Feeling the Stars: Mini Zeiss

The model of the Zeiss and the StarBay have been progressing and it has been very exciting to see the details emerge from raw materials.  The model will actually be produced through casting.  To cast, a mold will be made from a positive (kind of like a very polished rough draft of the final product).  When the mold is made, the casting product (plastic, bronze, etc.) can be poured in to create the final product.  This update will take you through creating a lot of the positive that will create the mold in which the final product, our "Mini Zeiss" tactile, will be produced.

A piece of yellow foam that is about 2.5 inches long sits on top of a black and white computer drawing of the Zeiss Universarium IX projector.  The piece of foam has two 1/8" cuts going width wise and then two more cuts going width wise that are about 1/16" wide.  There is also a quarter inch cut going lengthwise.  There is a two-by-four in the foreground as well.
Testing out some material to create the Zeiss Planet Projectors
The practice planet projectors cut from the block of yellow foam that is about 2.5 inches long and one inch wide sits in the middle of a circle drawn with black on a wood work bench.  It looks very small in the circle.  There is a half circle of wood that has the same diameter as the drawn circle of 24" sitting in the drawn circle as well.  There is another half circle mocking up where the walls will go as it sits on silver metal weights.  On another wood table to the left there is a bottle of wood glue, a red clamp and a black clamp.
Practice Foam Planet Projectors sitting in the mock up of the StarBay

Of course trying to get things perfect takes a bit of time and a lot of effort! 

In the background is a white piece of paper with a drawing of a circle that has many other circles all over inside of it.  The page is labeled "Starball" and each of the small circles in the big one is labeled but the font is too small to read.  In the foreground is a hand with it's palm flat and open and resting on it is a small model of the Starball.  It is like a large fat pill or capsule with both ends being yellow and the center being grey.  There are washers and nails all over it to act like small lenses.  The washers and nails are silver metal.
First attempt at creating the starball with accurate lenses

A few different Zeiss positives have been made now until the right size that will be durable enough emerged.

On a grey cart sits many pieces of graph paper and computer drawings of the Zeiss Star Projector in black and white.  The papers cover the top of the cart.  There is also a piece of wood with some wedges of yellow foam sitting on it.  In the foreground is a pencil and three foam versions of the planet projectors.  the smallest is about 1.5 inches long by 1 inch tall with four boxes about .5 inches wide cut into the block.  The medium one has the same shape but is about 2 inches long by 1.5 inches tall.  The biggest is about 3 inches long and 1.5 inches tall.
Different scales of foam planet projectors

Third time's a charm though and now we have the right scale.  Next up was the creation of a Starball that was the right size...

On a grey cart sits two round chunks of clay about the size of an adult's palm and a child's palm.  In each is a dome shaped dent with a diameter of about one inch.  There is a clear plastic starting to solidify from a syrupy liquid the middle of the clear plastic is turning a milky white.  Behind the clay is a white bottle and a couple of small plastic clear cups.
Molding the sides of the Starball
On a black cart sits the round clay mold for the sides of the Starball with one dome shaped 1-inch diameter indent.  Two white plastic dome-shapes are sitting on the mold.  there is also a silver metal screw of about one inch, a small metal clamp and another chunk of clay to the right of the main mold.
The sides of the Starball are complete!
A young man in a blue sweatshirt and blue jeans stands in front of a metal table.  On the table is a lathe; it is silver metal and has a large black and yellow caution sign on the side.  It is about a foot tall and 2.5 feet long and one foot wide.  There are a few cranks on the side that the young man is using to control the metal arm with a sharp point that goes back and forth to cut the grey plastic piece that will be the middle of the Starball.
Creating the center of the Starball on the lathe
A silver and blue drill press is being used in this picture.  The press stands about 6.5 feet tall and has a large box at the top for the motor.  it is attached at the back to a silver metal pole wit ha diameter of about six inches and has a counter at about four feet.  On top of the counter sits a black box and a piece of yellow foam.  A red bit is being pressed into the foam.  It is connected to a silver metal pole attached to the large box at the top of the machine.  A hand is using the crank to lower the bit into the foam.  Below the machine is a white box with pieces of wood in it.
Making the base for the Starball on the drill press

We want it to be as accurate as possible, so checking it against the real thing now and then never hurts!

In the Planetarium under the large white dome sits the teal colored Zeiss Universarium IX Star Projector.  It is about 15 feet tall, 15 feet long and 10 feet wide.  The starball looks like a giant slightly elongated ball (so that it is not a perfect sphere) and on it are many smaller circles that are lenses.  These lenses cover the entire ball.  It is perched on four legs that hold it to a rotating circular base that sits upon two black wedges.  On a third black wedge that extends in front of the ball are the four planet projectors.  Each one is about 4 feet tall and two feet wide.  The whole thing is enclosed by a blue metal fence.  On a chair in the foreground is the yellow foam and white plastic positive of the Zeiss.  It is about six inches long total, two inches wide and ten inches tall, but it mimics the real projector almost exactly in a smaller scale.
The Mini Zeiss positive meets the real Zeiss
In the open fingers of a left hand sits the Starball positive for the Mini-Zeiss Model.  It has many small washers and nail heads attached to it now to mimic the lenses of the real Zeiss.  It has also been painted with Hammerite which gives it a metallic silver appearance.  It is about 1.5 inches long and 1 inch in diameter.
The Mini Zeiss's Starball positive gets some lenses and a coat of Hammerite

Once again I'd like to give a special thank you to Ian for all his hard work.  When I first thought of this model, I had no idea how much time and effort would be involved but he has truly brought the small version of the Zeiss to life and it's not even finished yet!

I can’t wait for our visitors to experience the final product!

Did you miss the first blog post in the Feeling the Stars series? You can find it here.

If you would like to read the original posts, you can find them by clicking here.

If you would like to read the original posts, you can find them by clicking here. - See more at: http://www.slsc.org/feeling-the-stars-intro#sthash.tcij0VRK.dpuf

Written by Anna, James S. McDonnell Planetarium

Add new comment