Asymmetric gear heart sculpture

Here’s a video of a mindbending piece of papercraft engineering. We’d love to see a 3D model for this heart to at least have a starting point when designing our own. The creator’s site is in Japanese though, so it’s hard to glean any insight into his process. Embedded below is a similar cube version.

[via Waxy]


  1. hanson says:

    Wow! Makes me want to make one!

  2. bazacko says:

    Wow. My mind was blown when he started turning it.

  3. Tessai says:

    omfg….i wanna make one out of aluminum

  4. Rivetgeek says:

    man that was boring as hell till he started turning it then, wow.

  5. nick says:

    that is really cool

  6. amk says:

    Wow. I’m still having trouble wrapping my brain around this. In both the heart and cube version there is only one gear that rotates about a single axis, and it’s at the base of the object. How are the rest of the parts held in place?

    Leave it to the Japanese to create something so impressive out of paper, which aside from it’s artistic value is essentially worthless.

  7. Witchcraft! I’m quite certain such mechanical engineering is quite impossible without communing with the morning star…

  8. bryn says:

    what devilry is this! this is amazing! At first I thought it was just a cool sculpture. then it started MOVING! way cool

  9. Solenoidclock says:


  10. pip says:

    Holy snap. This is amazing…. but not a hack :)

  11. ninethcircle says:

    i bet the pieces are held in with a flexible axle maybe made from a spring or something so they cant fall out but can still move around somewhat… my god though. they must have made this with cad or something and printed out on card stock or something?????????

  12. unmannedanimal says:

    in the heart, there is a vertical axle and (i think) four horizontal axles: two intersect above the bottom gear (e.g. x,y,z axis) and the other pair is below the top gear in the same fashion. the “illusion” is a product of the width of the individual gears.

  13. Mredison says:

    Pretty cool… At first it seems like the gears are asymmetrical, but they are actually just cone shaped, bevel gears meshed to fill a volume, then their outer ends are shaped to form the heart or cube. Once you set up the group of gears, you could probable carve it to any shape you wished.
    The bottom gear is probable freely turning on a hollow shaft, with a central axle driving the top gear which in turn, drives all the others. Like the bottom gear, the other driven gears are mounted to the fixed hollow shaft.
    Take a look at ‘bevel gears’ on wikipedia, and you should be able to figure out how it’s done from the diagrams.

  14. unmannedanimal says:

    just watched the box, it has the same underlying structure.

  15. MattieShoes says:

    Holy cow that’s awesome! The basic idea isn’t overly complex but I’d have never thought of applying it like that.

  16. NeoGenesis says:

    That’s nothing guys, check out this site:

    This guy can take a single A4 sheet of paper and turn it into many things.

    Some of the works are incredibly simple, yet brilliant.

    I tried making one of these, TRIED being the key word lol.

  17. says:

    That’s the most awesome thing I’ve seen in a long time.

    I’d so buy one it it were built out of something more durable.

    And for sale.

  18. barry99705 says:

    needs a motor.

  19. Jan says:


    Thanks a lot for this great link. I usually have a limited understanding of art, but his works are absolutely grand.


  20. pcairic says:

    the gears are not assymetric, they are just conical gears, cut in a hear or cube shape.

  21. drum365 says:

    Reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke’s famous quotation, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” But this is more like sorcery than magic!

    @pip: does something require electricity to be a “hack”? “Hack: n, A clever or elegant technical accomplishment, especially one with a playful or prankish bent.” (Urban Dictionary)

  22. mutant says:

    actually… the gears ARE asymmetrical…. look at the heart before he starts turning it. There is a big gear on the right side, but a small gear on the left…. the opposing gears aren’t congruent.

    All I have to say is:

    OMG! That thing rocks! It was so cool I actually posted a myspace bulletin with the embedded video in it.

  23. Small Yapping Dog says:

    Damn, that is neat!!! Some manufacuter should hire this guy to build the “hellraiser” puzzle boxes

  24. strider_mt2k says:

    simply amazing

    but you can’t get it wet

  25. Drew says:

    I already posted this on YouTube, but to anyone interested in making one of these, maybe my translation will help? I loved this too much to just leave others in mystery. Sorry it’s a bit long..

    “これは歯車のハートです (This is a heart of gears). この作品は,これやこれのように,十五の歯ついた歯車が三つ(This object has 3 gears with 15 teeth, like this and this).これやこれやこれやこれのように十の歯がついた歯車が九つ (It has nine gears with 10 teeth, like this, this, this, and this). 合わせて十二個の歯車で較正されております(Altogether, it’s comprised of 12 gears).
    これらの歯車は,全て,連合すとり,どれが一つを回すと,全ての歯車が回りようになっております(These gears, altogether & combined, revolve when any one gear
    is turned). それでは,回しています(And so, it turns)…..[ 回転中(revolving)]…..元に戻りました(And it’s back to it’s original form). 十五の歯車が,二回転,十の歯車が, 三回転で,元に戻るようになっております(Upon the 15 tooth gears revolving twice, and the ten tooth gears revolving three times, it
    all returns to it’s original form (the heart)). …..[ 回転中 (revolving)]…
    ..元に戻りました(..and it’s back to the original form). 以上です! (That’s all!)”

    My understanding is that there are indeed separate axles attached to the main vertical one, even though he did not state so. I’ll be reading his website to see if he gives any make information, but none yet.


    P.S.- I love the revitalized Hackaday! Keeps me thinking for projects up here in Sapporo.

  26. Drew says:

    That’s an earth puzzle made by the same guy, free download for anyone who wants to make one- just click on either of the 2 buttons below the pic. It gives you some insight on how he made the gears, I think, if you look at the pieces.

  27. Drew says:

    (last post, I promise!)- You can’t buy it, but according to the Japanese on his site, he will have a book out for sale from December, and I think it may have how to make these in it! I guarantee it’s only in Japan, though.

    According to his Japanese site, he originally wanted to cover a sphere with gears, and he did, but then he created this as a masterpiece- and it won a special prize at the World Karakuri Contest (karakuri is a Japanese term encompasing things like trick mechanism/complex mechanism/surprise movement)

  28. jeicrash says:

    Ok this is the guy that will bring us a working hell raiser cube. I await its arrival.

    And very cool.

  29. Michelle says:

    I wish I could share these with my other sites.

  30. Dharashiwkar says:

    Its amazing to see this.Let me know whether these are symmetric or asymmetric gears. Asymmetric in the sense pressure angle on drive side and coast side are differernt.If so How these gears are manufactured ?

    Thanks and waiting for reply.



  31. Thats an awesome sculpture. Nice post. Keep it up!

  32. Alright, i think that this is a good workout for cardio strength, i just need it proved

  33. DadaDa says:

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