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Reproducing a piece from Ancient Indian History - The Asoka Chakra

The Project

Design Brief

Ancient Indian History and mythology has always engaged me a lot of wonder and curiosity. It always amazes, inspires, intrigues and leaves you thinking. One such thing that has captured my imagination is the Asoka Chakra at the Konark temple in Puri District of Odisha. A seemingly architectural design element in the 13th-century CE (year 1250) Konark Temple that is made as wheels of a chariot double up as a sun dial to calculate the time to as close as 3 minutes.

The simplicity, aesthetics and the embedded functionality of the Asoka Chakra made me wonder if we can recreate this wonder in a smaller size.

Our approach

Starting with a simple drawing that captures the essential elements, we explored making it casting in metal. Keeping the size sufficiently big considering limitations of a small batch investment casting.

3D Printing technology is perfectly suited for such a model to be made but it worked out too expensive per piece. But it was a worth while investment in printing 1 master in nylon 66.

The Asoka Chakra along with a wooden base would stand at approx. 8" height with a 6" diameter of the Chakra itself. We could overcome the challenge of getting the exact details of small grooves along the inner circumference after few trials.

After having gone through the process of casting the entire piece as 1 unit and failing multiple times trying different dies and materials, we finally found success in a modular design that required 4 pieces of the same part fastened together using screws. The entire excercise from 2D drawings, 3D CAD drawings, trials, 3D Printing to final production took about 8-9 months.

This has been conceptualised as a memento for a high profile event.