Magic: the Gathering Life Tracker


Thank you! This is a really cool design, just love the moving gears!


Hypothetical question here… But if all of the pieces were scaled larger, is everything still going to fit? Or would the gears need to be scaled separate of the shell? I ask so that we could make one that goes to 40(and past) by making a larger face ring to get all the necessary notches…


I think you’d have to test it out. My guess is it would be fine, but perhaps a little looser relative to the current design? (Because the amount that the gears are undersized would scale up.)

I guess that’s what draftboard is for. :slight_smile:

If you try it out, please report back how it goes!

If you like that font I used for the numbers, BTW, it’s Montserrat, available from Google fonts.


I have found bamboo skewers to be much better than toothpicks as the larger diameter is both strong and turns easily if the hole is just a bit big and a spot of glue works well where you do not want it to turn.


Awesome! Thanks for sharing!


Inspired by your work, I made a double wheel to use for Star Realms.

Star Realms has both people start at 50 authority, and you attack each other until someone hits zero first. The gears have the symbols for the four types of cards and the Star Realms logo for the fifth one.

I made the gears out of maple ply, and the ring gears, cover, pointers, and base out of draftboard. Then I added maple veneer and walnut veneer to all the “visible” surfaces. Instead of just gluing the pointer, I made a square “axle” out of a tiny piece of draftboard, that goes through the sun gear and through a hole in the pointer (friction fit). The veneer on the pointer covers up the end of the axle. (You can see to the side that I cut veneer from both maple and walnut because I wasn’t sure which one I would like better. I ended up using the walnut, but the maple also looked very nice.) I love how it turned out.

When I made a test one, I managed to squeeze a little bit of glue onto one of the gears when I put it together. For this one, I dabbed the glue at five points around the ring that were in between the gears, and then clamped it in the middle instead of at the edges. That seemed to allow enough clearance that the gears turn nicely. We’ll see how it holds up.




Your star realms life tracker looks pretty great. Any chance you’d be willing to share the svg?



As long as @finh doesn’t mind, I’d be happy to share it. I should get the files in more understandable shape, though, so it will probably take a couple days to get to it.


Wow that’s great! I love the look of them mounted on the walnut board.

Thanks so much for sharing this, and by all means feel free to post your files as well.


Oh hey if anyone wants to do their own gear stuff in Inkscape, let me recommend the gears-dev extension. I discovered if after I made this tracker, but it makes nicer gears than the built-in renderer and will also generate the ring gear. No more manual inverting!


OK, here’s my .svg file (I hope). If you use this to make a tracker, be sure to put the walnut veneer on the draftboard back before you glue down the draftboard wheels.



This was 100% needed in this design. Original was a bear to get working. Thanks for this! Excellent work!


I just can’t stop making these! :sunglasses:

They make great gifts. This one is made from PG basswood—with sparing use of Gorilla wood glue for assembly.

To reduce friction I removed ~0.3 mm from the back of each gear wheel using sand paper and a dial micrometer. Also did not press down the pointer hard against the top frame while gluing it in place on the toothpick “axle” (photo on right). Worked well. Zero friction. Spins freely.

Thanks again for sharing this clever idea!


Are we getting closer to the first :glowforge: Antikythera mechanism, much discussed ?
Or has it been done when I’ve not been looking ?
John :upside_down_face:


zomg you made my day! :heart_eyes_cat:


Do you know of a published details that could be made into an svg? It would be really cool to have one lying about.


No, but now I shall start looking - down a sort of Greek rabbit hole, or λαγούμι, as google informs me.
John :upside_down_face:


A Great Geek Greek rabbit hole.


That is a great start. I suppose that the elevation data is there as I am not able to really dig into it from my tablet but the gears ( tooth count) and markings that you could see how it worked would be nice.