What is Wild Gears?
Wild Gears are the end result of a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 that set out to make a newer, better, spirograph like product. Each gear set is made from one solid sheet of 3 mm (~1/8 inch) acrylic that is laser cut to produce gears and rings.
How Do I Use Wild Gears?
Wild Gears are a drawing toy that are used with a pen and paper. The gears have holes in them where the pen is placed and then the gear is pushed around the ring.
The gears and rings can be used in a variety of ways.
By putting a gear in a ring in a gear in a ring.
or by rolling one gear around another gear
these are just a few of the ways to use Wild Gears.
What makes Wild Gears Special?
Wild Gears are designed to be superior to all other geared drawing toys that are on the market.
Wild Gears offers:
- More options. The gear sets come with a ring and a gear for piece which makes for far more combinations and versatility than any other set offers.
- High Precision. The laser cut gears have unsurpassed crisp gear teeth that work smoothly with minimal slip or play. This means that the design will come back to where it started, precisely and repeatably.
- Parallel Lines. This new innovation allows for making previously impossible designs, patterns, and art.
This video is a good example of parallel lines at work. In the video the three parallel lines are made by using the same hole in the gear and using two different sized 'doughnuts' or cylindrical spacers.
contrast that with the example of using multiple holes on one gear where the holes are close together as was shown in the first video at the top of the page (Wild Gears Creations #1).
Who likes Wild Gears?
Wild Gears has fans of all ages and genders around the globe. Children and adults alike delight in making new and beautiful shapes appear with their own hands and pen. At the maker fairs that I have shown Wild Gears at my booth has a large play space with pens and paper and many gears setup and it always intrigues me that there is a cycle to the space. For a while it will be only children playing and creating and then for a moment it will ebb and then the curious adults will rush in and play for a while before the tides change again and the tides of children return. There is a beauty and peace to using these gears and watching the shapes they make unfold beneath your hands that appeals to everyone from children to retired mathematics professors and all the spaces in between.
What about Wild Gears 2.0?
This project is going to fund the re-design and prototyping of an improved set of Wild Gears Gear Sets. The redesign will improve several key properties of the Gear Sets:
- Price: The redesigned Gear Sets will be 20% less expensive. These savings will come from a combination of techniques that I have learned to reduce laser cutting costs as well as lower base fabrication costs.
- Strength: The redesigned Gear Sets will be made a little be stronger. For the most part I have been very happy with how resilient the parts have been. The prototype sets have been put through rigorous stress testing at hands on craft fairs and maker exhibits. However there are just a few parts that I have found a just a little thinner (and more fragile) than I would like them to be. In some of the sets this will mean rearranging the pieces and in other cases something may need to be removed from the set. I will continue to strive to have the largest most diverse Gear Sets possible, but not at the cost of structural integrity. These gear sets should last for a very long time.
- Parallel lines / fiddly bits: Currently the ability to make parallel line designs uses tiny fiddly plastic 'doughnut' inserts. I have come up with a way to eliminate these disks which I would like to do so that there are fewer tiny pieces that can get lost. Only through prototyping can I confirm that the 'doughnuts' can actually be eliminated so while it is my goal to improve this feature it is not a solid guarantee.
- General Design Overhaul: Most of the Gear Sets have some features that I want to add or change to make them just that much better. The biggest changes will be to the Enormous Gear Set (formerly Mammoth Gear Set) which will receive a complete redesign which I am very excited for. This re-design will take the key elements of the Mammoth Gear Set (the biggest of the big gears, ~14-15 inches in diameter) and make a set focused solely around that. Please see the description of the Enormous Gear Set for more details.
The Gear Sets
Each gear set is a collection of all the pieces that are cut from one sheet of acrylic. The sheets come in two sizes 7 x 7 inches (18 x 18 cm) and 15 x 15 inches (38 x 38 cm). The smaller sheets are used to make the Compact Gear Set and the Encyclopedic Gear Set. The Larger sheets are used to make the Full Page Gear Set, the Strange Shapes Gear Set, and Enormous Gear Set.
More Details about each Gear Set:
- Compact Gear Set:
This set is a small versatile set with all the features packed into a beautiful little package. The current version of the design includes 14 gears (and rings) of various sizes. The only down side of this set is that due to its relatively small size the largest ring is 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter which means that most of the designs made with this set well be smaller than 4 inches in diameter. Although using two gears instead of a gear and a ring this set can make designs up to 28 cm (11 inches) in diameter.
- Full Page Gear Set:
This set was designed around the desire to have large page filling designs when working on standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper. This is a bigger, more comprehensive set with more of everything. This set has a diverse set of rings for making large bold designs. As with the compact gear set the gears included in this set were carefully chosen in order to provide as varied a set of design possibilities and geometries as possible for all the combinations of gears and rings.
- Strange Shapes Gear Set:
This set is exclusively non circular gears and is intended to be used as a companion set to the Full Page Gear Set (or Compact Gear Set). Non circular gears work well with the full range of circular gears and rings but using two non circular gears together is possible sometimes ( for more details about the whys and the hows of using non circular gears please see the "Non Circular Gear Use" section). Non circular gears can make a wide range of exciting, unpredictable, and asymmetrical designs that circular gears cannot make. They are more challenging to use and do take a bit more practice to master.
- Enormous Gear Set:
This set will make the largest gears. The set will provide a nested set of rings that will full fill the 15 inch sheet of acrylic. This set will contain some gears too but will primarily be focused on providing the largest set of rings possible. To that end it is recommended that the Enormous Gear Set be paired with another Gear Set. Think of it as the Extra-Large Design Expansion Pack.
- Encyclopedic Gear Set
This set is a collection of gears size 12-30 with very small (1mm) pen holes in a variety of configurations. Each gear comes with an 'A' and a 'B' style where they have the same patter of holes in the gear but one has them aligned with the gear teeth and the other has the holes aligned with the spaces between the teeth. This is on offer as a backer reward as the redesign will decrease the price, as with all the other gear sets, but not functional changes will be made to the final product in this case.
Backer Rewards Options
Stretch Goal #1 ($2500) : Pre-Christmas Delivery of Full Page and Strange Shapes Gear sets in addition to the Compact Gear Set. The additional funds will allow for faster turn around on the prototyping stages which is the primary source of delay.
Stretch Goal #2 ($3000): Modular Gear Set (puzzle piece set): This Gear Set would include a bunch of arc segments with interlocking puzzle piece ends, some end pieces, and some 3 or 4 way intersections. These pieces could be combined into bendy wavy squiggly shapes that gears could be rolled around. Some preliminary work has been done on the design but significant prototyping is still required.
Stretch Goal #3 ($4000): The Plentiful Gear Set: This gear set would be a companion set to the Full Page or the Enormous Gear Set. It would include a selection of larger gears for bigger designs. More gears makes for more diversity of designs that can be made.
Free shipping to USA
Free shipping to Australia
Free shipping to New Zealand
Free shipping to Canada for Early Bird Reward tier only. Please add $10 to pledge for other reward tiers. (This is a flat $10 that is added only once no matter if you choose one Gear Set or several)
Free Shipping to Europe for Compact Gear Set. For other Gear Sets please add $10 to pledge for Early Bird Reward tier and $20 for other reward Tiers. (These are flat $10 or $20 additions that are added only once no matter if you choose one Gear Set or several)
Backer rewards will be shipped form several points globally which allows for free shipping to several countries. If you do not see a specific shipping rate/option listed for your country please send a message or leave a comment and it will be added.
This is a Europe friendly project with regards to shipping. All rewards going to European addresses will be shipped from within Germany or the U.K. (details are still being finalized).
Packaged bound for New Zealand or Australia will be shipped out of New Zealand.
If you have concerns about any aspect of the shipping please send a message and every effort will be made to address it.
Non Circular Gear Use:
Each non circular gear is made up of portions of at least two different sized circles. For example a triangular gear might be made up of pieces of a 120 toothed gear (the sides) and a 24 toothed gear (the corners). This would make a very pointy triangular gear (also a ring). When using the triangular gear it would have to be used in rings that had greater than (or equal to) 120 teeth otherwise it will get stuck. Similarly when using the triangular shape as a ring for a circular gear to work in any gear with more than 24 teeth (the size of the circle used for the corners) will get stuck as it goes around the corners of the shape. These limitations are what make it hard to use two non circular gears with each other as there will often be a conflict between some of the side and corner dimensions.
Due to the nature of Kickstarter this project is funded in CAD (Canadian Dollars). The vast majority of the costs and fees associated with this project are in USD (US Dollar) and as such the baker reward levels are set with regard to approximate USD pricing. I am sorry for the increase in the Canadian Dollar prices but the currency conversion is too much to be able to ignore. If there is a significant improvement in the exchange rate prices will be adjusted accordingly.
Risks and challenges
One of the primary risks of this project is the timeline. I am aiming to have the Compact Gear Sets delivered Christmas with the other Gear Sets to be delivered by Feburary 2016. I know how short a timeline that is but my experience with my last Wild Gears kickstarter has shown me that iterative prototyping can be done very quickly with sufficient time and attention. The initial re-designed gear sets will be ready to prototype and test as soon as the project is funded. The final production and shipping logistics will be very fast for reward fulfillment once the designs are finalized due to the 3rd party laser cutting and shipping services I use to provide the backer rewards which I have found to be very fast and reliable. The risk of delay comes into play if the design and prototype iteration cycle takes more than 3 or 4 cycles then the designs won't be finalized in time to hit guaranteed Christmas delivery. The last Wild Gears kickstarter I ran took two prototype cycles after the kickstarter was backed. The updates to the design are no harder or more complicated than the initial design work itself so I see little reason to expect it to take more revisions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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