noun \ˈȯr-ər-ē, ˈär-\
As you can tell, recently I have been in a learn-more-about-the-universe mood. There are some fantastic orreries around the world that people have built using simple materials, and I am highlighting some of them here.
There are multiple versions of orreries built from LEGO, including this one here and this other one over here. There’s one on the Makezine site, but it doesn’t have accurate representations of the planets (minus points for making Venus look like Jupiter – boo!). Perhaps the most temporally accurate is this one, from Don Rogerson. His LEGO version is accurate to about 12 hours per month, that is, a deviation of about 1.8%. Not bad for LEGO!
Version 2: 3D-printed “orreries”
Followers of this blog know my penchant for 3D printing, as seen here and here. Naturally, folks have 3D printed some models of the solar system. To date, however, none of these are true orreries, in that they aren’t driven by a clockwork (ie., they aren’t gear-driven to move in synchrony). That said, these are pretty awesome models! The one at right is on DeviantART and was posted by user IMVU-Whystler. You can see some previous models by Whystler on Shapeways. There are downloadable plans for a true 3D printed orrery on GrabCAD, but it’s not clear that anyone has actually made it yet.