Copernican Planetary Orrery

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


P1020202 P1020203

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Wow, very cool! How big is it? I’m picturing it maybe 10" across?

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Actually, it’s more like 20" in diameter.

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Heh. I had that same issue with picturing the size of my Glowforge before receiving it! :wink:

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Outstanding.

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Oh my!

You win the GF forums today! =)

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Might be my new favorite project. This is awesome. Just amazing.

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Wow! That’s gorgeous! Great job on it! :grinning:

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Super cool! You did a fantastic job with it!

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This is absolutely beautiful, nicely done.

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ABvsolutely amazing - I aspire to being able to make stuff like this one day

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Wow!!! :heart::heart::heart:

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Absolutely amazing!

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Ok, color me impressed. That is way cool.

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That is absolutely gorgeous.

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I though it was beautiful and then realized I overlooked the video link. wow! just wow!

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I can not find any words! That is really spectacular!

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What was the build time, roughly? And what are you using to hold the planet arms – looks different than the Boyer plans (which I own, but have not built).

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The build time was about 5 - 6 weeks, off and on. The material holding the planet arms is 3/8" HDPE (High Density Polyethelyene - the stuff of cutting boards everywhere). I wanted something that would hold a screw thread and permit me to use set screws in order to re-align the planets to an arbitrary position.

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Way cool (as they used to say.)

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