Testing Spirograph

Aggiornato il: 28 mar 2019

Experiment n. 021-1°part

Gears and mechanisms which when applied in engineering enable us to produce an automatic or manual movement have always intrigued me.

It is fascinating watching children playing with with the spirograph, a gear-based drawing toy that produces complex geometric patterns and I decided to pursue an experiment with this method as a base to automate a movement.


Prototype a planetary gear mechanism, based on the spirograph concept, that is able to turn a rod and move a copper metal sheet with an arm.

This mechanism enables the opening and closing of the flexible parts of the metal so the light effect that is projected on the wall moves.


Materials: plastic gears and ring, motor, cardboard.

Dimensions: overall 12 cm x 15cm

Surrounding parameters: Studio

Testing proof of concept with a toy spirograph and motor while adjusting CAD drawings of gearings which will be laser cut soon.

1° pic motor rotatory rotation

2° pic: spirograph with yellow planet and blue ring

3° pic: spirograph from above

4° pic: close up yellow planet with a centre pivot

The rotatory motor underneath and the pivot point holding the yellow planet, it is, conceptually, the pen point that moves the planet to generate the geometric pattern.


Experiment n. 021-1° part

-- the centre of the motor has to be perfectly centred within the ring above.

- the ring has to be firmly fixed to the base so that it won’t move.

The rotationally moving parts are:

A. Planetary ring

B. Black Platform

Experiment n. 021-2° part


Materials: metal sheet 1mm thickness, paper ball as joint, fiberglass black sticks, tape.

Dimensions: overall 12 cm x 15cm

Surrounding parameters: Studio

I have positioned the object above the gears mechanism and connected the vertical black stick to the yellow planetary gear, which, when it moves will allow that metal sheet part to open and close.


- the base mechanism seems to be too complex for the simple movement I want to achieve at the lamp end.

- the movement is possible with this gearing but has to be very accurately studied and controlled.

I think a more simple mechanism will achieve this and I can use the planetary gearing base for a prototype that requires more modulation of pattern.

Refer to:

If you are interested on how I have developed this concept refer to:

Experiment n°


Useful website:



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