Gearbox, designed by Tan Aik Wee of Singapore’s Temasek Polytechnic’s Product and Industrial Design course, is a 3D printed toy that teaches the movement and direction of gears to young children (7 to 10 years old). From stationery to engineering devices and transport, gears are present in our daily lives and are important. Aik Wee uses his creation of toys to introduce gears to children at an early age.

His toy set consists of 3 different levels, a basic set with 2 gears in the shape of a Pig, an intermediate set with 2 gears in the shape of a Bird and finally, the advanced set with 3 gears in the shape of a Dragon. From basic gear movements to angled gears, more dynamic movement and to rack and pinion, Aik Wee achieved his educational toy set with the help of 3D printing. The packaging also serves as both the container and the background while playing.


For this project, the 3D prints were rather large and Aik Wee 3D printed the entire dragon and bird out with Siege. Although his design had many curves and sharp tips, Aik Wee managed to 3D print them out by slicing the parts into smaller ones with flat surfaces for better 3D printability. 3D printed in white PLA and at 200 microns, the product designer then post processed all the parts to make them smooth and coloured and ready for display. The finished 3D printed dragon looked ferocious!

Integrating educational values into toys such as Gearbox is definitely forward thinking. With 3D printing, the toy can take on any shape and size to suit the preferences of the child!