For my final project, I’m having a hard time deciding if I want to make an arcade or an orrery; Both of these projects I’ve wanted to make before but have stopped for either not having access to machines, expense, or more recently distracted by school. An arcade is fairly easy to make, with a raspberry-pi or more powerful computer I can download Retropie and quickly be capable of emulating arcade games, aswell as games from a multitude of consoles including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Gameboy, and sega genesis. Taking on this project would mean designing and building an arcade cabinet (Likely a bartop or wall mounted style) with removable controllers. If I go through with making this emulator/arcade, I would want it to be transportable, so one could plug the “player 1” controller into power and a TV/monitor anywhere and could play games.  This controller could be mounted into the arcade cabinet for a more traditional style feel.













Amazon link.                                                                                                              

If I make the arcade, I think I want to try and style it after the first round of pictures released from the James Webb telescope.  The space-age galaxy style will be reminiscent of vintage galaga cabinets with a modern more sleek touch. Im not sure if I would try and recreate those images with glossy spray paint or If I would have sticky backed vinyl sheets printed out.

An orrery, however, would be significantly more difficult and expensive to manufacture (especially as I already have a raspberry pi for the arcade). Currently, there are a lot of whats and hows floating around my head as to how the orrery would actually come together. I purchased a set of telescoping brass tubes from home depot and the tolerancing is so tight I’m worried attaching gears to them either by soldering or with a set screw would change their shape enough to impact their ability to freely rotate within each other. Another issue I face is how to secure the rotating tubes to the base so that there is sufficient structural integrity to resist sway while allowing them to rotate.

I would want to style my Orrery similar to those produced by Staines and Son, with exposed metal gears like a skeleton watch. I really like the look of a dark wooden bass with polished brass gears. From looking at metal prices on Mc-Master Carr, buying the brass for my gears to be manufactured by waterjet at the Idea Forge would cost me ~$250 for 1/8″ thick gears. I’m unsure but assume the price would be greater using a company like sendcutsend to have my gears manufactured and shipped to me.                             

Whichever way I decide to go either project will be heavily influenced by space and will feature a space-themed aesthetic.




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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Jonah Chapel
    March 13, 2023 3:36 pm

    I really like your idea of making an orrery. That’s something that has interested me for a long time. I have a project that will likely also be using custom gears so your research on that front is helpful to me. Have you looked into the complications of an orrery? How many planets would you represent?

  • Lily Gabriel
    March 12, 2023 3:44 pm

    Very interesting! I like your commitment to an aesthetic, would you be retrofitting a game into the cabinet or code your own?


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