Magic: the Gathering Life Tracker


I made a counter to track life points in Magic: the Gathering from 20 down to 0. The design uses planetary gears, which are pretty neat because they rotate without needing an axle.

It’s very fun to watch the little dials spin around. I made a video of it in action


The attached file has the gears and numbers and everything, but I left out the mana symbols because copyright. You can pretty easily find vector versions of those, however, and just stick them in before cutting.

I used this planetary gear simulator to calculate the teeth, with additional help from this guide to planetary gear calculations.

I built everything with Inkscape’s “Render > Gear” extension. I follow this video tutoral for instructions on inverting the outer gear.

The inner gears I also gave a 0.1mm stroke, then used “Stroke to Path” and took the inner paths to make them a little smaller. Kerf by itself was not enough to allow free motion.


Now that is cool!


Awesome, thanks for the pattern!


mindbogglingly Thanks for file and demos


Coolness cubed! I love planetary gears. :grinning:


Wow! They are so neat!


Very cool!


Love this, thanks for the files!


Thank you, very kind to post the files.

Anyone who doesn’t like stuff like this isn’t someone I want to know!


So rad! Nice work and thank you for your generosity sharing your time and skill!


I just want to motorize it and stare at it all day. Haha! Lovely execution and brilliant craftsmanship! :]


Oh, fun! Loved watching the video. Thanks for the file!


Lovely, the top one catches my eye in particular. For easy kerf adjustment of shapes in Inkscape, investigate Ctrl-( and Ctrl-). The steps it uses can be redefined in preferences.


Remarkable work!


cool design, it would be worth making one that goes to 40 since the commander playstyle starts at the much life


Very cool! I’d love to see dots added from 20 to 0 so one could count up to 24. if need be


Hands down the greatest and most useful thing posted on this message board! Thank you! You have also inspired me to learn about gears so that I can learn to make something this darn cool!


I printed it all out and it looks great but I am having trouble getting it to work. I am wondering if I assembled it incorrectly. Could you give a brief description of how to put it together?


I’ve tried the inset/outset command but in my experience they end up distorting the path (simplifying it, I think?). Which is unfortunate because they’re a lot more straightforward than the Stroke to Path technique.


It does, indeed, especially sharp corners. For those, I usually directly manipulate. However a small distortion of .0025 or so in more organic shapes never seems to matter.