Introduction: 3D Models of Gears for 3D Printing

Picture of 3D Models of Gears for 3D Printing

3D models for gears can be created different ways - each way has pros and cons

  • Calculate parameters for gears manually - diameters of gear wheels, angles of teeth, etc. Create a 3D model in CAD software. Print models, test, correct, repeat...
  • Measure existing gears and use these parameters to create 3D model in CAD in the way as above. It's not easy to find gears similar to needed (even when they can be scaled)

  • Take the photo of existing gears (e.g from a toy car), print it scaled, put on the display and draw the 2D geometry in CAD - to reproduce gear's shape. This is more easy than in previous steps, but also required to find similar gears (or at least their picture)
  • Use graphics software with build in gear-generation features. E.g Inkscape (graphics editor with extension which renders a gears), FreeCAD (free CAD software), etc.
  • Use a program which generates geometry of gears by specified parameters - this way is describes in this video instruction.

Software used in this instruction:

  • Gear Generator - this is not free software. It allows to generate 2D geometry of gears and export it to dxf-file
  • PTC Creo Elements/Direct Modeling Express 6 - this is free software which allows to create quick and easy mechanical models for prototypes. This product allows to create models the way similar to solid modeling - but more simple. Version 6 has a great new feature - export 2D geometry on a workplane, this feature is used in the instruction.
  • Netfabb Basic - this is free software which allows to fix STL-geometry or rotate parts.
  • KISSliser - this is free software (with additional features available in purchased version). Prepare STL-geometry for 3D printing - slices and translates to G-codes.

Step 1: Video Instruction


unkerjay (author)2016-01-27

You can add gears via Blender as well, which is also free software:

Add Gear addon:

Shift-A to bring up the menu shown.

unkerjay (author)unkerjay2016-02-04

I've read elsewhere that "involute" gears are more accurate and desirable:

Towards that end, I add this, which EXPLICITLY allows for the creation and
modification of "involute" gears.

This addon for Blender EXPLICITLY creates "involute" gears (just
tested on the latest version of Blender as of this writing: 2.76b.
Working. It's NOT the default addon.

More info here:

and here:

Download here:

Youtube - Default (built-in) Add Gear option (may be all you need):

revrekad (author)unkerjay2016-02-04

Thank you for sharing. This is a really good free option. Also great to be able to make bevel gears - which is usually challenging task.

Involute gears are especially good when you print relatively medium or large gears because - deviations during printing degrade involute contour (at least on my printer).

This would be really nice to have such option as a pair of gears generation as Gear Generator has.

Some theory about gears

unkerjay (author)revrekad2016-02-05

Thank you for that. Now, if I was only smart enough to understand it.

Still, as an explanation of the theory of gears, I'm sure it will prove

In my research, I came across this:

Now THIS guy KNOWS gears (AND Blender) A beautiful, functional,
if not (his words, real world) work of art.

"a real-life fabrication of this mechanism wouldn't be able to bare significant torque"

unkerjay (author)unkerjay2016-02-05

Just for clarification, I'm sure YOU KNOW gears too.

I meant more in reference to ME than you.

revrekad (author)unkerjay2016-02-07

I did not know about this awesome work related to gears done for Blender. Thank you for this information!

I do not know much about gears. I just learn some theory while playing with OpenGL within my example program, which can also generate simple spoor gear geometry.

gada888 (author)2014-09-11

Thanks for sharing