Windows Program for Compound Gear and Orrery Calculations

This is a first public release of a Windows program for calculating compound gears (2 pair of gears) in “normal” or epicyclic arrangement. It also fully or partially automates Orrery calculations and has presets for various solar system periods, which can be modified and added to by editing the PeriodData.xml file. It allows the tolerance and min/max gear sizes to be specified as well as having various customisable presets, e.g. to only use Meccano or Lego gear sizes.

It is not fully tested and must not be distributed in its present form; it may only be downloaded from here. When it is a little more improved I will post source code and intend to permit distribution eventually. i.e. I’m only granting you a licence to use it yourself at present; a liberal Open Source licence will happen eventually.

It is written in C# and anyone interested in working on the code should contact me.

Download: Compound Gear Calculator Installer (Windows MSI, 380Kb)

If you use it, please provide feedback.

8 thoughts on “Windows Program for Compound Gear and Orrery Calculations

  1. I have a spread sheet to work out gear ratios using continuous fractions.
    This has been used to calculate gears required to
    drive an orrery with good accurate results.
    If you wish to peruse, E’mail me “m dot shuter at ntlworld dot com” .
    Mike Shuter.

  2. Tried to install on windows 7 x64 but recived this error:

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: CLR20r3
    Problem Signature 01: compoundgearcalculator.exe
    Problem Signature 02:
    Problem Signature 03: 4ad0ff3f
    Problem Signature 04: System
    Problem Signature 05:
    Problem Signature 06: 4a275e12
    Problem Signature 07: 38a9
    Problem Signature 08: 116
    Problem Signature 09: System.Security.Security
    OS Version: 6.1.7600.
    Locale ID: 1033

  3. OK – I failed to mention I built this on XP. I’m not surprised its barfing on Win7 (and I guess the same for Vista) but I don’t have a solution.

  4. I had no problem installing it on Win7 64-bit. I have seen System.Security.Security problems running/installing .net applications from a shared drive which is possibly what Martin was doing.
    Thanks for making and sharing this application. I am starting work on an orrery and this is very helpful. Have you made any more progress on yours? I would love to see any plans you have since I have not found anything detailed. I have some ideas how I want to make it but don’t really know if they are realistic…

  5. Hi Rob. Thanks for the comment. No progress on mine… too many projects (ho ho) and I ended up in the classic “first make a tool” scenario (I want to design/build a stepper motor drive for the rotary table to help keep me sane cutting numerous teeth).

    First off I was going to have a go at a variant on the Ferguson’s Orrery, similar to the one by Coote and Donelly (see my “looking for plans” post).

  6. Hope I can get this to work (probably at home under WINE)…. my situation with the first build a tool thing is to build a hobbing conversion for my Myford :-)… trhink I have that sketched out though….


  7. Thanks for the comment Chris. On my wish list is a port to Mono for Windows/Linux cross-platform. TBH this is quite a long way down the list, but as I’ve recently moved over to ubuntu linux on my work laptop, it seems rude not to play about with Mono.

    I haven’t tried under WINE so I’d be glad to hear your tale…

    Cheers, Adam

  8. Hi there,

    My name is Tania Chumaira, a postgrad student in The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
    I wonder if you could share the way you use this software. I am currently majoring Interactive Architecture which explores many different devices. I am now working on laser project by using the galvanometer motor and will apply the mechanism of orrery for the configuration of laser and the galvanometer motor. You can see the experiment in my vimeo channel.

    I am looking forward to hear from you soon.



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