Jul 9, 2017 | By Julia

A maker by the name of WidgetWizard has 3D printed an astoundingly intricate motorized orrery complete with 8 planets and their respective moons. While these apparatuses have been used throughout modern history to illustrate the relative motion, size, and orbit of the planets – both in relation to each other, and to the sun – it’s exceedingly rare to see one in 3D printed form.

“After discovering what an orrery is, I was surprised to find that a 3D printed version of any size was not common,” says WidgetWizard on his Instructables page.

“What I also discovered is how coveted the information is on how to make one. The craftsmen who design these things do not like to share their information, particularly on what gear ratios they use [to] achieve the correct relative planetary orbits around the sun.”

Setting out to change all that, the enterprising WidgetWizard published an Instructable guide for his project, complete with a full set of instructions, necessary tools, gear ratios, and even a full list documenting each of the planetary orbits.

That being said, constructing this 3D printed orrery is certainly not for the faint of heart. WidgetWizard reports that over 100 parts were used in the construction of this orrery, pushing the limits of what was possible with a home 3D printer.

The maker 3D printed all parts at 50% fill with the exception of the gear spindles, which were printed at 100% for maximum strength. Likewise, the planets were each printed at 20-30% fill in order to keep the support rods taught and sturdy. Each planet, planet arm, and gear was printed in different colours to best see which gears are actually driving each planet’s motion. The result is a precise, eye-catching orrery that’s as awe-inspiring as it is educational.

WidgetWizard’s feat hasn’t gone unnoticed. The 3D printed motorized orrery recently took home the grand prize for the “Design Now: In Motion” contest, held by Instructables, 3DHubs, and 3Dconnexion.

Geared towards 3D printed projects with focus on making, designing, or 3D printing objects that move or enable motion, “Design Now” awards enterprising 3D printing enthusiasts with the chance to compete for a free Zortrax M200, SpaceMouse Enterprise Kit, and print vouchers from 3DHubs. To qualify for the contest, all entries had to be related to 3D printing and motion, and designed in Fusion 360 software.

Up against some seriously competitive designs, WidgetWizard’s motorized orrery shone through, and ultimately took home the grand prize. The ambitious maker will now be the proud owner of a Zortrax M200 – all the better for future ground-breaking 3D printing projects. Congratulations WidgetWizard!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Bodger Bill wrote at 7/9/2017 6:41:21 PM:

Moons ? As in just ours, not any other planets... who proof reads this lot !!!

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive