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Gears are one of those mechanical devices that everybody knows how they work, but until you need to incorporate one into your next project, you usually don't know the details behind all the theory of gear design. Gears are a fundamental simple machine that provide mechanical advantage, trading rotational speed for rotational force (or “torque”).

For a detailed primer on gears, see Wikipedia's Gear Page

For standard “spur” gears with parallel axes, the most common shape for the gear teeth is called an involute. This shape ensures that the mating surface of two gears is always perpendicular to direction of motion. This is desirable because it means that the force is transmitted in parallel with the motion. In other words, the gears don't exert forces on each other's axes.

This page is a collection of link to resources on the Internet for generating gear designs. Some are free, some may not be.




FreeCAD as of version 0.15, has a basic Parametric Gear creation tool.

(Free, Windows, Linux, Mac)

Gear Template Generator

Gear Template Generator

You can generate basic gear profile templates in the Flash based Web version and send to a printer, or buy the Windows offline version to generate DXF files, among others. It also supports “rack and pinion” gear profile creation.

(Web Application - Free, Windows Application - Commercial)

Parametric Involute Bevel and Spur Gears is a script for OpenSCAD that lets you have a lot of control over how Gears are created.

This option does not have GUI, but requires a little familiarity with OpenSCAD scripts. Another advantage is that this script can make 3D gear models suitable for 3D printing. Most of the other options generate a 2D design, that you can directly laser cut, or edit in a CAD program to extrude a 2D shape for 3D printing.

(Free, Windows, Linux, Mac)



Is a vector-drawing program that ships with a basic gear generation extension built in. Given that Inkscape is more “Art-centric” than mechanical design, it's use is good for a stating point, but you'll often have to import the result into another editor to tweak the resulting model.

Honorable mention

If your gear is purely cosmetic in nature, or what you need is a sprocket for driving a chain, check out Sprocketeer 2 (Free, Windows Application, Web Application)

If you're an OpenSCAD fan (and if not, you should be) There is also a nice list collection of gear, screw, and pulley creation scripts here (We have not tested most of these at Anibit, so use at your own risk).

maker/designinggears.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/21 21:01 by Anibit