Picture of CNC Spirograph
Some months ago I remembered a drawing tool I played with as a child, the Spirograph.  Searching local stores only resulted in a small, poor substitute in plastic, of the ones I remember. Thus the inspiration and the idea for this project grew. I have a background in fabricating Museum, Zoo and Nature Center exhibits. For 25 years I was asked to build the most amazing things. This project would be no problem.
The design in mind included;  #1) large enough to fill an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper,  #2) the holes would fit fine-tipped Sharpies,  #3) the “look” would be industrial gear-like,  #4) made of wood, not plastic,  #5) be durable considering children would use it.
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Step 1: Your STUFF

Picture of Your STUFF
Things you need / Materials and equipment list:
Gear Generator Program      (
Vector Drawing Program
CAM generator
Mach3, EMC, or similar   ( (
CNC Router or a contract fabricator – (
Tooling Bits
Portable Drill
Staple Gun or screws
X-Acto, utility knife, something sharp
Baltic birch plywood – ¼” 5 ply or similar
Sandpaper or foam blocks
Children for Beta test

Step 2: My STUFF

Picture of My STUFF
(Things I need)
Dust collection system
Writing skills
Photography Skills
More tools
Bigger tools
Faster tools


I've been asked to make a spirograph to make street-art, so a BIG one.

Is it possible to buy your CAD -files ?

JON-A-TRON1 month ago

Thanks for the thorough instructable on a great project! The proportions of the parts of your gears are really beautiful.

drmoses908 months ago

My daughter would love this! I had one when I was a kid. Would you be willing to sell me the file CNC?

joel zomer2 years ago
may be unwittingly providing the dxf loose this wonderful work?
gtoal2 years ago
I know you don't like plastic but for people with vinyl cutters rather than CNCs, I'm wondering if something similar could be done by cutting gears out of some other material (vinyl cutter limitations would require it to be no more than roughly 1/8in thick, and no stiffer than cardboard).
mrgrove3 years ago
Very nice but is there a chance you can post your CAD files?
Great instructable!

May have to try to make a set on my Sherline CNC...

I don't see no examples of how good the Spirograph works!

Please have the children post some pictures of there artwork!

Could you attach the files you used! Vectors? Gcode?
Great inspirational project!

I agree with Greasetattoo though... examples... files...?
fstedie3 years ago
Pretty cool. I made some on my laser cutter with acrylic but not as nice as these...
dagaherz3 years ago
I loved this "app" when younger...
May you consider to distribute abroad?!? I want one!!!
Lindie3 years ago
Very nice!
bldoug19503 years ago
Me too?
guido6663 years ago
Great idea!

Do you have DXFs, or other CAD files, for the gears, that you would be willing to post?
mbtria3 years ago
Spirograms have always fascinated me, and you have created a really nice set of a size that can give you some really spectacular tracings.

You might want to try some oval tracks where the length is significantly greater than the width.

Some of the more interesting designs would be difficult to produce with machinery, but rather be done on an x-y plotter or similar computer graphics output device. For example slowly decreasing the radius of of one or both of the wheels for each incremental move of one wheel. I did some software that did that, but lost it when the plotter died.

Great work, and another justification to add to my pile for buying my own CNC router.
Uptonb3 years ago
Congrats on being a finalist, and good luck!
pooh14853 years ago
Also I noticed how you were setting your Z to 0000 you can get a tool set that works well with Mach3 on ebay for 20.00, or they are easy to make they are very handy when using different thickness material.It will set your bit to zero using Mach3 and you wont have to touch your router when zeroing out.
pooh14853 years ago
Nice work, take a look at my structable in the cnc section 0% dust brush for rotozip, I believe you can get the vac att. to fit your router this works so well I am able to run my machine in the house, that is when my wifes out anyway very nice work
raviolikid3 years ago
I had a Spirograph when I was a kid. I loved it! I don't have the equipment to do this project - but the only thing I can think of to add would be some pictures of the designs that can be made with your project. It's possible that not everyone would know what this can do. (You want to make me one?)

Good job!
spike35793 years ago
First Instructable and featured!