Introduction: Solar System Orrery

Picture of Solar System Orrery

This is a guide for making a simple low budget yet impressive solar system orrery.

This Orrery depicts the eight major planets, the Sun and also the Moon.

The cardboard rings are meant to depict the Asteroid Belt.

So with that said, let's get started!

Step 1: The Materials

Picture of The Materials

Materials that you will need:

  • About 8-10 little spheres or balls depending on whether you want to add the Moon and Pluto.

I used:

  1. Different size marbles
  2. Airsoft BB pellets
  3. Ends from slip-on earrings
  4. Pawns from an old "Mastermind" board game
  5. Ball joints from old broken toys

The sizes i used for the planets are:

  1. Sun: Standard pink ponk ball
  2. Mercury: Ball Joint ~ 4 mm Diameter or sanded BB pellet ( Must be smaller than Mars)
  3. Venus: 9 mm or 3/8 of an inch Diameter
  4. Earth: 9 mm or 3/8 of an inch Diameter
  5. Mars: Standard BB pellet
  6. Jupiter: 2.5 cm or 1 inch Diameter Marble
  7. Saturn: 2 cm or 3/4 of an inch Diameter Marble ( I couldn't find this size so i used the 2.5 cm )
  8. Uranus & Neptune: 1.5 cm or 5/8 of an inch Diameter Marble
  9. Optional: Pluto: Ball joint ~2 mm or sanded BB pellet ( Must be smaller than Mercury )
    The Moon: End from Dollar Store slip-on earrings
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Balsa wood sheet ( 2 mm or 1/16 ~ of an inch thick )
  • Grey Thin Cardboard Paper ( 3 mm or 2/16 of an inch thick )
  • Toothpicks, Wooden Skewers, Wooden or Brass Dowels
  • Curtain Rings
  • Keychain Rings
  • Wood Glue & Super Glue
  • Hairspray

Step 2: The Tools

Picture of The Tools

Tools you will need:

  • Pencil, Black Sharpie or Black Pen
  • Ruler and a Compass
  • X-acto Cutter or Box Cutter and a Compass Cutter ( optional but recommended )
  • Brushes ( Many sizes, whatever works for you )
  • Clamps or clothes pins
  • Sandpaper

Step 3: The Small Step for Man ( Painting )

Picture of The Small Step for Man ( Painting )

So you have your tools and your materials.

Now you take your little spheres and sand them with the sandpaper so the paint can stick better.

Then paint each planet using referrence photos from books or the internet.

Once each planet is colored and left to dry spray them with the hairspray to seal the paint. The hairspray is an alternative to sealants, non-toxic and relatively cheaper plus it does a really great job.

The end result should be something like the pictures above.

And so the Planets and the Sun are ready to go.

Step 4: The Next Step for Man ( Cutting the Grey Cardboard )

Picture of The Next Step for Man ( Cutting the Grey Cardboard )

Everything fine with the painting? Great! Now for the Orrery.

Take your sheets of grey cardboard paper and using your ruler,compass and pencil mark and cut:

- Two circles (A) with a diameter of 15 cm or ~ 6 inches.

- A ring with an inner diameter of 14 cm - 5 & 1/2 inches and an outer diameter of 15 cm - 6 inches.

- A ring with an inner diameter of 15 cm - 6 inches and an outer diameter of 16 cm - 6 & 5/16 inches.

Finally you need to cut six more circles for the base with diameters:

  1. Three circles (B) with a diameter of 6.5 cm or 2 & 1/2 inches.
  2. Two circles (C) with a diameter of 7.5 cm or 3 inches.
  3. One circle (D) with a diameter of 8 cm or 3 & 1/8 inches.

Step 5: The Big Leap ( Cutting the Balsa Wood )

Picture of The Big Leap ( Cutting the Balsa Wood )

Looking at the picture above you need to cut out that shape from the balsa sheet using the following measurements for the base of each planet:

  • Mercury: R= 1.5 cm or 5/8 inches, S= 4 cm or 1 & 5/8 inches.
  • Venus: R= 1.5 cm or 5/8 inches, S= 5 cm or 2 inches.
  • Earth: R= 1.5 cm or 5/8 inches, S= 6.5 cm or 2 & 1/2 inches.
  • Mars: R= 1.5 cm or 5/8 inches, S= 7.5 cm or 3 inches.
  • Jupiter: R= 3.25 cm or 1 & 2/8 inches, S= 12.5 cm or 4 & 7/8 inches.
  • Saturn: R= 3.25 cm or 1 & 2/8 inches, S= 15.5 cm or 6 & 1/8 inches.
  • Uranus: R= 3.25 cm or 1 & 2/8 inches, S= 17.5 cm or 6 & 7/8 inches.
  • Neptune: R= 3.25 cm or 1 & 2/8 inches, S= 19.5 cm or 7 & 5/8 inches.

Step 6: The Part of Glue

Picture of The Part of Glue

This is the part where you glue the parts together.

  • To begin, take your keychain rings and glue them onto Saturn and Uranus. The keychain rings will play the part of well... the rings.
  • Next take your carboard circles. Glue the two (A) circles together and use clothe pins or soft clamps to secure them well. Do the same for the three (B) circles and the two (C) circles. Then glue the three (B) cirlces on top of the two (C) circles and those onto the (D) circle to create the base of the orrery.
  • Then glue your cut-to-size toothpicks or dowels onto the bases for the four inner planets and the skewers or dowels onto the bases of the four outer planets.
  • Glue one small curtain ring on the top side of the mercury base and another on the bottom of the mars base. Then glue one bigger curtain ring on the top side of the jupiters base and another on the bottom of the neptune base.
  • Glue the planets on top of their respective dowels.
  • Glue the small carboard ring on top of the two (A) circles with some elevation using small dowels.
  • Finally glue the big carboard ring at a small angle on the side of the smaller carboard ring.

Step 7: The Final Step for Man ( Assembly )

Picture of The Final Step for Man ( Assembly )

Take the base and slide in everything in order:

  1. Neptune
  2. Uranus
  3. Saturn
  4. Jupiter
  5. The Circular Base with the Rings
  6. Mars
  7. Earth
  8. Venus
  9. Mercury
  10. Sun

Step 8: The End Result

Picture of The End Result

And so you have your own Orrery to display and observe!

Thank you for checking out this Instructable, hope it helps!



Comments

Whovian123 (author)2016-08-04

this is awesome would have never thought that those were marbles!!!

Thank you!! Well a little bit of paint can go a long way!!

seamster (author)2016-08-02

This is really cool! I especially like that it's pretty simple to make. My kids would love making this. Thanks for the instructions! :)

DimitriHolargos (author)seamster2016-08-03

By the way, i would love to see pictures of your finished piece!

DimitriHolargos (author)seamster2016-08-03

Thank you very much! Have Fun!! :D

CalicoMeezer (author)2016-08-02

Sweet! I realy liked this and I am sharing it on my family's cosplay page in FB, https://www.facebook.com/GanAinmCosplay/. It will be posted Wednesday (8/3/2016).

Thank you so much! I will be checking in! I appreciate it a lot :D

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