Gears are an under used basing theme in 40K.  Trying to find found objects with the large, stylized, cogs needed for hobby work is a tough challenge.  In this project, I’ll see about making my own gears for use in an objective marker.

resin gears

Time to fall back on my stand by:  clay molding.  Way back at the beginning of this blog Scott asked – “how much detail will the clay hold for the plaster?” clay shapes The answer is, a whole lot.  I set about making my gears using several diameters of PVC pipe to shape the main wheel and a 1/8 square of styrene to shape the cogs.  The clay faithfully held all of my poking and prodding, even the square edge of the 1/8 shape.  Scott asked if a skull shape could be used:  unfortunately, the undercut from the roundness of the skull will be lost.  The one thing clay can’t do is snap back into place to hold an under cut, only directly vertical strokes will be captured. 

Resin is used to fill the impressions in the clay.  If cast in plaster, the small sized clay resinpieces will not have the strength to survive the demold if cast in plaster.  When cured, remove the shapes.  The resin did not release cleanly from the clay (unlike the plaster) and I had to spend quite a bit of time cleaning the product.  Over all, the process was too time consuming, although I did get a good feel for the shapes I wanted to create.  In the future, I’ll cut rounds from the PVC using a pipe cutter & glue on cogs from styrene.  The one item that did work well was the 60mm base.  The impression was clean & I now have a raised tile pattern (which is not something you see every day.

End product:  sealed with super glue, gaps filled with Apoxie sculpt and ready for the mold box.



  1. #1 by Scott on July 31, 2007 - 10:21 am

    Wow, Rich, those gears are awesome. If you start producing these, I think I’d buy a couple.

  2. #2 by Aaron Schmidt on July 31, 2007 - 2:34 pm

    Nice! Very good work Rich! I was thinking about using clay for temporary, 1 part molds too. Interesting results!

  3. #3 by Aaron Schmidt on July 31, 2007 - 2:36 pm

    If you made these as an insert for warmachine bases, I’ll bet you would sell a ton of them!

  4. #4 by m1ke on August 1, 2007 - 8:54 am

    Cool idea, and nice work, Rich.
    I’ve got a few actual gears you’re welcome to use whenever you want to make more casts. I have one about 1″ in diameter which I know right where it is, and a bigger one about 3″ or 4″ that I might have to do some digging to find. Plus, I think my wife still has a bunch of watch parts she’s used in the past for small sculptures, so there’d probably be some smaller gears in there if you’re interested. Just let me know.

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