GearSketch is software we’re developing for learning about gears. It is aimed at students in the upper grades of primary school and works on your pc, tablet and smartphone.

Check it out for yourself at

The video below is of an earlier version of GearSketch and shows you how to draw and animate gears and chains.

20 Responses to GearSketch

  1. yuna says:

    hi frank
    this appilication is great
    by the way
    how to installed this application?
    thank you ^^

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  3. Bert says:

    Hi Frank,

    This is a great tool!
    I know it is built for primary school kids in the first instance, but if you could just add the functionality that people could set the diameter and number of teeth (or modulus), then it could be great for engineers too to have a very quick simulation about their (silly?) ideas!

    Great stuff!

  4. Tim says:

    Hi Frank,

    I agree with Bert. This is a fantastic program, and almost exactly what I am looking for. The thing is, it is very difficult to draw two gears with exactly the same sixe (same number of teeth). If you could add a way to define the number of teeth of a particular gear, this would be fantastic.


    • Wouter says:

      Hi Tim,

      Of course it would be possible to add such a feature. However, Frank has his priority with research, which directs the way the program develops. An option would be to start sharing the source code, so others could contribute to the development as well. Would you be interested, and would you have programming expertise nearby to add features?


  5. Bob says:

    This is an awesome program! I used in my POE (Principles of Engineering) class and my teacher loved it. A cool feature to work on would be a planetary gear system.

  6. Uygar says:


    I could only watch the video and I think this is a great tool for also engineers to test ideas. For future improvements it would be interesting to see the addition of planetary gears and the ability to modify the gear ratios more precisely.

    In addition, I am not sure if I am the only one who cannot run the app but I am encountering an error message everytime I try to run the application. Java ver. 7 is installed and I tried running the application both in IE and Chrome. If it will be helpful for debugging, I can share the error message.


    • Hi Uygar,

      I think there may be some problems related to java 7. Can you try to launch the software by downloading the jnlp file (right-click, save link as …) and double-clicking that?

      I’ll look into the problem further in the near future to see if I can get GearSketch to work correctly with java 7 in general.

      Thanks for your comments,

  7. Alex says:

    Great appilication !!!!
    Well done, very good job for me and my students.
    Thank you very much!

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  9. konradio80 says:

    Such an intuitive and fun way to create gears. Well done! :)

    A bigger canvas, planetary gears, simple object properties and tablet support.would be awesome. If you are still interested in an Open Source project I think I can get at least one of those improvements developed.
    Best Regards,

    • Hi Konrad,

      Thanks! I’m planning to spend some time over the next weeks cleaning up and documenting the GearSketch code in preparation for releasing it as open source on GitHub. I’ll update this blog when it’s available.


  10. Perri Carr says:

    Please do. I would like to try this with my class. My students would enjoy learning about gears with your program.



  11. Ysmael says:

    Excellent software! This is good for testing the approximate speeds on a gear train, especially when you get to choose which gear is the driver. Thanks!

  12. Ashish says:

    Simply AWSOME. You must add the functionality like how much speed it will provide as well as user should be able to provide the number of tooth. I’ll be eagerly waiting for such development.

    Thanks ..

  13. broken link to ? 1 Aug 2013

  14. Hi,
    This is a wonderful application, Im just wondering if it will ever be a stand alone app, perhaps through flash or such?

    I am a kinetic artist and this would help for some research Im doing.

  15. Mary says:

    My team and I used this software to teach a class of second year secondary students. We added a few of the features mentioned by some of you above, if you click on the gear, you can add and remove teeth and modify it’s rpm. The teacher liked it so much me decided to take it to a new level, and created a set of exercises with levels where you have to draw simple gear systems and maybe answer a question or two.

    The whole app was translated to spanish (it’s being used in Argentina) and we added a simple login and /stats section with metrics that tell us a few details like how many times a student played each level, the time it took him/her to solve it, etc.

    We uploaded it to a free instance of heroku for class usage, here’s the link if anyone is interested: you can create your own user if you like and test it.

    Hope you like it! :)

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