I’ve had plans to make an orrery (model of the solar system) for some years now, but held off because the difficulty of getting the gears (of which there are many) cut properly. With the addition of the Glowforge to my bag of tricks, I figured it was time to get serious.
The plans I worked from are designed and sold by Clayton Boyer who is well-known for his many clock designs as well. It specified 1/2" plywood for the gears, so I decided to use 1/8" plywood and glue up 4 copies of each to achieve that thickness.
I decided to modify the base of the orrery to make it a 12-sided figure and then paint each side with a corresponding sign of the zodiac. I used the laser to cut a paint mask on each of the 12 sides so I that could get a nice zodiac sign painted in gold. I also cut the top index ring on the Glowforge (although in two pieces since it was a bit too large).
This orrery only represents planets up to Saturn as that was all that was known in the time of Nicolas Copernicus. It avoids the whole “is Pluto a planet?” issue, so that works for me.
Here’s a link to a YouTube video of it in action:
Copernican Planetary Orrery