Trammel of Archimedes




An ancient mechanism that was traditionally used as an ellipsograph (a device used to draw ellipses). In recent times these have been sold as toys or novelty items often labeled as 'Do Nothing Machines', which is a bit of a misnomer as they can serve a purpose.

They are kind of fun to play with and this is just one of many ways to build one out of LEGO pieces.

Kristal used this mechanism to achieve the motion of her skating penguin in the referenced video.
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Name Trammel of Archimedes
Designer JKBrickworks
Designed 2015
Inventory 47
Theme Technic
Gingerbread House


  • 6 months, 1 week ago BrickBuiltBill (1070) MOC Designer
    Just my personal opinion: This mechanism is the ORIGINAL fidget toy 🙂
  • 2 years, 7 months ago TeagueO (35K) MOC Designer
    I'm learning about Geometry in school, and well this seems as if he needed a great deal of that to construct this, great job once again!
  • 2 years, 7 months ago fish75 (3K)
    Just thinking about all the possibilities of this is making me think I need a rest.  Do you have any ideas you think I could try?
    • 2 years, 7 months ago JKBrickworks (22K) MOC Designer
      We always thought it would make a good base mechanic for a music box dancer, just never got around to building it.
      • 2 years, 7 months ago fish75 (3K)
        Thanks for replying, but I thought of another idea before I checked my email.   A The Wizard of Oz tornado thing.
  • 2 years, 8 months ago antares (20K)
    Hey Jason, an Argonaut of the old Lego technology?
    With your nickname or real name, the bridge to the idea "Trammel of Archimedes" is very good. Yes exactly, geometry, mechanics and physics what an interesting area and
    the fathers with the Greeks would certainly have been glad about Lego
    stones and their use. I look forward to your ideas, glorious!
  • 2 years, 9 months ago Lenaerts_Johan (1295)
    Hey Jason,

    Thanks for the inspiration. The idea of this trammel is new to me and I am eager ro try and make my own version of it.
  • 3 years, 9 months ago Bronswood (1183)
    Hello Jason, I would like to know the part numer for the 4 large tiles on your demo trammel, (want that part for some train ideas😉) I watched your video for hooking up the motor will give that a try. I enjoy the gizmos you create, makes me want to push the boundaries on other ideas. Thanks for the inspiration(s)
  • 3 years, 11 months ago emmett_liam (20)
    ops, Jason, yes, i have watched your video too, but I need instruction to build.... which able to connect to motor with inner gear, without the instruction, i really not capable to build on as this :S
  • 3 years, 11 months ago emmett_liam (20)
    Hi Jason, I do not play the technic theme in lego, but it has captivated me when I see this one. But I wish there should have full instruction on how to connect the motor with the right parts inside, ( for us the new technic comer ) or else even I got your instruction, I still confused and i do not understand..... hopefully you will offer the full instruction in your next moc, or this one:) thank you~~
    • 3 years, 11 months ago JKBrickworks (22K) MOC Designer
      I'll see what I can do, but I have a backlog of instructions to create so don't hold your breath. :)
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Submitted by BrickBuiltBill July 16, 2019
Submitted by Enith2478 May 2, 2019
I had built the motorized version too.
Submitted by Enith2478 May 1, 2019
This is the second design that I copy from you. I’ll try the motorized version tomorrow 😱😍