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Author Topic: Antikythera Mechanism Build.  (Read 9358 times)
Mechanism Man
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« on: July 08, 2014, 08:59:29 am »

Good morning ladies and gents,
After not being on here for a good year or so I thought that it was high time that I posted another project within these hallowed halls.
As with most of what I do, it's not really stream punk (you can see several posts featuring my wooden orreries on here if you look back a year or three, or in fact as far back as 2008...), but there are lots and lots of gears in everything I do, so that kind of puts it somewhere in the field of interest here I hope...
So, after several years of chewing over it, researching and planning, I'm finally going to build a wooden geared version of the Antikythera Mechanism.
For those not familiar with it, it's the 2100 year old gear driven shoe box sized machine that was discovered in very bad condition within a shipwreck off Greece in 1900. Since that time researchers have discovered that it could predict planetary movements (including retrograde motion where the planets appear to move backwards in the sky), eclipses, passage of time, moon phases, and all with an accuracy that in some cases has less than a 1° error over a period of 500 years... and it pre-dates the first gear driven clock by over 1000 years. In other words, it's pretty darned clever.
Latest research has put the gear count inside the machine at something in the region of sixty, and it would have predicted the motions of all the planets out to Saturn with a really neat and elegant system of gear trains.
It is also more or less unique in that it represents what can be seen looking out from Earth - so Earth itself is not featured on the machine - but in a lot of ways it makes it a much more useful device than a standard orrery, and way more complicated...
So, my plan is to build a version of this incredible machine and incorporate all the latest thinking on the gear trains which nobody has yet done in a physical machine, all the machines so far built are modeled on earlier thinking. And I'm going to do it all with hand cut wooden gearing - not a laser or CNC machine in sight...
The machine will end up about one and a half times bigger than the original, but it's still quite small considering what it will eventually do.
What could possibly go wrong?!
I've already made a start, and when I get my Photobucket account woken up and dusted down I'll post some photos of the first few gears.
Wish me luck folks, I think that I may need it on this one...
Dave.
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« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2014, 09:14:56 am »

Good luck with your build! You probably have the plan of the whole aperatus. I've seen a youtube video of a Antikythera Mechanism made from Lego.
Lego Antikythera Mechanism

It explains how it works. Perhaps there is a building plan on the internet for a Lego mechanism. You could use it as a guideline for your build, perhaps.
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« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2014, 02:48:41 pm »

Good to see you back, and with fantastic project!

Cheesy
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Mechanism Man
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2014, 03:36:21 pm »

Thank you!
I just hope that I haven't bitten of more than I can chew. I'm just playing with the gearing for the first module that controls the pointer positions for the Sun, Jupiter, and Mercury, and even these first few bits are fighting back!
Hey ho. One bit at a time as my Dad says, one bit at a time...
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« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2014, 07:13:33 pm »

If you aim for the stars you might at least reach the solar system! Good look, I break out in a sweat just thinking about it.
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Mechanism Man
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2014, 11:56:29 pm »

If I got this right, there should be a photo of the first bit of gearing - if it's not there I'll try again in the morning!



There must be an easier way of posting photos by now rather than pasting links, isn't there?

#Edit - took a few hours, but here's the photo!
More soon.
:-)
« Last Edit: July 09, 2014, 09:40:11 am by Mechanism Man » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2014, 07:21:41 pm »

I bow to your skill. Lovely work.
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2014, 07:33:36 pm »

Good to see you back, sir, and I look forward to following this project.

(Just in case you have bitten off more than you can chew, I've alerted the nice young men in the fine white coats… Wink)
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Mechanism Man
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2014, 10:25:34 pm »

Thank you Mr Cooper - all compliments gratefully accepted!
Ah, yes, those men in white coats do their best to keep my mind on an even keel, but I think that they may have left the room momentarily to have allowed me to start this...
Having said that, this machine is only gears driving gears, with a couple of clever slotted drives thrown in for good measure. Minds far greater than mine have worked out the gear trains, so all I'm doing is physically cutting them out and putting them together.... ok.... so there's a bit more to it than that, but I guess my point is that the hard work is already done (thank you Michael Wright, Eric de Sola Price, and all the other clever blokes over the past couple of decades who have worked out the maths and how all the gubbins actually worked and went together).
Just hope I can do it justice. Next progress shots might not be for a month or so as I have a couple of weeks of madness ahead of me before I have three great weeks in the U.S. of A. In the Washington DC area, so I'll get cracking with it again on my return.
Happy goggling people.
:-)
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 09:53:10 pm by Mechanism Man » Logged
Drew P
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« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2014, 03:18:57 am »

Nice project, please, do keep us updated.

And, as always, if unsure if your photos are posting correctly,  hit the 'preview' button first to check if the shots do post then hit 'post' if all is well. If not just try another format until they show up.  Wink
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« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2014, 04:43:26 pm »

Curious to see how this works out. I went to a rather good talk on the Antikythera mechanism a few years back and I found it fascinating.

Good luck,

~A~
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2014, 03:13:18 pm »

Watching this with interest.
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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2014, 11:45:54 pm »

This should be fun Cheesy
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Mechanism Man
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2014, 09:29:50 pm »

Hi Folks, just a quick update to let you know that I haven't given up with this, but I have just been side tracked a little into finishing off the little magician fellow in the photo.
He's a project I started in 2006 but drifted away from when other things kind of took over (orreries mainly...), but having visited the fella who originally commissioned it on my recent trip to the States I've been given the enthusiasm (or possibly guilty conscience...?) to get him finished, so the Antikythera Mechanism WILL be done as soon as he is performing his magic trick successfully as advertised (and only eight years late!).
I'll be back!!

« Last Edit: August 22, 2014, 09:33:03 pm by Mechanism Man » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2014, 09:55:39 pm »

Very nice.
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« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2014, 11:36:26 am »

Wow - really nice work Smiley
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« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2014, 12:08:22 pm »

Fascinating. I will be watching with great interest!
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« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2014, 09:50:41 pm »

and... he's back!
The attraction of getting on with the gearing on this wee beasty has overtaken the need get the magician finished for the time being, so I've made a little progress over the past couple of days and have formulated a plan of action for the next couple of stages.
So, what I'm working on at the moment is fitting the pin drives to the outer most gear of each of the three short gear trains - the pins then run in slots in three levers that return the movement of the gear trains back to the central column of nested brass tubing just like on a traditional orrery (the one test fitted in the photo is to drive the sun pointer), this will then show the apparent speeding up and slowing down motion of the planets (and the sun) as viewed from Earth.
Hmm... clear as mud... anyway, here's a photo:

[/URL]

More very soon I hope.

« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 11:00:14 pm by Mechanism Man » Logged
Drew P
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« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2014, 01:22:14 am »

*munch, munch, munch*

We need an emoticon for munching on popcorn! Grin
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Mechanism Man
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2014, 10:58:05 pm »

Okay, so progress is a little slow, but it is progress, and it all works! Unfortunately time is never really on my side with this kind of thing so it's all about the odd late night hour here and there. Please bare with me....
So anyhow,  the latest shots show the three pin followers for the Sun, Mercury, and Venus. The triangular frame provides a tube that is fixed to the rotation of the large main gear wheel that will provide a fixed date pointer that all the other pointers can be seen moving against.
So I now have a central core that will provide the moons movements (no gearing done for that yet), followed by the  nested tubes to move the pointers fur the Sun, the fixed (mean) date, Mercury and Venus.
Next up is the slightly (lots!?!) more complicated assembly for the pointers for Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. When done, this new assembly will be mounted above the bit that I've just done via spacer rods. This next bit also includes some very clever differential gearing that I may just understand once I've actually built it...
Watch this space.
:-)





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Mechanism Man
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« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2014, 08:21:41 pm »

Hello folks,
Here's another quick progress report for you on this daft project of mine.
All in all it's going really well - one minor hiccup when I realised that I'd got the build order wrong and had put the little triangular frame in at the wrong level, a trivial thing that would made the planet output pointers in partially the wrong order, easily fixed though.
Other than that, all is good. The photo shows the adjusted unit with rejigged assembly order, as well the newly cut gears for Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, they're just awaiting their spokes cut. These have a clever slot and pin drive system that provides a variable speed output from a constant speed input - that should then give us the apparent non uniform and sometimes retrograde movement of the planets as the months go by - I hope...
More soon.

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Drew P
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« Reply #21 on: October 14, 2014, 12:17:27 am »

Very nice! Take your time. Smiley
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Mechanism Man
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« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2014, 10:58:28 pm »

Evening chaps,
Well that's all the gears cut for the back end of the machine - the bit that drives the planet pointers. Next job is to create some frames to house them in and see if they actually work! 
Fingers crossed....
Once this little lot are working properly it'll be time to start the front end of the machine which appears to have enough gearing in it to sink a small battleship - and I can't wait - should be fun to do.  This is also the part of the machine that is fronted by the double spiral display of 235 months. That's going to be a challenge to cut - and possibly not quite so much fun to do... However, that's weeks or even months away yet - one step at a time Dave... one step at a time...

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« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2014, 12:29:21 pm »

Mmmmmmm, gears...mmmmmmmm.
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Mechanism Man
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« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2014, 10:30:58 pm »

After much pondering, head scratching and general dithering, I've now got the the next steps firmly fixed in my head and today has seen me cut out the two remaining frames that will house the gearing for the three superior planets. These two new frames will be fixed with rods to the great big gear (currently shown in the photo without its inferior planet gearing fitted) and they will slowly rotate with it, with all the planetary gearing being caged within these three rotating layers - and all the gears in turn will be humming away themselves as the are pulled around by the cage - it should look great when it's all done!  
I'm hoping to get all this test assembled over the next few days if all goes to plan, when the new photos will hopefully make more sense to you all!
More soon.
:-)



Edit - the middle frame will be replacing the little triangular frame in the previous photos - I hadn't realised that this frame also doubled up as somewhere to fix the pivot points for some of the new gearing, so it needed to be much bigger. Another easy fix thank goodness!
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 11:14:09 pm by Mechanism Man » Logged
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