Latest Project – The Planets

Recently, I was approached by someone who saw my painted planets from a few years back. They wanted a new set of planets, in a larger scale, for an installation at their home. I am happy to announce that this project is now underway.

My previous planet set – each 2 1/2″ across

Previously I offered Jupiter, Mars, Earth and its Moon. Each was approximately 2 1/2″ across, and far more round than the actual planets they were depicting.

I’ve always wanted to upscale the planets that I made before, and render them in a more accurate fashion. This is a perfect opportunity to do so, and to perhaps offer these updated planets to others. Especially Saturn, which is by nature a difficult planet to depict in 3D due to its beautiful rings. I’ve had my own ideas on how to make a scale model of Saturn, but they required tools that I did not have easy access to at the time. And frankly with the bakery business that we were running, I didn’t really have the capacity to make any progress on them. But I did manage to knock together a concept model using smaller wood hemispheres and a shape I cut on our Cricut Maker.

Original Prototype – 3.5″ across – wood and chipboard

I’m pretty fond of this size Saturn, but the details would be quite hard to see. And the thickness of the rings is a bit distracting. This design was a test of the rings that are suspended from a single ledge behind the planet (not shown in the photo). It’s effective when viewed from multiple angles.

As luck would have it, a good friend and colleague of mine started collecting some clever machinery that would help make this project a reality. And this week, after some back and forth about the details, we have our first Saturn prototype ready to go:

Full Size Saturn Prototype

The main body of Saturn will be two acrylic hemispheres, 4 1/2″ across. The rings were laser etched and cut by my friend Joe Graziano. We will be working together on these and I am thrilled with the results so far. Overall Saturn will be just over 10″ across with the rings.

Outer Planets (L to R) Jupiter 6″, Saturn 4.5″, Uranus & Neptune 4″
6″ Hemispheres for Jupiter – clear acrylic

The largest single planet will of course be Jupiter, at 6″ diameter. Uranus and Neptune will each be 4″. As much as I’d like to scale these with 100% accuracy, I am at the mercy of available hemispheres. At least until I can manufacture my own at a later date. Each of the hemispheres will need to be reduced in height to match the proper profile of the planets.

Inner Planets (L to R) Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter (for scale)

The inner planets will be mostly at scale with each other, but for the sake of the display, they will each be larger than they should be compared to the outer planets. As of this writing, I am considering bumping up their scale a bit as they may be a bit small when viewed in person.

For my client, these planets will be suspended from the ceiling with a dedicated light fixture. I will be working on stand-alone sets as well, either wall-mounted or tabletop. Either way, I am excited to share this with all of you and I will be updating as things progress.

Let me know what you think!

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