29 August 2019

2019 Parts Fest #1: Inhert's Splat Gear Experiments

Posted by Admin
Back to the Parts Festival fun today as our LEGO® fan builders find uses for 2019 parts. Following his discoveries with the big yellow star, Inthert returns today with fascinating analysis of the gear wheels.

Perhaps it was their bright colours or unusual shape but the three sizes of the affectionately dubbed ‘splat gears’ immediately caught my eye as I emptied all the parts onto my build table.

  • Vibrant Coral Gear Wheel 6X6, Z14 (Element ID 6258385 | Design ID 35446)
  • Dark Stone Grey [TLG]/ Dark Bluish Gray [BL] Gear Wheel 4X4, Z10 (6252371|35443)
  • Medium Lilac [TLG]/ Dark Purple [BL] Gear Wheel 2X2, Z6 (6238330|35442)

My first instinct was to see if the gears could be arranged into any interesting patterns. While I was unsuccessful in using the two largest sizes in anything other than a regular grid, the smallest of the three proved to be the most intriguing. Combining multiple together, it has the charming ability to tessellate perfectly, creating a tightly knit hexagon-based pattern. Which now that I think about it follows given that it has six spokes!

I attempted the same arrangement with each gear attached to a turntable element (6238334|27448) but I couldn’t find a way secure the whole pattern onto a studded surface. It’s worth mentioning that even if it were possible to mount them though, the gears themselves wouldn’t able to rotate.

I reconciled this disappointment by turning my attention to the other possibilities afforded by the unusual moulding on the underside of the gears.

I had assumed the reverse of each tooth could hold any part with a standard 3.18mm bar but that tuned out not to be the case. You can, however, lock bars in place with a second gear using a technic axle (though the process of doing so is pretty fiddly). Offsetting a gear at one end causes the bars to run diagonally which makes for a neat effect. As does using two gears stacked at each end which allows twice the number of bars to be inserted. I imagine any one of these would work well as some kind of reactor core or part of a spaceship’s engine.

I noticed a (wobbly) joint can be made using a minifigure ratchet tool (11402e) by dropping its end inside the recess of a tooth and securing it in place with a further two gears.  The same technique works for any of the three gear sizes.

This naturally led to the creation of a couple of adorable friends which, despite their unstable legs, actually stand up!

While trying to find a more secure and therefore useful connection, I realised a series of socket joints for the 5.9mm ball can be created around the rim by sandwiching two gears together.

The technique works for all three gear sizes and with any combination of parts sporting the same Mixel-style ball end.

I tested the same idea with some Bionicle/Hero Factory parts that have the larger sphere ball and while it does work to an extent, the joint isn’t as secure as the two gear’s teeth can only act as a clamp rather than an actual socket.

Moving away from the teeth, I then experimented slotting various parts into other recesses found on the base of each gear. As was the case with the patterns, the smallest of the three proved to hold the most potential. Nestled between the anti-studs and the outer ring is a total of eight spaces where various elements with small enough protrusions can be inserted.

My favourite of these (illegal) connections uses the bucket handle (Design ID 29176) and allows two gears to be linked together. I’ve yet to think of a scenario where this connection would be necessary and/or useful but hey, it is possible!

And finally, I made use of the fork's tines plus an old-style flower top (33291, 28573) to secure all four in place, to make a fancy looking fairy-chair and table. 

Only problem being that I lack any fairy minifigures, so spaceman Lenny will have to suffice!

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Products mentioned in this post were kindly supplied by the LEGO Group. All content represents the opinions of New Elementary authors and not the LEGO Group. All text and images are © New Elementary unless otherwise attributed.


  1. Articles like this make supporting the site by being a Vibrant Coral patron worthwhile!

    1. That's great to hear! It's hard to know how best to please patrons so glad we hit the mark today :)

  2. The chair/table combo is very cool!

  3. A very thorough and interesting connection search! Thank you for your observations, Inthert.

  4. Thank you for continuing to perform the fine art of "jamming parts inside each other to see if they fit"! It's much appreciated, the ball joint technique is real cool and gives me Ideas

    1. As long as disassembly is possible, I'm all for it!