The hard work was my doing the trigonometry for the three-dimensional paper-craft gnomon and writing a perl script that generates a pdf file for a particular location. But with the script written, you should be able to print out a sundial from the generator on my website and construct it in fifteen minutes.
Ingredients and tools:
- Two sheets of paper, ideally cardstock or some other heavy stock.
- Paper glue (I use Aleene's)
- Something pointy, e.g., a pen with no ink or a small screwdriver
- Computer with internet access, PDF viewer, and printer
You can load the PDF file into a vector drawing application like Inkscape and make it fancier. Just make sure that if you resize the dial, you resize the gnomon (the pointer) in the same proportions. The script is open source so you can modify it as you see fit.
You can presumably trace the printout on copper sheets to make a fancier dial and gnomon. I'd love to see it.
This would make a good classroom project at various levels, depending on how deep you get into explaining how it works.
Note: The script currently works for latitudes between 24 degrees (north or south) and 65 degrees (north or south). (That covers all of the contiguous 48 states in the U.S., much of the populous parts of Canada and Europe, all of South Africa, much of India, etc.) The limitations are due to the way the gnomon is designed to work both when shadows are short and when they are long, and its having a wider base.
Step 1: Enter the data
- your zip code (if you're in the US) or latitude/longitude (this site should help)
- your timezone
- whether your location has daylight savings time (time change between winter and summer time).
Print both pages of the PDF file, ideally on heavy paper, e.g., card stock.