I wanted to make an Orrery (model of the planets orbiting around the sun) after fielding some questions from my son, about such things ……but first I thought Id make a Astrolabe here are some  that are on the net either old (1300s) or reproductions.

very nice !! but my small saw and patience wasnt up to it……..yet, I will try again…..my attempt ended up as the dial on a grandfather clock I made  , as a sailors astrolabe and a working planisphere

the astrolabe isn’t accurate but the planisphere works……set it to the time and date and it shows the stars in the sky at lat 35 deg north (Oslo)… so if im on my way to Oslo at night with my large clock and I get lost…………..no drama !

So , on to the Orrery……the oldest one is the Antikythera mechanism found on a shipwreck in Greece dated at around 125 bc. it was used to calculate the position of the stars etc. for navigation……here’s anouther one…. more my styleit shows the nearest three planets to the sun and the moons rotation around the earth at any time of the year, in the different signs of the zodiac so this one is for astrology actually…….

And so, on to my attempt————

here`s the plan…..and here it is in the flesh…..

The more observant will notice that the handle has gone and has been replaced with an air piston…. it all works I promise…..the next piece of nonsense is to connect it to a boiler and ill have a steam engine powered orrery…..the only one in the world…… watch this space…….or u tube.

updated  orrery to show the moons orbital perturbations….its perigee and opogee……. its up and down motion, of course its not to scale or correct in any way.. and the earth should be tilted……but hey its made of wood and glue…. give me a brake !

and now the utube link ..  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQcTD6WS2F4&feature=channel


About Matt Ball

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5 Responses to orrery

  1. Robert Cullison says:

    I’m really interested in this.I wonder if you’d be willing to share your schematics.

    • Matt Ball says:

      im sorry, there are no schematics, when i make an automata i just use what ever junk i have lying around….. the size of the thing came from the three wooden balls i bought in a hobby shop, then i used this link to print out the gears.(http://woodgears.ca/gear_cutting/template.html=), ply wood,jig saw,rubber band and there it is….. the isometric i drew later for the blog, which i dont realy have time to keep on top of..im not going to make a steam engine,so i took off the air piston and put in a small electric motor.. however i can sketch up a working drawing and send it to your email..

      • Robert Cullison says:

        I think I can figure it out from the isometeric drawing, which by the was, is very impressive. It it had been on yellowed parchment, I’d think it was a DaVinci. 🙂

  2. Matt Ball says:

    why thnk you …… any probs just ask 🙂

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