Make Architecture



10- Gearing

My goal for the gearing project was to understand and create a planetary relationship between gears.  I was inspired by the elegant and well crafted models of Remeaux.  They don’t seem to be to any purpose beyond exposing the relationships in different gearing mechanisms.


  • 1/4″ plywood
  • 3/8″ hardware: carriage bolts, nuts, washers, lock washers.


I used the Rhino plug-in ‘Geargen’ to create the profiles of my desired planetary geraing.  I experimented with different ratios and gearings and eventually realized that using gear diameters in 1:2 or 2:1 relationships worked best.  Therefor, my design from the center out is in the ratio 2:1:4.  I also created a stand so that it is self supporting as a demonstration piece.


I started out with a 2D drawing and lasercut this out of 1/4″ plywood.

Here’s the cutsheet

All the parts layed out.

Assembled on the center bolt, you can see clearly how the planetary gear will work.

Once I stood it up, some new parts were required due to the balance of the thing.

Finally, the drawings I used to create the gear-machine and the layout used for the lasercutter


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Instructor: Nick Gelpi TA: Skylar Tibbits TA: Varvara Toulkeridou
Class Times, Monday, 1-4pm - room 5-216
4.184 is an intensive introduction to methods of making explored through a wide range of brief but focused 1-week exercises. We'll engage the real and leave behind representation in the focused context of this class gaining skills for utilizing a range of fabrication machines and technologies from lasercutting, waterjet, 3D printing, welding, formworking-molding, casting, gears, joints and composites.
In this workshop we'll constrain ourselves to the territory of the 1:1. Students will represent architectural constructions at full scale and develop a more intimate relationship with technology by engaging the tools and techniques that empower us. We will gain access to the most cutting edge machines and technologies in the MARS lab at the Center for Bits and Atoms.
The second layer of information for this course will be to look at a series of case studies in which construction methods and technologies have played a dominant role in the design process .
Over the past 20 years, architects have focused on the technology of representation to create new ideas of what architecture could be. Looking back today, much of that research failed to substantially change the way we design buildings by focusing on apriori formal configurations. This class makes the contention that this failure comes from a lack of considerations of the potentials within fabrication knowledge. We look to the future of what building might become, given the expanded palette of personalize-able technologies available to us as architects. Students will participate in curious technological and material investigations, to discover the potentials, known and unknown, for these various technologies.
The sub-disciplines of what's drawn and what's built have been compartmentalized and disassociated as the representational tools of architecture have distanced themselves from the techniques of making. At the same time the technologies for “making” in architecture have provided us with new possibilities for reinventing how we translate into reality, the immaterial representations of architecture.


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