Clayton Boyer Clock Designs


Copernican Planetary Orrery



This fun mechanism is a hand-cranked planetary orrery that shows the first six planets nearest the sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. This orrery is an adaptation of one that was built for the King of Denmark in 1735, when only six planets were known. I have designed it so that one crank of the handle is equal to one Earth season. Four complete rotations of the crank shows one compete roation of the Earth around the sun and the synchronous movement of the other five planets on their respective orbits. A brief history of this mechanism, which was originally a planetarium installed in the ceiling for the King, and the discovery of the remaining planets is also included in the plan.

The mechanism you see here was built by my friend, Dan Durdle. Dan has built several of my designs and I appreciate his craftsmanship and dedication. Thank you, Dan, for your input.

The open top design, making the internal workings of this mechanism so easily observable is the brainchild of my friend John Tribe. John has chronicled the build of his Copernican Planetary Orrery on his website. He says not only was this a kick to build, but so much fun to crank and watch the planets do their dance through the universe. He tells me that from this he has learned that conjunction of the planets is a very rare event.

Below is a video of Gary Liming's beautiful interpretation of my Copernican Planetary Orrery. He has made his own case and his wife did a beautiful job of painting the individual planets. Gary also set the movement of the planets on his version of the Copernican Planetary Orrery to a great dramatic soundtrack that is, by some coincidence, named "The Planets" by Holst.



(If you do not see the video player above in your browser, you can click on the following link to see Gary's YouTube video: Copernican Planetary Orrery)

You can see some other builds of my Copernican Planetary Orrery here: Copernican Planetary Orrery Flickr Pool

Copernican Planetary Orrery plans are available in TWO different formats. Please choose only one option:

The price of the paper plan delivered by mail is $42.00 plus shipping. If you would like to purchase Copernican paper plans by mail, click here:


If you would like to purchase electronic plans in dxf format and receive them via email, you must:

1. Have a CAD program that can read dxf's.

2. Have a valid email address that can receive a 5 MB attachment. Add to your safe senders list so we don't end up in your spam filter.

If you prefer the dxf/email option, you will not receive a paper copy by regular mail. Plans purchased with the dxf option will be delivered to your inbox as an email attachment after payment is received, usually within 24 hours. The price of the dxf plan delivered via email is $37.00. To purchase dxf plans via email for the Copernican Orrery, click below:

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