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How to Make a Wizard's Orrery

An orrery is a remarkable device. It is machine that simulates the motions of planetary objects. They have been around for hundreds of years and are an absolute delight.

In this tutorial we make a simple version that gives us the motion of the sun, earth and moon. And we do it with just a few simple materials.

the template is ready and right here

I have a youtube channel with over 700 videos on projects you can make. Check it out right here



The Orrery


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Notes about Orrery:

  An orrery is a working model of the solar system. The original orrery was built by George Graham and Thomas Tompion for Charles Boyle, the fourth Earl of Orrery, in 1704. Over the centuries they came in a lot of different types with a lot of different names. And their purposes varied from telling the phases of the moon, predicting eclipses and showing the positions of the planets and the major planetary satellites. I have more about them here: The Orrery and Tellurion

Will's Tips on Creativity Are you interested in the creative process and how a project like this comes about? The path I took to make this project was quite interesting. Yu can learn more abut the creative process I took here: The creativity of it: the Wizard's Orrery

Materials and tools:

  • 1 sheet of foamboard (Elmer's Foam Board)
  • Hot glue gun (preferable) or some kind of glue
  • 13 inches of 1/4 inch dowel, other size dowels will also work
  • A good hobby knife with extra blades - I use an X-acto knife
  • A small piece of sandpaper (any grit) or an emory board
  • Colored paints: Yellow, blue, green, grey
  • the template is ready and right here


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Let's Get Started


The major partsPrint up the template. There I show you all the various pieces and give you the more challenging pieces. Start by making the pieces for the box of the orrery.

Make these pieces first, the top and the bottom. Draw them out on foam board and cut them out.






Glue on sides

Now cut out and add the three upright side pieces. They are three inches in height. And there are three pieces.







glue on topGlue the top on . And add a support piece in the back. The black arrow shows the support piece. It is three inches tall and one inch wide.

Now we have a nice strong supporting structure for the Orrery.

Next So, let's continue with the tutorial and start building it.




Watch the video here:


Suggested Materials and Tools:

Foam board

Elmer's 900802 Foam Board, White Surface with White Core, 20 x30 (Pack of 10)





Hot glue gunSurebonder PRO2-100 100-Watt High Temperature Industrial Glue Gun, Black

This is the exact glue gun I use for this project. It is a high quality professional type. Amazon does have more economical ones right here: Hot Glue Guns on Amazon.com




X acto knife

X-ACTO Z Series #1 Knife with Cap (XZ3601)







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