When a client comes to us with an idea, we aim high to exceed their expectations.

Approached by the Otago Museum, we were asked to make a to scale model of the Earth, Moon and Venus for their latest project, the Central Otago Interplanetary Cycle Trail. Programming the Earth into our Haas 5 Axis Machine proved to be most time consuming. The intricate details of the continents on the Earth took us 16 hours! The specifications needed to be extremely accurate to be able to produce the level of detail that we wanted to showcase. Milling the sphere of the Earth took a little over 1 hour to complete, and another 1h 30min to machine the continents. The Moon and Venus were less intricate, and only required an hour of machining for each piece.

After the machining was finished, Venus was passed onto Escudo (a Dunedin based painting supplier), where they applied the orange colour to the sphere. After much discussion with Escudo, we established that the Earth shouldn’t get painted. The Earth’s details that we added were so intricate, it was decided that paint would spoil the finer details on the sphere.

Currently the spheres reside along the Central Otago Rail Trail, where cycling enthusiasts can see the solar system on a scaled down level. Each planet is scaled and spaced out accordingly to how they lie in real time (100 million to one replica model).

“The comments from those using the solar trail about the United-made planets has been uniformly positive” says Craig Grant, Otago Museum. “United took a real interest in the project, and I’d have no hesitation recommending United to others”.

To read more about the Central Otago Rail Trail on Stuff click here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/news/86256117/otago-central-rail-trail-to-become-100-million-to-one-model-replica-of-the-solar-system

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