Gearbox made from 3D printed parts and rubber bands

This insanely swell 3D printed, rubber-band driven gearbox is Michael Curry's entry into the Thingverse Rubber Band Challenge.

3D-printed, rubber-band-powered gearbox


  1. This is not a “gearbox” in the sense where gearbox means “transmission” (which is the only sense in which I’ve ever heard it used). It’s just a rubber band winder with a reduction gear on it.

  2. It’s weird to see all those Allen head screws and ball bearings used with that cream-colored plastic. I expect to see aluminum in that environment.

    Crazy thought for recycling old plastic consumer electronics waste: The 3D printer I visited earlier this year uses a spool of ABS plastic “wire” as its material. Why not make a machine that will grind up discarded ABS plastic gizmo housings and use the resulting granules as the raw material for 3D printing? Recycling and make-it-yourself, all rolled into one.

    1. The RepRap guys are working on that. With the rise of home 3D printing, there will be lots of failed, broken or prototype parts, so they want to make the fabber eat them, chew them up and use the plastic again.

  3. i wonder how long those gears would last if one hooked up a electric motor and just left it running.

    1. The gears will probably last quite a while – the printed, plastic gears on my reprap extruder are mounted on a stepper motor and see a fair bit of torque, and I’ve got about 300 hours of continuous run time on them. One guy has printed over 60 Mendels with his geared extruder now; that’s roughly 4 months of continuous runtime. He runs his machine day and night. Check it out here:

      The geared extruder is thing #1794 –

      Not as fancy as the rubber band gearbox thing, but it’s turned out to be pretty useful for a lot of people.

      1. Thanks, this reinforces my suspicion that 3D printers could be used to make non-metallic spare parts to order for things like washers rather then order them from some warehouse or get a new machine.

        There goes the disposable consumerism that fuels modern capitalism…

        How long before we hear about some *AA like corporate org raiding hackerhouses with the help of SWAT?

  4. Only two of those gears appear to be doing the work of a gear reduction. The rest is eye candy. Nice work none the less. I think I would replace useless gears with a latch and release lever mechanism.

  5. If he builds a bigger version of that it will probably create perpetual motion, or so we’ve been told.

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