Page One

Here is the first page of my set of drawings.  I bought them from this guy, Clayton Boyer. He makes all sorts of amazingly complex wooden contraptions (mostly clocks) and sells plans for some of them. Go look at his site and watch some of those videos.  His stuff is amazing.  I was happy to pay since designing from scratch was a daunting task.

The plans comes as hard copies which he suggests glueing directly to the wood and cutting to the lines with a band saw or scroll saw. I didn’t want to do that for several reasons; the foremost of which is that I have a friend with a CNC router that he uses in his business to build guitars.

Mr Boyer offered to email me a CAD model of the base and top of the orrery but that’s all. I have had to come up with CAD models of the gears by myself which is not as hard as I originally thought. My friend with the CNC machine is a software whiz and he quickly came up with a program that will create a CAD model of the gear teeth; all I had to do is make a few modifications like changing the center shaft hole size and adding some cool looking spokes.

I knew very little about using a CAD program but found a free one on the Internet. I work with many engineers and found advice readily. They got me up and running very quickly.

So at this point, I have CAD models of all the gears, the base, and the top. I still need to draw up all the little things like spacers, planet holders, a crank, and other random bits.  I have most of this done.

Jupiter Gear

Jupiter Gear

What bothers me is the largest gears: Jupiter and Saturn.  You can see Jupiter on the left there. These have very small teeth which presents a problem.  Tiny teeth require tiny router bits and tiny router bits tend to be short since routers put a side load on the bit which can snap off the teeny ones.  This may require me to make the gears thinner than the plan calls for.  We are getting ready to cut some test gears on the router to see if the teeth will work out and if I will have to go with the thinner material.

I may end up having to cut the major stuff on the router and then go home and hand-cut the rest of the teeth which seems to defeat the purpose of using the CNC machine in the first place somehow.  But I imagine we can adapt somehow; I may have to change the number of gear teeth so that there can be fewer of them but that will throw off the gear ratio which will in turn throw off the planetary motion.

It’s always something.