Kinetic Art

Here is my prototype of a 2’ diameter kinetic sculpture.
I got plans for this, but those were for a CNC wood table (shopbot style) or to cut by hand.

Well, why do it that way when you can do it with a Glowforge!

The plans called for 1/2" ply. Experimentation showed that wasn’t going to happen on a Glowforge. Also even with a pro model, you can’t do a 2’ x 2’ cut.

My solution, rework the plans to work with 1/4" ply and laminate to make the 1/2" wheels.
This also solved the size limitation. I creatively cut the pieces so that they glued together.

I’ll attach a YouTube video of it in operation and a photo here.

Updated 4K 60FPS: YouTube video


Very cool in motion.

Did you use skateboard bearings in the center to let it spin so freely?


Nice motion to that! I really like kinetic art. :sunglasses:


That is really cool!!!

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Bearings. Yes, I’m not sure if they are for skateboards, but look like the same kind.

The Glowforge is so nice for cutting the holes for the bearings! So much easier than drilling.


Nicely done! Visually stunning when in motion.

I have similar thing as a work in progress, without “plans”, but smaller, motorized and without so many “legs”. Lots of bearing choices on Amazon which the Glowforge can cut precise holes for. You have inspired me to finish!

Is what you showed in the video “motorized” or does wind and/or fingers “power” the device? :sunglasses:


It is spring driven. The wheels are weighted on one arm to unbalance them. This creates the chaotic motion. I’ve seen some that use motors though.
This is my first one, so I’m far from an expert.
As much as I’d like to take credit for the spring motor, I paid for plans from
It wasn’t until I got it assembled that I figured out how it works.
Now I’m hoping to begin designing my own art.




Cool, I loved letting my eyes go blurry when watching it, quite hypnotising!

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Love that motion! Terrific work!

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I am amazed. I think I would play with it all day and get nothing done.


That’s so cool to watch!

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I see the plans come in dxf format. Did they convert to SVG easily? I love David C Roy’s work. This reminds me of his work. What parts do you need besides just the wood?

I almost didn’t click on the link when I saw this as I KNEW i’d be adding this to my project list once I did.

As soon as I’m done with our 1600+ sqft of new hardwood floors, I’m doing this. SO COOL!!!


There is basically one dxf file that has everything on one file.
I use Corel Draw for my Glowforge and it worked fine with that. I haven’t tried in other software.
In Corel, you open the dxf, edit and such, then highlight what you want and then export as svg
I have to say it was a complex process since the plans are for 1/2" ply that is 2’ x 2’.
To do it on the GF I had to turn the wheels into puzzles and print on 1/4".
Then I meticulously glued the front 1/4" to the back 1/4" to make the wheel.
There are 38 individual pieces that make each wheel. Two hubs and 3 pieces for each arm.
The trick was to overlap the pieces on the front and back layer.
There are also parts to buy. Steel rods (cheap but maybe hard to source), the spring ($35), and bearings (cheap)

It’s definitely not for the faint of heart. This would be much easier with a Shopbot, but I don’t have that. The smaller pieces would still be made on GF anyway.

edit: I forgot to mention that I wasted quite a bit of wood printing the 24 outer arms. I could only get 6 per full bed. I did print some of the smaller parts on the in-betweens, but it was still quite wasteful.

I haven’t yet optimized the layout to see what the minimum number of sheets that would be needed.


It’s a challenging project for sure, you can find plans on the internet for smaller versions. Youtube is a good source.

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Thanks for the information. You did an amazing job!

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Understood. Sometimes the price is a bit steep, but you will enjoy that every time you look at it for years. It was worth it. :wink: