Flat-Pack Kit Overview

The easiest tool we have for prototyping mechanisms and structures is the laser cutter. It is fast and accurate and can use low-cost materials. It does take some practice to learn how to translate three-dimensional design objectives into two-dimensional components, but the course provides a design library of components and examples to ease this process.

The following designs comprise a system for rapidly building articulated structures using laser-cut plywood or plastic and standard mechanical components. The individual component designs are all available as a start for projects to make custom parts, subject to CAD and laser-cutter experience. The following guide includes images of the reference designs. Many of the parts exist in multiple variations which can be found in the DXF file archive. These images are not to scale.

Structural Parts

Vertical Flange


General-purpose mounting plate with standard hole pattern which attaches perpendicular to a surface. Available in multiple sizes.

Diagonal Brace


Provides two captive-screw connections at a right angle. Available in multiple sizes. Useful for attaching structure links perpendicular to the table.



Brace which slots into other particular parts to increase rigidity. Provides one lap joint.

Grid Plate


General-purpose adapter plate with a standard hole pattern, available in many sizes. May be used as a secondary table, an armature base, turntable extension, etc.

Precision Angle Mount


Base with pivot and coarse-adjustment pin holes for supporting bracket at precise angles with 3 degree resolution.


Pivoting base with fine-adjustment pin holes for installing at precise angles. The holes have a different pitch than the base to subdivide each coarse interval in the style of a vernier scale.

Rotating Joints and Articulations

Offset-Pivot Plate


One-half of a pivot joint (e.g. elbow). Can also be used in pairs to form a clevis, or to mount a camera using the pivot hole. Available with either a captive-screw connection or a hole pattern.

Lazy-Susan Turntable


A turntable built around a standard ball bearing lazy susan component, commonly fixed to a table as a base joint.


Adapter plate for mounting the turntable component. Available in several shapes and hole patterns. The 6 mm plywood plate can be screwed to the metal turntable component using #6 x 1/4 inch rounded-head sheet metal screws.

Fixed Ball Joint


An adjustable fixed ball joint, commonly used for hand-animated armatures. The ball is a standard component.


One-half of the clevis supporting the ball in a ball joint.


Vertical Servo Mount


Mounting plate for a single hobby servo. Available in several sizes for specific servos, which all have slightly varying mounting patterns.

Mini-Maestro 18 Mount


Mounting plate for supporting a Mini Maestro 18 servo driver circuit board. It is recommended to anchor the driver circuit board to the table using this plate to avoid shorting out any connections; there will be many servo wires pulling on it, and the back has un-insulated points.

Multi-Micro-Servo Mount


Mounting plate for six micro-servos.

Pushrod Horn


Adapter for connecting pushrods to wooden structures. Available in multiple angles and sizes.

Stepper Motor Mount


Mounting plate for a single stepper motor. Available in several sizes for NEMA17 and NEMA23 stepper motors.


Spur Gear


Spur gear, 2 mm module, 20 degree pressure angle. Available in multiple sizes and several bore shapes. With a 2 mm module, the pitch radius is the same as the number of teeth.

Credit: derived from the GPL-licensed Solidworks_Gear_Generator. The modified part files are available in the gears folder in the SolidWorks file archive.

Rack Gear


Rack gear for the spur gears. This is sized to attach to the side of a 15 mm extrusion rail and fit within the extrusion bounds. Available in multiple lengths.

Linear Joints

Sliding Rail System


A single-axis translation joint using a wooden sled sliding on 15mm aluminum extrusion.

Rail Tie Plates


Connector for holding two 15 mm extrusions parallel to serve as slider rails. Provides a standard M6 pattern and M3 holes for screws to fit the extrusion slots.


Alternate connector for attaching 15 mm extrusions into rail structures.

Rail Slider


Top plate for a simple sliding base which can move along a pair of 15 mm extrusion rails. Available for several track widths.


Guide plate for the simple sliding base which slots into the top plate.

Extrusion Clamp


Adapter for mounting a single 15 mm extrusion rail flat against the table. Provides a captive-screw connection and holes for M3 screws to anchor in an extrusion side slot.

Extrusion Adapter


Adapter for fixed mounting to a 15 mm extrusion rail. Provides a standard M6 hole pattern and holes for M3 screws to anchor in an extrusion slot.

Optical Accessories

Flat Element Holders


Fork-shaped clip for holding a lightweight optical element such as a piece of gel. Has a stub end to press-fit into a 6mm hole. Available in several slot widths.


Fork-shaped clip for holding a lightweight optical element such as a piece of gel. Has a standard M6 hole pattern. Available in several slot widths.

Lens Holder


Holder for a round glass lens. Available in multiple sizes.