Went to the NOVA MakerFaire at George Mason University a couple weeks ago. Same event where @shop was busily demonstrating the Glowforge. His tent had a lot of traffic and interest.
Inside the main building, a table with a bunch of astronomical-slide rule looking contraptions immediately captured my eye. The associated display explained that these devices were Astrolabes, Lunar Volvelle, and Sine Quadrants. I’ve heard of Astrolabes but mostly from obscure reference to Ancient Greek or Islamic civilizations. But these were functioning precision instruments on the table. As a collector of slide rules and an amateur astronomer this was science nerd heaven. And it was immediately clear that every component could easily be made on the Glowforge.
The presenters have developed the Astrolabe Project. AstrolabeProject.com Their web site includes everything. Detailed manuals, class handouts, digital simulators of the devices, and cut files all available for free. Here’s the front and back of the Astrolabe I made today for my specific location. Everything except screws were cut and engraved on the GF.
The AstrolabeProject clearly represents years of work and I’m in awe of their efforts.
I would suggest interested makers go to the AstrolabeProject.com website and get a basic understanding of the devices. Print the manuals. Then go to Thingiverse to get the free files under Creative Commons attribution license. Remember to credit the developer, Timothy Mitchell (wymarc)
Last week, wymarc posted an advanced version of the Astrolabe on Thingiverse. The back panel seems more complex. Both versions have way too many functions for me to understand yet. Here is the new advanced version. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3681024
So far I have built a functioning Sine Quadrant and Astrolabe. The lunar Volvelle will come next. I needed to tweak the cut files a little. Mostly small stuff. A couple stray lines. Decided to reverse engrave one component and shrink a couple holes to fit my bolts. Also needed to convert one component (Alidade) from 3D print, to 2D laser cut and glue. Made several parts out of 2 color acrylic for better contrast. But all in all it was pretty easy. If you have any questions about construction I will be happy to help. Be aware that I still haven’t explored 10% of the functions as of yet.