Kinetic sculpture for a gift exchange


Every year I participate in a gift exchange with friends (it includes dice rolling; it’s pretty great). Since I didn’t have quite enough time to design something last year after getting our Glowforge in November, this year I was determined to make something. I decided on a kinetic sculpture inspired by Brandon Sanderson’s series The Stormlight Archive (along with the first book in the series… although it’s not until the second book that one might see how the book and the sculpture are related).

The result is this pattern (hint hint). It has two 11" diameter spinners mounted on rollerblade bearings (using Dan’s pressure fit hole). The front spinner is thick draft board. The back spinner is medium draft board plus a medium clear acrylic pieces that is a 1/8 pie slice to make it a pendulum. These are sandwiched between a front and back plate on a dowel (medium draft board spacers between each piece). The back plate is large enough for some medium Command Strips for wall mounting. The bearings are friction fit on the spinners and dowel but the front and back plates are glued to the dowel.

It sounds so easy all written up like that :smiley:

My big lesson learned for next time: More mass! Since these are fairly lightweight overall, they really only spin for 15-30s in the sweet hypnotic zone before stopping. In addition to limiting the size, having each spinner cut as a single piece is extremely wasteful of material – especially when a cut goes wrong. Next time cutting the arms separately and attaching them to a center will help with both of these issues (and create a new set of design challenges!) I’d also love to explore some more advanced mechanisms, inspired by David Roy.

More photos and some video:


Wow! Looks mesmerizing!


Oh that looks like FUN! :smile:


Somebody is going to get a great gift.


Very nice. Thanks for sharing the video. It was fun to watch.


Wow! I’m getting dizzy. You did a great job on it!


Very cool!


Niiiiice, like!


@timjedwards I’m waiting for you to come up with something like this so I can steal your files. :wink:


They will love it!


Here is a link to the files for this! README included with cutting and assembly instructions. Released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.


How incredibly generous of you to share your files! :grinning: