How to Make a Lunarium.




Introduction: How to Make a Lunarium.

About: Im a model maker who makes film and game props in my spare time. If you like my work please visit my blog it has more work. email me at backwardsprops @ gmail . com (with out the spaces, stops...

i love the moon and all the other planets and have always wanted an orrery.

they are very expencive so i thought i would make one , then i realised i didnt know how to do that.

i worked out i could make a lunarium.

This is how i did it.

Step 1: Materials and Tools.

Materials -

- clock
- brass tubes
- earth and moon (mine was a set of marbles that had a mars too but i didnt want mars in there)
- plastic
- glass dome
- card
- solder
- glue

tools -

- pliers
- lighter
- soldering iron
- knife
- clippers

Step 2: Step One.

remove the hands from the clock.

the clock i had is one of theos battery ones that the hands come off easily so you can make your own clock.

i used the pliers to pull the centre mount from the hands.

keep the mount and discard the hands.

Step 3: Step Two.

I used the lighter to heat the thin brass tube and bent it into a hoop to go round the the mounting points of the hands.

once i had the right size i bent the tube up at a right angle and looped it round and up at the centre of the hoop so when it rotates the tube goes straight up and rotates correctly.

once it rotates correctly do it again but with the hour hand but instead of straight up it comes off at an angle to hold the moon.

 i for got to take a photo of this step.

i used another tube, slightly bigger that fits over the top of the thin tube. i bent a similar hoop and right angle bend to hold the earth marble on the top. slid the large marble holding tube over the top of the mount tube and then you have your earth holder.
do the same with the moon, this time the bend after the hoop is not a right angle its just a slight bend to hold the marble flat.

Make sure that the hight of the moon lines up with the earth and isn't too far away that it hits the edge of the glass dome.

once all this is done, solder the tubes together by heating them with the lighter and letting the solder run down the gap between the two tubes. This will make sure they don't twist or shift.

once you have the marble holders completed its time to mount them to the clock hand mount point. This is done in a similar way to the tube soldering.
heat it and let the solder run into the gaps to hold it tight.

Once you have the arms set and soldered its time to do a test run. place the arms and the marbles on the clock body and make sure they are all balanced correctly. let the clock run for a while (at least an hour) to let the earth spin completely once.  this will show if there is any unstable-ness (i know its not a word) in the turn of the earth, if it falls you will have to bend the stand until it sits correctly.

Step 4: Step Three.

I made a new base to hold the clock and dome as although the ornament i had a nice wooden base i couldn't get the statue off the wood. 

i used a laser cutter to cut a series of 5mm plastic rings with a square cut for the clock body.

on a couple of them i engraved some details for decoration.

i measured the inside dimension and the outside of the dome and made a ring to go on the outside and a disk the size of the internal dimensions with a hole in the centre for the clock. 

the laser cutter was used on the ring and disk to etch them with the names of the month and a star chart to add some decorations. 

Step 5: Step Four.

once you have your base made glue the clock into the hole on the underside so that the movement stem protrudes out and you can attach the marble stands onto it. 

once you have the marble stands attached put the whole thing on a flat surface and put the marbles on there hoops.

Then put the dome over the top and then you have your lunarium.

The earth will turn once every hour and the moon will take 24 hours to complete one full orbit of the earth.

This video shows the Lunarium working for 3.5 hours:
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    8 Discussions

    Gaston Lagaffe
    Gaston Lagaffe

    4 years ago

    Nice, just don't forget that it is turning backwards.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Cool! It's nice that you can get marbles that actually look like the earth and moon.

    Cool project! I'm waiting for my daughter to be old enough (or rather have the kind of concentration required) for this kind of project.

    But wouldn't the moon take 12 hours for a complete circle? The mechanical clocks I know work like that, at least, but that does not say much.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Using the clock movement was really clever. These would be awesome to make in school. :D