Introduction: Keuzevak Fablab


This is an instructable for a school project. The project is about working in the fablab in Rotterdam. For this workshop we have to use a 3d printer, laser cutter and some other tools. Here you can find the results of my project.


After combining the requirements of the project I came up to the idea of making a windmill. So more specific; print the gears for the turning of the wicks, laser cut the frame of the mill and put a motor into the mill so the wicks can turn.

MoSCoW list:

  • M - Make a raw design of the windmill, a frame and some gears
  • S - A better and more specified design of the outside of the windmill. Make a hinge by which you can open the mill to see and edit the inner parts.
  • W - the motor and light inside the mill. A button for the light.

Step 1: Materials and Sketches

Above some prototypes

The frame of the mill and the gears which will be placed inside the mill on a platform. the motor will be placed under the platform together with the battery. However I've changed the idea of the motor into a lamp because it wasn't going to work.


Below you see the materials and machines I've used (and materials I would use for my idea but which I didn't use)

Frame of the mill:

  • Wood for the frame of the windmill and the wicks
  • a laser cutter
  • inkscape or adobe illustrator to design the mill

Gears in the mill:

  • plastic to print the parts inside the windmill
  • 3d printer for the gears
  • a programs for the design
  • a round wooden bar with a diameter of 0.5mm

The electronical parts

  • a small light
  • a 9V battery
  • cables to connect the light with the battery
  • (button)
  • (motor)

To put all things together and make a final product:

  • some screws
  • two hinges to make it able to look inside
  • wood kit
  • a drill
  • a jig saw
  • a sander

Step 2: Designing

For the design of the gears I got a predesigned model from Thiniverse. (

I've changed the design by editing the shafts and the position of the gears. In the final product the shafts are made of wood instead of printed plastic. The centered little gears are set into the side and the top instead of the bottom, top and one side.

For the design of the house of the mill I've made an design in the program Inkscape. It took some time so I had no time left for details. During the designing phase became clear that the item 'making the mill more specific' would be skipped

The electronic drawing is made with the program fritzing

Step 3: Making Process

In this step I describe the process of making the mill. Above some pictures of the process

The first thing I've done is printing the gears. I used an UP! printer for it. It tooks in total two days to print all parts.

Next thing to do was cutting the designed things with the laser cutter. This brought some troubles because the laser was not able to cut the wood. The wood was going to burn after cutting it many times.The wood was too thick for the laser or the laser was damaged so I've finished this part of the process by using a jig saw.

So if you will make sure the laser cuts the wood you can change the design to a wood thickness of 3mm instead of 6mm and cut it using 3mm wood

I've glued the elements of the frame together with wood kit. The roof and the bottom were glued later because the gears and shafts must still be placed in the mill.

After this I've assembled the gears with the shafts. Here I came to the conclusion that the small motors I had weren't able to rotate the gears and the wicks. So I changed the idea a little bit. I turned the whole construction of the gears and I drilled two holes so the shafts stabbed out of the house. One at the side and one in the middle of the front at one line to the edge of the roof. One to turn on and one for the shaft of the wicks.

Now I glued the roof to the frame. Then I've screwed two hings at the top of the roof to hold the two parts of the roof together and make it able to open the roof for looking inside to the gears.

As a final thing you can make a light inside the mill. I've choosen to make the battery with the light under the platform of ther gears

Step 4: The Result

You can see the result at the pictures above.

To give the mill a finishing touch you can paint it . But if you have properly glued and the laser cutting has gone well, without burning the wood it is also nice to keep the original wood color.