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My friend Chris commission a custom made orrery from Fayetteville, Arkansas based artist and craftsman Eugene Sargent, it’s stunning. Chris writes -

It was several months in the making, but the waiting was worth it. The Orrery has arrived and it is absolutely stunning.

Eugene did an amazing job, and I think he had fun making it because he’s hinting he may make another one, perhaps to sell…

We got a kick out of the packaging when it showed up with an “Orrery Manufacturing Co.” painted on the crate. We were worried about how well such an intricate little piece of useless machinery would survive shipment but the way it was crated up it could have survived anything. Seriously- the packaging was almost as complex as the device itself.

We pulled it out and set it up right away. The only “assembly” on our end was taking all the planets from the “planet box” and putting them into position (we did end up going out to Saturn). The planets are hand painted and glazed porcelain. I wasn’t sure how that would look but actually they turned out pretty great I think. There’s an interesting three-dimensional appearance to the planet surfaces as a result of the glazing.

Amazing orrery – Link.

Related:
Eugene Sargent’s site, great stuff there – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. codesuidae says:

    That’s a Taig micromill. I ran one for a while and highly recommend it for anyone looking to do small parts. He’s using the Mach3 software from Artsoft to control it. Truly excellent software from a top-notch guy.

    If you’re looking to spend some money to set up a small and highly accurate milling machine, that’s the stuff you want to use. If you’ve got plenty of cash, use Geckodrive controllers, if you want to save some cash, use the 4 axis SLA7063-based board from HobbyCNC (you could make your own stepper driver board too, natch).

  2. Commentor says:

    Thanks for sharing that. Totally awesome piece of work, man amazes me.

  3. Jack says:

    I have to say, that machine is absolutely beautiful. It’s clear he put a lot of care and passion into creating it! Now I want to make something wonderful like that :)

  4. Sleastack says:

    I went to high school with Eugene back in the ’80s. For a science fair, he made seismograph out of aluminum which was attached to a Commodore 64. He wrote code in assembler to display the readings like a chart. He is very talented. I liked looking in his lab book for the project because his illustrations where so good.

  5. cwiggins says:

    sleastack,

    i guess that means you went to highschool with me too (Chris Wiggins…the guy who commissioned eugene to make the orrery).

    It’s funny you remember him and not me (I’m assuming you don’t remember me here) because even though Eugene and I were best friends, I was always in his shadow. He was a better bicycle racer, smarter, popular with *everyone* even though we were geeks and supposed to be shunned.

    He’s definitely something special all right.