What is Wild Gears?
Wild Gears is a geared drawing toy similar to the spirograph. Each Gear Set is laser cut from a solid sheet of 3mm clear acrylic to produce gears with crisp edges pleasing motion when used.
How do I use Wild Gears?
Wild Gears is a drawing device that is 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.
With Strange Shapes and many colours!
Or by using a gear in a ring in a gear in a ring
There are so many ways to use wild gears. Some of them have been collected here.
What makes Wild Gears Special?
Wild Gears is designed to be the very best geared drawing toy/tool on the market.
Wild Gears offers:
High Precision: The Gear Sets are cut with a laser. This gives crisp sharp 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.
Quality Materials: Wild Gears uses 3mm clear acrylic because it is strong and durable. The gear teeth don't bend or squish or get worn down through enthusiastic use. The clear acrylic is easy to see thought so that you can clearly see the design as it is being made; this makes it much easier to do. The material also has a pleasant thickness to it and a slight heft both of these properties help prevent the gears from hopping out of the ring. Anyone who has used a spirograph knows how frustrating that is and while it can still happen (pen technique is important) the material choice helps minimize that risk.
More Options: Gear Sets are designed to be engrossing and engaging; providing many pieces to explore and discover. Because the Gear Sets are laser cut every gear that is cut also produces a ring. This greatly increases the variety of designs possible. For example the current version of the Compact Gear Set has 15 gears and 100 different gear-ring combinations. Each of those combinations has many many design possibilities and gear-ring combinations are only the simplest of several different ways to use the pieces.
Parallel lines: By using small spacer pieces parallel designs can be made. Please watch this video to see how it works
By using a medium pen hole, making the design a first time and then adding the 'doughnut piece' to that pen hole and making the design again with the pen in the hole of the doughnut piece the parallel design is made. This is distinctly different from the design that is produced by using two side by side pen holes.
Strange Shapes: Wild Gears has a number of gear sets that feature non-circular gears. Be they triangles, squares, pentagons, clovers, dog bones, or other odd shapes they can all be used with the rest of Wild Gears for great and surprising effect.
More art can be found @WildGearsProject on Instagram
What is new in this campaign?
The Wild Gears version 3 Kickstarter campaign has a few main goals:
1. To improve the usability of existing gear sets by adding new features:
Tick marks around the gears and rings. Many times there are designs that involve moving the gear some number of teeth around the ring. The presence of tick marks makes this counting much easier.
These pictures are from initial prototype work and do not necessarily represent the final design.
Prime Factors. In addition to listing the tooth count for all gears and rings the prime factors will now be listed too. This makes it easier at a glance to have some idea of how many petals / points / lobes the design might have before beginning it.
Marked Pen Holes. A system of marking the pen holes will be used. This will make designs that use more than one pen hole much easier to do. Both tally marks and numbers have been initially prototyped and are being assessed for best suitability. First choice is to number the pen holes but there are several practical considerations that need to be overcome still.
Easy to Read Numbers. Improved lettering and engraving techniques will make the numbers and letters on the Gear Sets much easier to read. Indicator lines that point between a gear tooth and a feature in the middle of the gear. This will make it easier to tell what gear tooth to use for features that are not at the edge of the gear or are otherwise ambiguous.
Axis of Symmetry marks on non-circular gears. This will make it easier to have symmetrical designs when using non-circular gears.
Marked Doughnut Pieces. Tiny tick marks are going to be engraved on the doughnut pieces so that the different sizes of them can be more easily differentiated.
2. To expand on the Wild Gears realm by debuting some new Gear Sets
Adjunct Gear Sets are introduced and will feature the:
1. Triangle Ring Gear Set: Exploring the theme or adding a triangle to the concept of hoops.
2. Rulers Gear Set: After some requests, and seeing this video, I decided to explore a similar shape. I think that this piece has interesting potential.
The prototypes are quite new so I haven't dived into the design exploration yet. Also, as you can see there are no numbers or other useful markings on this early prototype. Those will be added.
3. 5-Way Gear Set: A small expansion to the modular gear set that will take the concept of 3 and 4 way intersection pieces and make a 5 way intersection piece. The initial design work on this gear set is not done yet.
Simple Gear Sets: There will be additional new versions of the Compact Gear Set and the Full Page Gear Set called the Simple Compact Gear Set and the Simple Full Page Gear Set.
These versions of the gear sets will be designed to be easier to use and more durable. Ease of use will be achieved by removing some elements that are the hardest / most technically challenging to use. Strange shapes will either be removed or substituted with an easier to use strange shape. Pen holes will be removed from the very edge of the gears as those are often the first that are used and also the very hardest to make work. Removing some elements will allow for more space between the rings which will make the frame stronger. Also by removing some design elements these simple versions can be offered at a lower price point
3. There are some other ambitions tucked into stretch goals
Additional Large Gear Set, name to be determined: This gear sets will be exploring the theme of Gear in gear in ring systems.
By making one gear (60 in the picture above) with another gear cut out of it (24 in the picture above) it makes a ring (24) in the gear (60) so that if the 60 gear is put into a larger ring and a gear smaller than the internal ring (24) is used then the three pieces work together to make designs not possible any other way.
This theme has not been concretely explored by any other gear sets yet. It has been enabled by the decision to cut smaller gears out of larger ones. I want to explore it more methodically by picking a large gear, in the 120-160 range probably. This gear will be cut several times with many different internal rings being cut. This will allow for a more informed and systematic exploration of the design space rather than the limited exploration currently possible with only one internal ring choice for each gear.
Wild Gears Idea Book and technical manual:
I will collect all the knowledge and information I can into a digital document and distribute it for free with Wild Gears. Starting from basics and building on understanding and ideas this collection of knowledge will empower creativity and exploration. As I identify individual topics I will try and make short ( 5 minutes or less) little video vignettes to cover the idea too. The material will be image rich.
This is a bold and large undertaking with an extensive scope. I intend to share the working copy of the document regularly for feedback and just to make it available. I do not know how fast it will progress so it may or may not be finished by the Christmas delivery date for all Gear Sets.
Part of this undertaking will involve codifying notation for gear set designs. I have a half baked notation that I already use on my own doodles that I think can be generalized to a reasonable range of design types.
There has also been interest in more of a recipe book style guide that provides a picture and tells you how to make it. I will attempt to incrementally develop one of those too by making a new entry for most/some/all of the Wild Gears art that I post online. This way it will slowly grow.
Educational Bundle: I would like to collaborate with some educators to make a bundle of Wild Gears suitable for classroom or other educational uses. This will require some collaboration and more prototyping. Identifying the most useful learning elements and themes and highlighting those while finding ways to make the product even more durable and loss resistant are all important goals of this development.
Other new gear sets: To be revealed
Why does Wild Gears need another Kickstarter?
Wild Gears started as a passion project in 2013 when I realized that the thinks I wanted in a spirograph toy didn't exist and that I would have to make my own. From there Wild Gears has grown into an obscure brand with a website and a store and some social media presence.
I want to continue improving on Wild Gears; sharing the joy it bring me with other people and making it the best I know how. Occasionally, when I have collected enough improvements and new ideas, this means a larger re-design campaign. I make small changes and fixes to individual gear sets as they come up and can be fixed. But for a big overhaul of all the Gear Sets and designing some new ones I still need to raise these funds for the prototypes. While Wild Gears is growing and slowly getting more attention each year it is still fledgling.
It is my heartfelt wish that by the next time there is enough new improvements for a Wild Gears version 4 (probably in about 3 years, given previous history) that there will be enough Wild Gears sales to support that project; but Wild Gears isn't there yet. I love Wild Gears and want to keep making it better.
I hope that you fall in love with Wild Gears too.
Gear Sets, an introduction:
There are now three types of gear sets: Small, Large, and Adjunct.
All small gear sets are the same price, all large gear sets are the same price, and all adjunct gear sets are the same price. This makes building gear set bundles much easier.
Small Gear Sets are about 7 inches (18 cm) a side and cut from a sheet of clear acrylic 3mm (1/8inch) thick. Mixing metric and imperial units is a time honoured tradition here in Canada; I'll try and remember to list both side by side and I hope you'll bear with me.
Large Gear Sets are about 15 inches (38 cm) a side and also cut from a sheet of clear acrylic 3mm (1/8inch) thick.
Adjunct Gear Sets are generally the same size as the Small Gear Sets but cost less. This is because they explore a simpler theme which requires less laser cutting and therefor can be offered at a cheaper price. Adjunct Gear Sets were initially conceptualized to explore a singular theme simply and efficiently.
For example the triangle hoops set was initially prototyped to satisfy my curiosity about how those pieces would work because I realized that I'd never made a gear or ring with only one side circular and the other side triangular. I don't have a lager gear set to drop this design piece into but I think it is really cool and thus the Adjunct Gear Set is born.
Here is the roster of existing gear sets and a brief blurb on each sets theme.
Small Gear Sets:
Compact Gear Set: A core gear set with a bit of all the features packed into a cute little frame
Hoops Gear Set: A nested set of rings designed to provide as many large rings as a small gear set can.
Encyclopedic Gear Set: A collection of gears 12-30 with extra small pen holes (1mm) and two types of each gear where pen holes align with the gear teeth in one and the gaps in the other.
Large Gear Sets:
Full Page Gear Set: The other core gear set. Designed to make designs that fill a standard sheet of paper. Like the Compact Gear Set but much bigger.
Strange Shapes Gear Set: A collection of non-circular gears of all types.
Enormous Gear Set: Focuses on making the biggest rings possible (15 inches) and provides a large gear too. With this gear set you can make designs >1m in diameter.
Plentiful Gear Set: An addition to the Full Page Gear Set, adding more gears that didn't fit into the Full Page Gear Set.
Modular Gear Set: A collection of gear puzzle pieces that snap together to make wavy wobbly gear shapes that you can roll gears around. Comes with 3 and 4 way connectors to make very wacky shapes. The packing of the pieces in the Modular Gear Set will be improved to fit more pieces into the set for this revision. Early estimates suggest that at least 10% more pieces can be fit into the new version.
New Gear Sets:
- Triangle Ring
- 5-Way Modular Connector
Others to be announced
What Gear Sets Should I Get?
The Compact Gear Set or the Full Page Gear Set are excellent places to start. Those gear sets are designed to be stand alone products and complement each other very well. Once you have one or both of those gear sets you can add whichever ones you want. If you want the Strange Shapes Gear Set I would encourage having the Full Page Gear Set or the Compact and Hoops Gear Sets.
Base Gear sets to start with:
- Compact Gear Set or
- Full Page Gear Set
Some popular recommended bundles:
- Compact and Hoops Gear Set,
- Full Page and Strange Shapes Gear Sets,
- Compact, Full Page, Strange Shapes, and Enormous Gear Sets,
Get one of the base gear sets (Compact or Full Page) and then add whatever the heck interests you the most. Want puzzle pieces and wacky self made shapes? Get the modular gear set. Want circles but like, lots of them? Get the Hoops, Full Page, Compact, Plentiful, and Enormous Gear Sets.
If you want just one gear set:
- Small Gear Set : $55
- Large Gear Set : $105
If you want to receive multiple gear sets in your backer rewards you get a discount:
- Small Gear Set : $50
- Large Gear Set : $100
- Adjunct Gear Set: $15
Early Bird Backer Rewards:
If you want just one gear set:
- Small Gear Set : $55
- Large Gear Set : $100
If you want to receive multiple gear sets in your backer rewards you get a discount:
- Small Gear Set : $45
- Large Gear Set : $90
- Adjunct Gear Set: $10
More information and options for all reward tiers:
For all reward tiers you can claim a free adjunct gear set for every 2 large gear sets you back (count small gear sets as 0.5 larger gear sets)
Colourful acrylic options are available: fluorescent acrylic, and tinted acrylic. to upgrade to colourful acrylic of any sort please add the following amount per gear set:
- Small Gear Set : +$7
- Large Gear Set : +$14
- Adjunct Gear Set: +$7
What about stretch goals?
The stretch goals are:
$3000 New Large Gear Set (name to be determined)
$4000 Wild Gears Technical Handbook (digital document)
$5000 Either Educational Bundle or other New Gear Set (Educator collaboration pending)
$6000+ Unannounced ambitions
Production and Shipping:
Gear Sets will be produced in California or New Zealand and shipped directly to the backer. That is to say that production will happen in both those locations and will be shipped from the sensible one for each backer.
Exception: Backer Rewards for Canada will be produced in California, shipped as one batch to Vancouver where they will be re-packaged and shipped to backers across Canada. This allows me to offer much cheaper shipping for Canada and means that there is no international package fees to worry about.
Europe: Backer rewards will either be shipped directly from California or re-packaged and shipped from Canada depending on logistical constraints. Either way, there will be the possibility of some amount of import duty and VAT being applied to your backer rewards packages.
Where can I learn more about Wild Gears?
- Wild Gears Website
- The Previous Wild Gears Kickstarter "Wild Gears 2.0 reinventing the spirograph"
- Here is bunch of different ways to use Wild Gears
- YouTube at Wild Gears Creations (the Wild Gears YouTube channel)
- SpirographicArt.com has quite a bit to say about Wild Gears too
- They also have videos on YouTube
- Instagram @WildGearsProject or #WildGears
- Facebook Wild Gears page
- A great comparison review of Wild Gears vs. Spirograph by Wayne Schmidt
- A beautiful Wild Gears review video in Spanish by Delcopond
This project is also featured on justkicstart.com
Risks and challenges
The Goal of this project is to have all the Gear Sets delivered in time for Christmas. In practical terms that means that all the designs have to be finalized and shipment details confirmed before the last week of November. Each round of prototyping Wild Gears takes about a month depending on how complicated revision and prototyping is. This Kickstarter project will conclude at the end of June which leaves 5 months for prototyping and design finalization. This means that there is room for up to 5 rounds of prototypes for any Gear Sets that need it. In previous rounds of Wild Gears design work the Modular Gear Set was one of the most challenging to get the designs right on and that only took 3 rounds of prototypes. It was completed in so few rounds of prototyping because each round of design explored several possible solutions in parallel to whatever problem was being overcome in that round of testing. This parallel design speeds up the iterative process considerably. With that in mind I have every confidence that 5 months of design and prototyping time will be more than sufficient to finalize all the Christmas deliverable gear sets.
Past Financial Experience:
With any Kickstarter project there is always a risk that the project will wildly misjudge the costs or fees associated with completing the project and be unable to deliver. Wild Gears has a proven track record of delivering on time and estimating costs accurately. My experience with the production and prototyping costs, international logistics fees, and design optimization techniques makes me confidant in the financial soundness of this project.
There are so many exciting things I want to do with Wild Gears it would be incredibly easy to get overwhelmed with cool ideas that proved to be too numerous to implement well. Each time I expand the Wild Gears line of Gear Sets I do so with careful thought and caution so as not to commit to things that I cannot do. The Modular Gear Set is a great example. I initially envisioned it during the first Kickstarter campaign but my first round of exploratory prototyping showed me that I was way out of my depth in some of the key aspects needed to make it work so I postponed that really cool idea for two years. By the second Wild Gears Kickstarter campaign I'd learned enough to be able to tackle that design problem competently. It was still a challenge but I understood the edges and boundaries and limitations.
I am excited to explore new things with Wild Gears and look forward to creating imaginative new Gear Sets. I am also careful to temper that excitement with a dose of practicality, ensuring I have a game plan about how I will tackle the new creative design challenges new Gear Sets will pose.
Delivery Date and expectations:
Gear Sets will be delivered in time for Christmas. Assuming backer surveys and information is provided in a timely fashion. Previous projects have had no problem hitting delivery goals and have had extra buffer time in the design pipeline. If there is a concern about backer rewards being delayed those possibilities will be communicated clearly with backers as soon as they are known. With that information would come a project status update, revised milestones, and new delivery projections.
Designing new things is always uncertain; they're new. The interative improvements that are being applied to the designs of the existing gear sets are much less uncertain and will require fewer rounds of prototyping to get right. My extensive experience with prototyping Wild Gears will help me avoid simple pitfalls and make the most of each round of design work. The budget is informed by my previous rounds of Wild Gears design work. I have a good idea of how much each stage of prototyping will cost and have budgeted for marginally more prototyping per Gear Set than was required for Wild Gears version 2. This gives space to get the designs right while keeping the budget as tight as I reasonably can based on my best informed estimates.
This campaign is conducted in Canadian Dollars while the majority of the expenses for the campaign will be paid in American Dollars. If the currency conversion rate changes drastically this will impact my ability to pay the bills. The only thing I can do to secure against massive international currency fluctuation is convert the funds that will be needed for production and prototyping into American Dollars as soon as they are received. That being said, it would require unprecedented volatility to cause a major problem for this project.
International Shipping Logistics:
Having fulfilled two previous Kickstater campaigns using similar processes I have a solid understanding of the costs and limitations of the shipping methods I will be using. One always tries to improve so there will be attempts to make aspects of shipping better, faster, or cheaper however should those aspirations not pan out I have a suit of tried and true options, methods, and prices to fall back on.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)