One of the aims of a makerspace is to make useful objects or at best an object that is useful under limited conditions. Clearly a sundial is useful only when the sun is shining. At this moment, however, I am looking at a grey and overcast sky but optimistically I feel that sunny days are about to return, so I feel this is a good time to suggest making your own sundial at your local makerspace. Rather than a boring conventional sundial, have you ever considered 3D-printing a digital sundial?
The idea of a digital sundial is one of the most original things that I have seen on the internet. It fits in well with the philosophy of the maker movement, an ideal project for modern day artisans. An open-source design, the sundial can be made with hobby/prototyping tools. The time for this project is roughly an hour preparation and a day and a half of 3D print time.
The video above shows the design by “Mojoptix”
This is a sundial with a digital dot matrix representation of the time created in the shadow by rays of sunlight, passing through multiple baffles. (see: http://www.mojoptix.com/2015/10/25/mo for original design) The french designer calculated the shadow positions using an open source programs :“Blender” for the sun positions and the parametric CAD program Open-SCAD to calculate the detailed baffle design.
Towards the end of last year we couldn’t resist 3D printing our own copy the “Mojoptix” design at Basingstoke Makerspace. It printed the first time we tried it, using PLA without need for any supports. We were so impressed with the design that we are planning to reprint it this year in more durable ABS plastic.
As you can see our own 3D print operates exactly like the video shown above from the original designer (with the obvious caveat that the reliability of the sunshine in Britain is not as good as in the South of France).
Digital sundial 3D printed at Basingstoke Makerspace