Laser-cut trinkets, mechanisms

Gear toys, necklaces

When I got to know laser cutting, the question arose: What should I cut with it? I wanted to create some sort of moving/rotating widget.

Among the gear mechanisms, the working of the planetary gear has always amazed me.

  • When I had to draw their movements – the hypocycloid – as a university assignment, I paid special attention to them.
  • When I learned the functions of my first design program, I modeled a planetary gear with it.
  • And when I got to know the basics of laser cutting, I cut the parts of a working planetary gear out of plexiglas and plywood.

First, I created a demonstration device, on which the different drive chains can be demonstrated by braking the different components.

My girlfriend, Niki really liked it and suggested to make steampunk styled jewelry out of it. So I did:

The two versions rotate differently because they have different drive sequences: In the left one, the ring gear is fixed and the planet carrier is movable, while in the right one, the planet carrier is fixed and the ring gear is movable.

I thought that the movable gear necklace concept could also be interesting without the planetary gear, so I made cloud and V-shaped necklaces with random gears.

Then we laser cut some other trinkets and took them to some markets.

We didn’t achieve overwhelming sales numbers, but we managed to impress a few interested people. 🙂

Motoric Pikachu

One such event was Pokemon themed. Around that time, I discovered a model database with plans for a running Pikachu mechanism that could be made by laser cutting – so I downloaded it, corrected its errors, converted it to be driven by a motor, and then manufactured it.


Years later, I discovered that the Running Pikachu found its way to the toy market: there is a very similar, commercially available product called MEGA Motion Pikachu: