Geared Shop Sign

Hi everyone,

I threw together a quick video showing how my shop sign works:

I did want to pose a question–Any ideas with how to better drive the gear on the bottom right (that I’m moving with my fingers in the video)? I’m thinking a small handle or lever on the outside of the frame, but I’m not really sure how to attach it so that it would drive the bolt in the small gear:

Right now I’m only using nuts, bolts, and washers. I used them as a quick and dirty way for prototyping this out, but I know there has to be a better way. If I tighten the nuts too far, the gears won’t rotate…

If there’s a DIY solution to better support the gears and “gear shafts” I’m all for it! Ideally it’d be fun to have another piece made on the Shapeoko to complete the whole set :slight_smile:



I made a stage prop for our Vacation Bible school one year, with gears. I used roller blade bearings (Amazon <$10), with shoulder bolts for the axles.


5/16 bolts fit nicely in a skate (608) bearings .


Thanks! Bearings are a good idea. If only I hadn’t designed this thing for 1/4-20 bolts :sweat_smile: I’ll look around for some other sizes of bearings. Bearings press-fit into the frame would be convenient I think.

I automatically think of the 608 bearings because of PTSD from the fidget spinner thing.


Why would you need bearings? Does this thing “spin” or just rotate?

Extend that bolt out further, add a larger diameter knob and put double nuts on it to keep it tight. Epoxy if you have to. (Maybe put a knob on both sides.)


'cause I want to make a motorized version.


Double nuts is an easy solution for me. And I’ve got epoxy as needed. Thanks for the suggestions @CrookedWoodTex

@neilferreri I think a V2 of this design is in order!

Would brass bushing inserts do? I have a big bag (hundreds at least) of these since they were about to be thrown out.

Let me know if you want to mess around with these I’d be happy to mail you some.


I’ve seen drive trains that rotate a threaded rod that meshes with the gears (a screw, basically). I’m not sure if you can get a production-made screw that would match the spacing on your bottom gear, but you could probably gear down to one that does. The motor rotates the screw and the screw is in contact with the teeth of the gear.

Worm drive:

1 Like

Thanks a bunch for the offer! I think I am set for now. What was your original use for them? I’m guessing they don’t come in 2-packs…

@GJM Thanks Gary, that’s a great idea for a v2 or even a v3. Imagine a wooden worm drive!

I ended up throwing together some extra nuts on the end as @CrookedWoodTex alluded to. Not as pretty as I’d like since I just used some spare spacers and a gear that were leftover from this project. It’s definitely more ergonomic and easier to turn now (although maybe more ugly…)
Quick video:

Thanks everyone for the help!! I really appreciate the suggestions.


This is so awesome, I’ve got to figure out how to combine it with a stepper motor and Arduino to make a clock, wouldn’t want to miss CNC time…or other things!

1 Like

I actually work in the precision plastic gear industry. We had these from an overmolding job that must have fallen through; it was before my time. We did a big 5S at our facility and they didn’t make the cut. I didn’t have the heart to throw them out so they’re collecting dust in my basement.

1 Like

@RoughDraft40 Ahh good ole goodies from work, nice!

@MikeG thanks! I’m glad it’s inspiring some cool stuff.

Now, wrap some “duck” tape four or five times around that handle, and you’ve successfully used the Red Green “handyman’s secret weapon.” :smiley:


Ha! That would be icing on the cake :grinning:

This forum keeps giving me opportunities to discover new cultural references. I had to look this up because I had no idea what you were referring to :slight_smile:


This topic was automatically closed 30 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.