I noticed that too and just chalked it up to a printing error. Sounds now like it's more likely a math error. I'll look into it...

laz on May 21, 2013 said:

I tried to print one of these from the provided STL files. When printed, the pin holes in the center piece did not appear to have the same depth. Four of the holes had a depth of approximately 9mm. The four on the opposite side of those holes had a depth of approximately 11mm. I'm curious if anyone else had the same issue. I'm still pretty new to printing, but it seems like the pins being slightly off-center would be an easy mistake to make. I was planning to dig into the SCAD file to take a look, but I wanted to get some confirmation before I did. There's a lot of math in there. Has anyone else noticed this problem?

emmett on May 21, 2013 said:

It's not an error. In fact, this way the pins are all equidistant from the center; the trick is that the faces are not all the same distance from the center (hence the shape being not quite a normal octahedron). Likewise, the two types of gears are correspondingly different sizes.

Nosliwx123 on May 13, 2013 said:

it would be nice if there is a smaller version

emmett on May 21, 2013 said:

It's customizable for that very reason.

aerogeek on Apr 15, 2013 said:

Hi Can anyone help, i am having trouble trying to get the pins to print... slicer only recognises 4 layers and thats it.. the rest of the items printed pretty well accurate

aerogeek on Apr 15, 2013 said:

Hi i cant get the pins to slice correctly can you help? the rest printed ok

foofoodog on Aug 4, 2013 said:

Running the cleanup extension in sketchup seems to fix the pins up. Whenever slicer can't slice because of overlapping/intersecting faces I have found you need to look inside the model for unnecessary walls. e.g. If you join two boxes then the whole inside needs to be one open space and so you need to remove any partitions.

Andychn on Mar 20, 2013 said:

Yet another Emmett classic.

jakepoz on Mar 17, 2013 said:

I found that the best fitting pins when printing with ABS, .25mm layer height, and a .35mm nozzle were using the 0.3 tolerance and the fatter pin style.


Once I did that it assembled nicely and stayed together during rotations!

dex101 on Mar 14, 2013 said:

Could you motorize this?

Hulksmash on Mar 8, 2013 said:

actually printing this 350% bigger :) need 2 more parts

Eirinn on Mar 7, 2013 said:

Got a non manifold in Slic3r near 33-31.

FTCTeam5477 on Mar 5, 2013 said:

Made One!
Printed in PLA with bed at room temperature, and 220 C. .27 mm 2.75 hours

Had to sand the pins down a little in order to get them in without forcing too hard.

Before assembly take a graphite pencil and cover all the internals with it, Your cube will spin effortlessly.

jxander00 on Feb 22, 2013 said:

How long does it take

GyroVolve on Feb 21, 2013 said:

how do you put this together?

Felias on Feb 19, 2013 said:

Printed at .5 on my Up! Mini. Came out nicely, though the pins won't get deep enough into the base somehow. They are sticking out too far, and it doesn't work as it's supposed to. Looking inside the base there is no raft or anything, so i'm not sure why it didn't work. Will try raftless this evening to see if it works this way.

latz on Feb 17, 2013 said:

How do i get rid of that EL on the large gears?

emmett on Feb 17, 2013 said:

Hey man, I'm just signing my work. If it really bothers you, you can open up the scad file and remove it.

andmerr on Feb 16, 2013 said:

Nice cubes been displayed, mine is coming.............Printing at .1 , each small gear so far works out to 1hr 10 mins to print , the pins took 7 mins each , the the base 2hrs , just got the big gears to go and i'll upload a pic of my green and yellow cube. Using very good quality PLA

SystemsGuy on Feb 16, 2013 said:

Hey Emmett - sorry, I managed to screw up your monogram - was trying to shift it and didn't notice until I started printing! I'll have to have the wifey do a custom painted one for ya!

Also quick question on PinV3 - when I generate the STL from OpenScad with object set to 3, I'm getting a horizontal bar across the middle of the pin. I've not dug into the library, but I noticed the STL's you uploaded didn't have them? I think this is "side"?

andmerr on Feb 16, 2013 said:

thanks for such a great model , im trying to print it at .1 in green and yellow PLA

pp3dpNL on Feb 16, 2013 said:

If you use an external fan the PLA cools better and turns solid faster. This way it won't curl up because of the heat of the nozzle and the model will look better.

electricmonk9 on Feb 16, 2013 said:

When I try and print the gears (in PLA) on my Printrbot + the very tip of the gear teeth always curl upwards layer by layer until the print is totally ruined. Any advice?

glassfin on Feb 17, 2013 said:

point a fan at the print when it's printing. problem solved.

SystemsGuy on Feb 16, 2013 said:

Try dropping your extrusion temp a bit, bed as well if you are heating, and use loads of cooling. You can also tweet height over width, but that's a bit more iffy unless you've played with it before. I just printed this in PLA, and had not problems with curling using the above.

Darrellandson on Feb 16, 2013 said:

Great! Thanks!

mifga on Feb 16, 2013 said:


dethcookie on Feb 16, 2013 said:

He's done it again! Many thanks! Printing now (: