During my vacation, I spent a few hours one afternoon with a straight-edge, a compass, and my copy of Stoeffler’s Elucidatio – The Construction and Use of the Astrolabe. I was able to draw out a basic climate plate very easily; in fact I was surprised at how straight-forward it was. I am inspired to draw an astrolabe from scratch using the techniques described in the book, and to display the result at the Arts and Sciences Display during Pennsic 41.
Project: Drafting the astrolabe with straight-edge and compass
- Using only a straight-edge, compass, and pencils, design a complete set of plans for an astrolabe.
- Create front, back, rete, rules, and a climate plate set
- Photocopy the above, assemble and laminate for testing.
- Step-by-step examples of how the climates are drawn.
- Document the whole process in this blog over the course of the year.
This project, besides being a fun challenge, will give me a more in-depth understanding of how an astrolabe works. Moreover, it will provide insight into the minds and techniques of period instrument makers, and (hopefully) provide other students a clear set of instructions for designing their own instruments.