Stainless Steel Armillary Sphere

Stainless steel armillary sphere

This armillary sphere is made from stainless steel and is 60cm in diameter and is based on the demonstrational armillary spheres made during the 17th and 18th century. The highly polished finish sparkles in the sunlight making it an impressive addition to a garden landscape. The armillary was mounted on a garden armillary rock feature.


Stainless steel was chosen for the construction because of its corrosion resistance and chrome-like finish when polished. Being exposed to the elements sees many garden armillaries corroding away after several years, particularly in coastal areas. This stainless steel armillary guarantees to keep its integrity for a very, very long time.


A description of what the rings of the armillary sphere represent gives you an idea of how the earth and the universe was viewed. Usually the meridian ring is marked out in degrees above and below the equator and the ecliptic ring is divided into the twelve signs of the zodiac. These details were not necessary in the design as it is intended as more of a decorative sculptural object rather than a scientific instrument.


Stainless steel armillary construction

The pictures below illustrate some of the steps in assembling the stainless steel armillary sphere. By far the most difficult stage of construction was polishing the stainless steel itself. All the stainless steel flat bar lengths had to be filed smooth by hand and then polished to a mirror finish. Once all the raw material was polished it was rolled into the various rings needed to make the sphere.


Rolled and polished steel rings
Rolling steel rings

All the polished stainless steel parts ready for assembly after being rolled into rings.

welding jig
TIG welding jig

The parts are held securely in position in a jig so they can be TIG welded together.

Welding completed in jig
Welding finished

With the welding completed the sphere is ready to be removed from the assembly jig.

Assembled armillary with steel ball fitted inside
Completed sphere

The completed central sphere with the central stainless steel ball representing the Earth fitted inside.

Assembling the support cradle
Support cradle

The support cradle after being welded together in its jig.

Completed armillary fitted to the support cradle
Completed assembly

Completed armillary fitted to the support cradle