Gearing Up

In the first lesson, students will learn about different gear ratios. They will also design and 3D print their own gearing system. In the second lesson, students will use a simulator to test the various effects on a gearing system’s rotational speed when changing the number of cogs in a gear. Using the simulator, students will design their own 3D gearing system to reduce the rotational speed of a gear by a ratio of 60:1.
MathematicsDesign and Technology
Years | Grades
13th Grade | 18-19 years10th Grade | 14-15 years11th Grade | 15-16 years12th Grade | 16-18 years
Lesson 1: 45 minutes Print time: ~ 30 minutes Lesson 2: 45 minutes

gearing up trailer
Play 0:56


  • Extend knowledge of ratios
  • Use ratio notation, including reduction to the simplest form
  • Combine gears of differing gear ratios to achieve a desired ratio

Tools and equipment

  • Introduction video
  • 1 x laptop/computer with mouse and internet access
  • 1 x pen/pencil and planning worksheet
  • 1 x 3D printer and PLA filament
  • 1 x laptop/computer with mouse, internet access and DeeControl layering software for the BE3D eDee 3D printer
  • 3 x demonstration models (STL files provided in lesson materials)

Skill requirements

To participate in the lesson, students should be able to:
  • Design in TinkerCAD® or similar CAD on a beginner level

Gearing Up Walkthrough
Locked 13:22

3D models overview

  • Total print time 8 hours 20 minutes
  • Total filament 20.91 m
  • Additional non-printable components
  • Printed all at once
  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • 10.67 m
Compound gear system
  • 4 hours 50 minutes
  • 10.24 m
Note: Values are calculated for one set of models.

Lesson resources

  • Lesson plan
  • Worksheet
  • Walkthrough
  • Walkthrough video
  • Presentation
  • 3D models
  • 3D print instructions
  • Curriculum Alignment: ISTE standard compliant