There’s something enchanting about ancient tools and instruments. The idea that our forebears were able to fashion precision mechanisms with nothing but the simplest hand tools is fascinating. And watching someone recreate the feat, such as by building an astrolabe by hand, can be very appealing too.
The astrolabe is an ancient astronomical tool of incredible versatility, allowing the user to do everything from calculating when the sun will rise to predicting the positions of dozens of stars in the night sky. That it accomplishes all this with only a few moving parts makes it all the more fascinating. [Uri Tuchman] began the astrolabe build shown in the video below with only a few hand tools. He quickly had his fill of the manual fretsaw work, though, and whipped up a simple scroll saw powered by an old sewing machine foot treadle to speed up his work. The real treat though is the hand engraving, a skill that [Uri] has clearly mastered. We couldn’t help musing that a CNC router could do the same thing so much more quickly, but watching [Uri] do it was so much more satisfying. Everything about the build really makes a statement, from the contrasting brass and steel parts to the choice of complex Arabic script for the markings. [Uri] has another video that goes over astrolabe basics and his design process that’s well worth watching too.
While it’s nowhere near as complicated an instrument, this astrolabe puts us in the mood to watch the entire Clickspring clock build again. And [Chris] is working on his own ancient instrument build at the moment, recreating the Antikythera mechanism. We can’t wait to binge-watch that one too.
Thanks to [Itay Ramot] for the tip.
12 thoughts on “Simple Hand Tools Turn Brass And Steel Into An Amazing Astrolabe”
dude was wearing #14 bowling shoes in one scene… :-)
Look again, it says 44. And it looks like size 44 too. (10:27)
It ain’t a hand tool when it’s pedal operated ;)
Feet are the hands of the legs. I’ll allow it.
looks very nice, fun to see this being made
even more surprising, it wasnt made by Clickspring
And more impressive since Clickspring uses modern tech to do what the ancients did by hand.
on his latest one, making the Antikythera mechanism, he’s trying to duplicate all the tools and methods they had during the time. very interesting stuff.
Well it’s a combination; he’s using both modern tools and reconstructed “maybe-how they did it” tech. Once you’ve cut one 87-tooth gear by hand using home-made home-case-hardened files, you’ve cut them all :-) Just watched the new one where he demonstrated cutting the spirals with a trammel and scorper.
Foot peddle or not amazing build and skills
Very impressed by his engraving, so easy to mess up.
I’ve always liked old brass instruments
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