Laser Cut Cupid




This laser cut Cupid automata uses gears and linkages to come to life. Turn the handle and watch him fly!

This project was originally published on A full kit of laser cut parts is available for purchase here.

I've made the pdf file of parts available for everyone to download for free. You'll need to adapt it to suit the file format of your particular laser cutter. If you don't have a laser cutter you may be able to use one in one of the many FabLabs and Hacker Spaces which are springing up all over the world.

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Step 1:

As well as all the parts shown here cut from 3mm laser ply you will also need a selection of 6mm diameter dowels cut to length as follows.

6mm x 4 : 9mm x 3 : 15mm x 5 : 25mm z 2 : 35mm x 1

Step 2:

Start by fitting two 9mm long dowels into one of the body sides. They should be a tight fit so you may need to tap them into place with a hammer.

Glue the body middle into place, tap it down and add another thin film of glue.

Fit the other side into place.

Step 3:

You'll need four 3mm cube neodymium magnets to attach the wings. I purchased a set from eBay for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

Glue the four magnets into the slots in the body using strong epoxy adhesive (Araldite)

The glue holding the four magnets will need to dry completely.

Step 4:

Snip the end off a paper clip to make a crude drill.

Use the drill to make two small holes in the edge of both wings.

Bend a length of paper clip so that it fits neatly into the two holes.

Press the staple home and glue it into place with epoxy.

Step 5:

Make a small 'U' shape from a length of paper clip and glue it into the slot on the wing.

Step 6:

Notice that the larger gears are marked with either an 'x' or an 'o'

Pair up the two 'x's as shown joining them together with glue and two 6mm dowels. the dowels must be flush with the surface of the gear. If necessary, file the dowels down. Repeat with the 'o' gear.

Fit the gear inner into place with a 15mm dowel on either side as shown.

Step 7:

Fit the push rod over the dowel as shown then fit the other gear into place. the push rod must be free to rotate completely inside the gear.

Step 8:

The top front of the smaller gear parts are all marked with an 'x'.

Fit together two gears and the gear inner with two 15mm dowels.

Add the other two gear pieces.

Push the 35mm dowel through the gear so that it sticks out roughly 10mm on one side.

Step 9:

Assemble the linkage as shown carefully gluing it together.

Join the linkage to the push rod with a 9mm dowel. Make sure that it rocks up and down freely.

Step 10:

Fit one of the sides onto the two base pieces.

Fit the linkage and large gear followed by the small gear into the holes in the side piece.

Fit the other side pace into place.

Step 11:

Make up two wing push rods from straightened out paper clips.

Slip the body onto the push rod so that it is facing towards the small gear.

Fit the two wing push rods into the two holes on the end of the linkage.

Step 12:

Hook the other end of the wing push rod into the loops on the wings.

Lift the wing up so that it snaps into place on the magnets.

vRepeat the process with the other wing.

Step 13:

Fit the handle parts to the shaft on the small gear.

Cupid Complete!

Turn the handle and watch Cupid fly!

Supercharged Contest

Participated in the
Supercharged Contest

9 People Made This Project!


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19 Discussions


3 years ago

Great model - I love it.

There is, I think, a tiny error in your .pdf. You have 4 small gears, all marked X. Two of them should be offset by half a tooth and marked with O to match the offset of the big gears. Otherwise a PERFECT present for a spouse or partner....!

1 reply

4 months ago

Really loved your Cupid ;) I made it with some small adjustments. Your work and tutorial were very complete. If I made it again, I would mirror image some parts, so traces of my laser burning the backside could be all on the inside of the finished model.


Question 7 months ago on Step 1

Hello Rob? Love the cupid. I am a newbie to laser cutting and a tech teacher. My class has just got a laser cutter Emblaser 2. I am getting the seniors to make Automata. They are newbies as well. Could you please tell me the best software to design linkages and gears, cams etc on as I am struggling with free cad....Tinkercad seems ok and currently playing around on gear generator. With students it would be easier to teach one package to all. The package that came with the printer is lightburn and it is ok, a bit like Inkscape. Any help appreciated. Thanks. Laaland, Melbourne Australia.


Wow! This is amazing! We're going to give this a go for next Valentines Day for sure! Thanks for the great Instructables!


5 years ago on Introduction

How do you go from PDF to Laser Cutter? The people I contacted weren't able to produce from PDF...

Sorry if the answer is obvious to those 'in the know', I'm new to laser cutting...


1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

The software I use has an import option which includes pdfs. What format do they want? I might be able to add the appropriate file to the project page.


5 years ago on Introduction

Great work as usual Rob. I have been wondering when you would make the leap from paper to laser cutting ???

Hoping you'll still make paper models <3

1 reply

5 years ago on Introduction

I'm not sure how to take this.

The crude looking metal links detract from the precision laser produced components. They belong on a "hand made" equivalent.

Also, epoxy does not dry it "cures"

1 reply

5 years ago on Introduction

Delightful. Love 3d stuff that moves! I too am lusting after a laser cutter.