TRU Planetary Model Project

  • Member

    From Brandon

    Looking to create something like this for 6 planets (sun will be commissioned separately), for an astronomy walk on campus.

    Looks like it would involve 3d printing with a strong weather resistant filament, and probably painting and enameling so the paint doesn’t peel with weather.

    I’d be interested in commissioning the Makerspace or their contacts for this, as long as the Makerspace is compensated a percentage for the work.

    Please contact myself at

  • TRU had this when I was there. They used semi-precious stones for the planets. Also, when I was passing through Williams Lake, I stopped on campus there, and they had … Jupiter I think.

    PLA is biodegradable. It will not stand up to the weather for very long at all. ABS won’t break down the same way, but it goes super brittle and crumbly if you give it enough UV exposure. Maybe some of the resins would be better? Or machine them out of aluminum.

  • Member

    are they replacing the scale models on campus, because last i checked it was pretty weathered and might of had some planets fall from their plaque

  • You could use the 3020 with wood.

  • Classroom

    @Krankin yes the current ones are continually degrading and they have been talking about this for a long time. I’m sure that they are ready to pull the trigger here. @pierre, good call on the materials. Metal is a win here. @vaughn, this sounds like a strategic partnership matter with TRU so maybe you want to jump in to make sure we get a coordinated effort here? I’ll help however I can, lets get this done.

  • Hey guys!

    Thanks for posting this Dave.

    If metal is an option, it should be something like Aluminum which is cheap and won’t corrode. That would definitely be an option we’d consider with the whatever else is available.

    We pulled out the old decrepit walk last summer, and are looking to get something in that would age a bit better. The old one was surprisingly young, although I forget the age right now - Maybe 10 years old.

    General preferences:

    • Will generally last a while without corrosion; >10 years
    • Relatively easy/affordable to replace if vandalized or stolen
    • Shows a high level of quality

    So, what are our options?

    778 257 7464

  • Design Lab

    Yes, I’d coordinate the Makerspace response to this. I have many years of design experience in public art and installations and am sure we could do this project nicely as a Makerspace fundraiser.

    My preliminary recommendation would be milled aluminum spheres (in TRU-provided scale dimensions, of course), airbrushed with appropriate colors, powder coated clear, mounted on angled stainless display plate (etched with TRU-provided information), itself mounted on 2" o/d pipe that bolts to the ground via a common welded flange.

    To move forward:

    • A discussion by TRU and Makerspace people on-site to get the requirement and basic information nailed down. Sketch out the renewed vision and a plan.
    • Do preliminary budgeting to ensure the project is feasible.
    • I can make a drawing of the basic design for prelim. approval and get accurate prices on materials and labour.

    @bdallamore thank you for the inquiry - let us know how you wish to proceed.

  • Great Vaughn,
    Can you give me a call next Tuesday-Friday and we can plan to meet up?

  • Design Lab

    @bdallamore will do - any prior information you have on-hand (like layouts, relative dimensions, maps or whatever), can be sent to my email for preview.

  • Design Lab

    What is the status of this project? we’re ready to go.

  • What about the idea of enameled metal balls? They wouldn’t fade, and the project would have a tie-in with the concept of someday having a kiln at the space.

  • Hey Vaughn!

    Looks like responding to the email notification does not post a response - Would you be able to give me a call later next week (not Friday or Monday) to discuss?


  • Design Lab

    @bdallamore oops! Thanks - Ill call you on Weds.

  • Design Lab

    @BrianB Yes! I thought we’d airbrush the planets in the appropriate colors and then either clear powder coat or enamel somehow. I’m not savvy to the baked-enamel process, though - do you have experience with that?

  • You can get powdered enamel (Basically coloured glass dust) and apply it to metal with a torch. Heat the metal up, dip in the enamel, tap it to get the enamel off, repeat as needed to build up the thickness you want, then set it aside to cool. Super durable and weather resistant coating. I have an oxy/mapp torch in the metal room paint closet that’ll hit those temperatures… But a few minutes on wikipedia tell me that I should expect to hit 700-850C to fuse the glass. Aluminum is a no-go because it’ll melt at 650C. Most brass alloys melt around 900C (which is a little sketchy without close temperature control) bronze at 1000C is much safer. Steel is the usual candidate for vitreous enameling because it does not melt until around 2700C and unlike all the previous options… It actually needs protection from the weather.

    We could try anodizing the metal… Aluminum takes some pretty vibrant colours that way, and the rig is easy and cheap to set up.

  • Very cool project. Also, the universe is much bigger than I can comprehend. I had to watch this video a few times:

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