A Steampunk Orrery-Clock




Introduction: A Steampunk Orrery-Clock

I've always wanted an orrery. I think they look really cool. This isn't a real one - it's a desktop clock that looks like an orrery but tells the time of day. It includes three planets: a mercury-like planet, an earth-like planet and a jupiter-like planet.

Height 22cm.

Step 1: How It Was Made

Start with a dome clock and a cube clock. Both can be found in charity shops and car-boot sales. Glass domes are nicer than plastic - one should cost under £5.

Cube clocks are harder to find but should cost very little. The cube-clock motor has concentric brass tubes to support the weight of the plastic triangles.

An ordinary clock motor isn't strong enough to support the "planets".

Step 2: The Planets

The planets are made from wooden beads. I painted them with acrylic and poster paint to look vaguely like mercury, earth, jupiter and the sun.

The supports for the planets are made from steel wire. I used MiG-welding wire: it's covered in copper and looks quite nice. Bend the wire around a drill that's just a little smaller than the tube it's going to fit. That way, it will grip onto the tube.

One end of the wire is bent to hold the planet. Carefully measure what the orbit of each planet should be.

The other end of the wire will support either the sun or a time-ring.

The planets are temporarily held in place with Blu Tack.

Check that they don't collide.

The sun and inner-planet rotate as the second hand. The middle planet is the minute-hand and the outer planet is the hour-hand.

Step 3: The Time-rings

Strips of brass are are bent and soldered to form the time-rings. The wires are soldered onto the rings.

Paper scales are glued onto the time-rings. I dyed the paper with tea to "age" it.

Step 4: The Box

An octagonal wooden box forms the base. A fancy cast disk from a light-fitting forms a plinth. Both cost less than a pound at a car-boot sale. The clock motor fits inside the box lid and the box is screwed onto the base.

A pointer made from brass wire shows the current time - it is 4:51.

The planets and sun are painted and the whole thing is varnished.

A webpage describing this project is here. It has links to some of my other projects.

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    4 years ago

    I can't find a cube clock anywhere, do you have any suggestion?

    Peter Balch
    Peter Balch

    Reply 4 years ago

    Google for "pyramid clock" then hit images (rather than shopping).

    I got around 20 hits. I've pasted in a few below. The prices vary enormously from $7 to $150.

    It's a huge compliment that that you've been inspired to make one.. Please do post the results.

    The dome, beads, etc are easy to find but I suspect that the difficulty might be finding a nice wooden box. It occurred to me that the black plastic base for a trophy could work well.