Fabrication of dial work, compilation of work March 2012 through August 2012 - June 2013, part 3                        

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This section continues with the dial work for the astronomical skeleton clock. Concurrent with the tellurian dial discussed in the prior installment we also designed the orrery dial ring. This is a large ring at just under twelve inches in diameter and one inch wide.

In April of 2012 I began to think about a design for the orrery ring. I wanted something that would add some color and be different from the usual zodiacal symbols found on other orreries. Besides we already had these on the tellurian dial. Below is my concept drawing.


I wanted to include some information on the planets contained within the orrery. Here we have the orbital periods in days and years. I also used the longest orbital period, that of Saturn at 29.468 years as a yardstick to measure the other orbital periods of the remaining planets as a fraction of that longest orbit. That figure is shown in degrees in the last column. This also is reflected in the colored lines to give a direct visual comparison. The circled areas are to be zodiacal signs. The isolated inner yellow line was a mistake and should be omitted for this discussion. This served as a beginning point for discussion with Buchanan.

Buchanan took my design and made it 1000% better. He retained all of the information I had wanted, and inserted it into classic cartouches. The visual line comparisons are retained, and the colors are more plentiful than in my design. Here is another example of Buchanan's design sense adding so much more to the project. 


Buchanan next makes a mockup of the orrery ring and checks it for visual aesthetics on the clock.  


This version shows a one-half inch skirt around the the orrery ring. This helps to set off the mechanism from the clock. We may use this ring to affix zodiacal ormolu mounts or to engrave  something. In November of 2006 I came across a Latin poem by the Roman poet Publius Ovidius Naso, known in the western world as Ovid. It was in a book written by Theodor Ungerer, The Astronomical Clock of the Cathedral of Strasbourg, 1962. “Os homini sublime dedit coelumque tueri Jussit et erectus ad sidera tollere vultus, which translates as follows: To man the Creator gave a noble visage and enjoined him to look up to the sky, and gaze always upon the stars”. I thought this was quite appropriate for the mechanism we are creating here.


As a trial, the skirt was shaved off to see how a narrow ring bezel would look. We later reinstated the skirt.


These photos shows a custom jig Buchanan is making with 360 holes on the perimeter. It will be used to precisely locate the 360 lines around the perimeter of the dial ring as well as to locate any other features accurately like the cartouches.  


The plastic jig is used to position the line and artwork correctly. By June the artwork and mockups are finished. One can see the tellurian dial described in the prior installment. 

The completed dial was received in August. Upon reflection we found the strong colors to be problematic. We had in the meantime come up with an alternate design.


We also decided to change the main time dial. Buchanan takes the artwork and pastes on the revised signature line, next is a close up.

The revised dial arrived in August along with the orrery and tellurian dials. 

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