Contrivance is a modular wooden mechanism machine with a virtually endless amount of configuration possibilities. This mechanical demonstrator is more than just gears; it has nine different mechanisms to mix, match, and move. Contrivance is a do-it-yourself Rube Goldberg machine that will bring out the curiosity and inner child of anyone who interacts with it.


Countless Configurations

Contrivance has nine different mechanisms that can connect to one another as well as stack. There are more ways to arrange these mechanisms than could be done in a lifetime. Contrivance includes: three different sized spur gears, a Geneva wheel, kooky gears, a Scotch yoke, a tourbillon, a hypocycloid reducer, a linkage, elliptical gears, and a ratchet.

Build One, Build All

Contrivance is different from other woodworking projects in that it does not require every part to be made before it begins to work. Cut out a couple gears and the base board, and Contrivance starts coming to life. Its mechanisms can run by themselves, or they can connect to other mechanisms with no requirement of how many parts need to be built. Make just the mechanisms you want, or make them all.

Tourbillon Powered

A tourbillon (pronounced ‘tor-bee-on’) is the timekeeping mechanism in high-end mechanical watches. It takes a traditional watch escapement, and continually rotates it. This rotation helps to counteract the effects of gravity on the mechanism and increases timekeeping accuracy. Although Contrivance’s tourbillon isn’t designed to keep accurate time, it shows how this complex mechanism works, and when wound, it can drive some of Contrivance’s mechanisms.

Mechanism Math

Ever wondered what the math looks like that governs the motion of mechanisms? Of course, who hasn’t? The equations behind the motion of elliptical gears, Geneva wheels, and four bar linkages are outlined in detail in free PDF documents, available on the Tools page.


Size 10.25" h x 16.25" w

Motion Hand Powered

Free Downloads

Contrivance Sample Plans  

Contrivance Sample DXF  

The sample plans are a snippet of the purchased version. They contain a list of the tools needed, specifications for all required hardware, as well as samples of the wood patterns and assembly instructions.

The sample DXF file can be used to test CAM software compatibility. For builders with CNC machines, the purchased version of the plans contains DXF files for all wood patterns.
  Contrivance Woodworking Plans

Woodworking plans are delivered digitally via email.
Plans are sold securely through PayPal and are delivered through Payloadz.

Plywood parts can be cut manually with printable patterns in PDF format, or they can be cut with a CNC machine using the included DXF files.

Plans contain two PDF document sizes:
• 8.5" x 11" paper for instructions and small patterns
• 11" x 17" paper for large patterns


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