Orrery, finish Saturn armature drive wheel set, begin Jupiter gearbox -
Here Buchanan creates a plastic toothed mock up of the large Saturn transfer
(drive) wheel to get a better idea where it will be positioned along the
I am working on the pitching of the Saturn arm wheels. I cannot follow the
standard procedure of marking out where the wheels must go and then design
the frame around the pivots as the arm is such a major feature.
So what I did was: made 3 of the 4 gears and finished the first and last and
fitted them in place, then place the second small spoked brass gear on a
short arbour with a flat pan head. I then glued it centrally on my scribe
arm design. That leaves a final gap to be filled with the large wheel. I did
a little manual guessing with a pair of dividers to arrive at a diameter
that could work and then calculated back to the number of teeth needed. I
cut a test gear in plastic and as you can see in the first photo the bearing
is in the middle of the curved arm design. There will be another similar
size wheel on the top of the plate as well.
First photo is of a cheap $60 digital microscope with a built in screen.
The gear that is cutting is 0.3 module, the teeth are 33 thou deep. 1/30 of
an inch deep. It saves my neck and my glasses falling off when setting up
the cutter to centre height.
Here we see the advantage
of modern equipment, in this case where there is the need for a very large
wheel. One can see here the early makings of what we call “Buchananization”.
The method where an otherwise empty space is filled with a set of, or in
this case a very large wheel set. The different design approach we use in
contrast to Hahn will become obvious as the Saturn drive wheel assembly is
The first photo is the largest Jupiter wheel with the largest Saturn wheel.
The large gear is 4.3 inches in diameter. It weighs 6.6 grams/0.23 ounces,
44 thousandths inch thick (1.1 mm), 250 teeth.
I was a little worried that you might want to go with the rectangular frame
design, especially when you think of all the reflections that you would get
when it is polished. I also hadn’t thought of the unique design future
This is a joke based on
what I had written prior: “Well
that cute wheel makes up for the fact your other one got covered up by the
planisphere mask! You know leaving that arm as a rectangular plate would
introduce a new design feature...NOT!”
I was referring to a large wheel that
drove the planisphere mechanism and was a wonderful example of Buchanan’s
work, but with the current orrery design we have this now in abundance). See
March 2018 instalment.
I have been making screws drilling and tapping arbours and general
housekeeping . I am almost finished, then I am going to change that frame
design for you! Here is my workbench, in a mess before final assembly of the
Saturn arm. The other photos are of various collets and bearing caps that
have been attended to today.
I spent this morning clearing up two small clearance issues. Then I finished
the input gear to the bottom of Saturn, (first
three photos) this has a square on the end of the shaft. I made a square
punch when I ground the square on the Saturn shaft and drove it through the
collet to produce the square hole in the collet. I am now working on
the orbit dial for Saturn. As soon as that is done I am going to
skeletonise the arm. There are 2 more large skinny gears to fit between the
Saturn and Jupiter arm.
The collet must be easily removable because every time that Saturn assembly
is removed it must come off the arbour. I don’t want to rely on only the
clamp force of a retaining screw, and, there is not enough space for a pin.
The last photo shows the beginning of the stacking of the planetary arm
drive drives. One can see that by the time all of the arms are in place they
will completely fill the vertical space.
This video shows Saturn's constant position of its planetary tilt in
relation to the Sun as it moves through its orbit. Earth displays the same
unchanging position. It is interesting that Saturn's axial tilt at 26.7
degrees is very similar to Earth's at 23.5 degrees. Their tilts, however,
are not aligned to each other.
Jupiter arm will have a similar compliment of oversized wheels but a bit
smaller than Jupiter’s due to the fact the orbit is a smaller diameter.
The table gives us a few facts about the orbit of Saturn. Do you want the
distances in Km, Miles or AU?
We will use both AU (astronomical units) as well as Km or in this case Mkm
(millions of kilometres). AU is found on the main orrery dial. No use for
miles as it is not used anywhere else on the dial work, or nearly anywhere
else on Earth!
This is the basic idea for the orbit dial (first
A knurled bezel like the year dial on the sun/moon dial will help and a
better hand. The hand is fixed to the frame and the dial rotates with Saturn
that way the numbers always face the reader. This will be the case for
mercury mars and Jupiter as well. Dial size and legibility is the main
question, but then most people who seriously examine the clock seem to bring
an eye glass!!
This is a reflection of the fact that many of the components are on the
scale of a pocket watch. The bezel will have what I call a coin-type of
knurl similar to that found on the edge of United States coins.
Now Buchanan hand files the curvilinear transfer wheel frame on the
The curved transfer wheel frame is complete. From this
photo one can immediately see the difference in the look of Buchanan’s
design from that of Hahn’s. Both use the same design mathematically, as well
as the same number of wheels, but visually they could not look more
The Saturn assembly is seen within the context of the rest of the machine.
I have spent the whole morning staring at a computer. I can only place and
position one letter or number at a time so it is laborious (first
photo of computer screen).
I am now working on the codes for the engraving.
Waste not want not. Buchanan uses an old, discarded wheel (see toothed
perimeter) as the blank for Saturn's eccentric orbit dial.
Completed engraving for the eccentric orbit dial. prior
In the first three
photos Buchanan begins the dial pointer for Saturn’s orbital dial. The
fourth photo shows the completed pointer with the silvered dial and the
The Saturn subassembly
This photo shows the incredible engraving detail
of the eccentric orbit and degree dials.
The Saturn dial slides neatly along the orrery
Saturn has an eccentric orbit, this dial shows the
position and distance of the eccentricity in millions of kilometer as well
as astronomical units, AU. The AU is the distance from the center of the
Earth to that of the Sun, 149.6 million kilometers. It is a convenient
measure of relative distances within the immediate neighborhood of the solar
system. The first video shows an initial mockup trial of eccentric dial and
the second the completed assembly.
- Buchanan now turns to the Jupiter assembly
Buchanan writes: I
have decided to dispense with the u shape frame on the Jupiter arm, (first
illustration yellow outlined frame). The way that Saturn’s large gears
on the arm worked out so well, I think we will get a better looking arm for
Jupiter. And gain some clearance space.
I am very happy with the mechanical rigidity of the arms as well as the
orrery support bracket. I think the power required to drive this will be
hardly felt by the Robin remontoire.
I have the basic design for Jupiter all done now and most of the gear sizes
are also complete. I will start making the assembly in the same order as I
did on Saturn. First the main pivot point, then the eccentric gearbox
and then the moon gearbox. Then I can mount it on the arm with the
clearance’s established, and finally, the arm drive gears. The arm drive
gears are not as big this time, 3”, but there are a stack of
four and they move at two different speeds. I thought that Jupiter
would not be as impressive as Saturn, but, I don’t think we will be
The illustration shows both Saturn
and Jupiter in their maximum and minimum orbital positions from the Sun, the
aphelion and perihelion. This is accomplished by the eccentric stalk holding
each planetary gear box. One can see if one planet is at maximum and the
other at minimum orbital distance while passing each other how close the
clearance between the two is. The opposite is true when the condition is
reversed and the gap opens widely.
This is the gear table for the Jupiter
gearbox. Pixilated to protect proprietary data.
The top, half cut away, bearings are
duplicate as I mirrored them for clearance checking. Deryck writes: The top, half cut away, bearings are
duplicate as I mirrored them for clearance checking.
The first parts are cut for Saturn’s eccentric
stalk. All of the parts in the first photo comprising the stalk drive work
and clutch are assembled in the second photo.
Buchanan writes: I have the planning done for the eccentric gearbox and
the gears cut, managed to get one on its arbour. Tomorrow should see it
almost complete. I am working on the body of the eccentric gearbox for
Jupiter today. Then onto the main frame for the cluster gear.
Jupiter has a 3.13
degree tilt, not much but I think I might include it as well as we have the
moos at that tilt as well. It is the only other planet that we can include
it in without a major redesign. The earth might qualify but we have
that in ‘high definition’ in the tellurian
Jupiter's small 3.13° planetary
tilt begins fabrication.