Orrery : A work in progress

May 30th, 2011

With the help of the good folks at Magnolia Editions, I’ve been working on a new celestial clock. But this time, its an Orrey – a mechanical model of the solar system. Below is a quick pre-visualization of what it might look like.

Unlike a traditional orrery, this one is designed to be flat, so it can be hung on a wall, and will display the first 5 planets in the solar system: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and Jupiter.

The complexity of the design has exploded, however, and its becoming a bit overwhelming. Here’s a wire-frame of the illustrator artwork:

Each planet is represented by a ring-gear. Each ring-gear is part of a drive-train that is powered from the center Sun-gear. Five planets means 5 separate drive trains… thus the complexity. Here’s a prototype of the current design. You can see the ring gears for Jupiter and Earth and, below them, the underlying gear-trains that power each of the ring-gears. The mechanism is made of laser-cut plywood:

Here’s a video of the mechanism being test-fitted together for the first time:

Of course, now that I’m at the prototyping stage, minor details such as the laws-of-physics are coming into play. Torque, friction and inertia may scuttle this design, as may the sheer complexity of the design.

Stay tuned…


Comments are closed.

    Recent Images

     
    Orrery Gears with Jupiter and Earth Rings Orrery Gears on Temporary Mounting Orrery Wireframe Disasterous Prototype
    … and Remember:
    Cogito Ergo Doleo: I Think, Therefore I am Depressed.