Can we get a “mechanisms” thread going?

I’m looking for books, detailed drawings, or straight-up SVG files of various gears and other mechanisms. I’m all about not reinventing the wheel and looking at mechanisms gives me inspiration for projects. I’ve looked through patents and have some basic books as well as Matthias Wandel’s gear generator (it’s great stuff), but I figure you all are smart and have sources yourselves and I’d like to aggregate.

If this becomes a large thread, I’m happy to edit my post with links, etc. My goal is to make some kinetic art or a marble machine or whatever else, so please unload either designs you’ve made or designs you’ve found (with credit to the author, please!)


I second this awesome idea! :sunglasses:

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Here’s a few things I’ve used in my quest for making kinetic things – reference, inspiration, or learning. I’m not specifically recommending anything here, but rather providing brief reviews if you’re considering the same things :slight_smile: – great site for getting new ideas of how to make something move a certain way. There is a book of the same name (this is the one I have ), and one with 400, and one with 1800. 507 is fine. :wink: I like to have an off-line reference if I’m off-grid, but the website has animations which is helpful. There’s also several YouTube channels with videos of these, and more, in 3D form (here’s a good one one: )

Mechanisms and Mechanical Devices Sourcebook, 5th Edition ( ) – not terribly helpful, honestly, for making things. Great if you need to know technical specifics about a movement.

Automata and Mechanical Toys ( ) – good inspiration and decent ideas on putting things togethers in cool ways

Karakuri: How to make Mechanical Paper Models that Move ( ) – great for quickly putting together (mostly cam-based) mechanisms, and can easily translate to laser

Making Simple Automata ( ) – good to look at, but not overly instructional

Making Things Move DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists ( ) – I was rather disappointed with this one, though it does cover electrical motors if that’s part of your work (it is part of mine, but I already knew what the book covered about them).

Federico Tobon ( ) makes awesome TINY automata using paper, pins, paperclips, and popsicle sticks. Totally love these works!! Great inspiration.

Happy making! We’d all love to see what you create!


Wow, great resources–thanks so much!

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Thanks, but there goes another year of my life bookmarked.


This site sells dxf files. Mostly clock mechanisms.

These are Kinetic sculplture plans:



Pretty amazing “walking art/structures/machines”

My kids have remote-controlled “walking bug” versions of this. I’m sure there are designs out there. Spend some time in YouTube on this topic at your own risk :slight_smile: