I had dry-fitted the entire thing together a number of times as I was fitting the individual pieces of the frame together but now it was time to actually put it all together and try it out from end to end.   The stack of drive gears (mounted on the crank side and actuated by the crank) are all connected together and rotate as a unit.  The planet gears (I can’t call them the “planetary” gears because that means something else in the gear world) are each attached to a tube.  In fact these tubes fit very tightly into the center holes of the gears and so I didn’t use any glue.  This may have to be corrected after a few years of humidity swings but at the moment all are plenty tight enough. These tubes are concentric and mounted one atop the other (or each inside the other if you prefer) and are mounted on a common shaft which is a rod that goes up through the middle of it all and to which the Sun is mounted.

I haven’t mentioned the Sun before; mostly because I totally forgot about it until this weekend.  I grabbed an extra wooden ball from the bunch I made the planets from and went to grab a can of yellow spray paint that I knew was in the garage.  It had been there for years and as such really didn’t want to spray the paint very well but it spit out enough that I could get a yellow ball and call it The Sun.  Good enough; on to the next thing.

Then I put it all together. This was a great pleasure to do.

The plans call for putting one gearset at a time on and making sure they work.  I followed this process and finally got the entire stack installed.  Then I turned the crank on the whole thing for the first time.

And threw my head back and did the Mad Scientist Laugh: “Bwaa! Hah! Hah!”  It’s Alive!

The Final Dry Fit - without planets

Wait. .. There are no planets mounted yet.

Still, it was extremely cool to see all the gears turning as they should.  Now to mount the planets.