A surface-micromachined chain and a microelectromechanical (MEM) structure incorporating such a chain are disclosed. The surface-micromachined chain can be fabricated in place on a substrate (e.g. a silicon substrate) by depositing and patterning a plurality of alternating layers of a chain-forming material (e.g. polycrystalline silicon) and a sacrificial material (e.g. silicon dioxide or a silicate glass). The sacrificial material is then removed by etching to release the chain for movement. The chain has applications for forming various types of MEM devices which include a microengine (e.g. an electrostatic motor) connected to rotate a drive sprocket, with the surface-micromachined chain being connected between the drive sprocket and one or more driven sprockets.