Published on December 2nd, 2011 | by Jules Yap


The Gear Painting

Materials: RIBBA 52×52 Photo frame, LEDBERG (led strip)

I got this idea when I played around in SketchUp with the gear plugin. I had just bought and built my 3D-printer and wanted to build something cool. :)

I drew the whole gear-layout in SketchUp and started to print… The biggest gears as you can see in the pictures took about 2 hours to print. After some days of printing the gears starts to pile up…

IKEA gear art
IKEA gear art
IKEA gear art
IKEA gear art

I also needed a simple way of attaching the gears to the frame.
I tried different things like a piece of plastic on a screw then a washer, gear, washer… But it was too unstable. Then I decided that I needed to do it simpler.

Basically I just took a normal cardboard nail then I designed a small special washers that was a tight fit on the nail. Now the gear can rest on the special washer and I use the same washer as a lock on top of the gear. All mounted on a board of white painted Masonite.

Then move on with the gears, mount the motor and then on top the special printed washers.

The motor is an old cam timer motor that I have had for years just waiting for this…

Then the frame. I wanted the gears to be lit from inside, so I decided to use a led-strip-set called LEDBERG from IKEA. This set comes with only 3 strips, so I bought two sets to fill all 4 sides. I power all 4 strips with the same power supply. It can handle up to 8 strips I believe.

The power supply for the leds is a small converter (230v to 12v) that sits in the wall socket plug. But I needed to add power to the motor and remove some unnecessary cable so I cracked it open to take a peek what I could do about it.

So, to be able to connect the motor that runs on 230v and the led-strips that uses the power supply I needed a small electronics-box to mount it all in. Then I only want one cable coming from the painting going to the wall.

SketchUp to the rescue. :) I designed a new casing for all the things I needed and printed it out…

Fit it all together and added the hanger wire…

All done…
Note: The led strips are quite bright, so they will shine through the white cardboard in the frame. To avoid that I put another layer of cardboard on the inside of the white cardboard. :)

And more pictures on the link to the Hack.

And if you want to build your own, you can find all needed information on Thingiverse.

See more of the gear painting.

~ Erik Pettersson, Enköping, Sweden

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The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

12 Responses to The Gear Painting

  1. Gabe says:

    i love this project. it’s amazing piece of art!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Sheesh people. Did you notice that you are, err, online? Google is just one tab away.
    Nice work, saw similar thingy on Colbert Report, and that’s some nice piece of art you’ve made there.

  3. foggue says:

    very good! i want one! how much is it?

  4. Anonymous says:

    is it made out of paper or what?

  5. Wai HOong says:


  6. Anonymous says:

    if it prints and cuts, it’s not a printer! i’s something like silhouette or cricut machine.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Casino-Spam-Bot-Invasion? :-$

    Anyways, cool project.

  8. Snille says:

    Hi all, the printer is a eMaker Huxley that I got when I funded the IndieGoGo campaign here: http://www.indiegogo.com/eMAKER-Huxley-3D-printer-kits You will be able to buy the printer from eMakers web in the future: http://www.emakershop.com/ There are lot’s of 3D-Printers out there. Take a look at http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page The material used for the gears is called PLA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polylactic_acid It is a thin (1,75mm) string pushed through a 0,5m nozzle that is 200c hot and placed on a bed layer up on layer until the gear is built…

  9. Anonymous says:

    OMG…not necessarily a hack but WOW! I want one!!!!! :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    A 3D printer, prints anything in 3D.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, but barely a hack.
    what the gear are made of? how do you make them with a simple (ok maybe not that simple) printer? Please clarify me.

  12. Saskia says:

    I’m sure everyone is wondering this, how and where did you get the printer, and can I get it to the Netherlands?

    Cool hack btw :P

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