A steel map, with wood backing, and led strip lighting that lights up on the map wherever it is Noon in the world.
18 GA plate steel
1" Box Tube (12-18 GA)
CAD software and a printer
WS2812B LED strip light
Arunio Uno plus accessories
Step 1: Draft Your Map
You can do the whole world like me, or just do one country. But I find it key to draft your map as accurately as possible.
I took a Robinson map and used Google Maps to help draft my outlines in AutoCAD.
Then I printed it to full scale. It was about 2'6" Tall and 5' Wide.
Step 2: Cut Out Paper Pattern and Make a Steel Pattern
After printing my map I pieced it together to make my paper pattern. Sorry to those small Hawaiian, Asian, and Caribbean Islands, you didn't make the cut. Ended up being too small to weld at my scale.
Trace your paper pattern onto 18ga steel plate.
Have a smooth hand and cut out using a plasma torch. I also felt the edges of the cut with the plasma torch made it more natural.
Layout your continents and be carefully not to loose any. I had to make a second Hawaii because I dropped the first one.
Step 3: Make a Frame and Paralles
Use 1" box tube to make a frame. Face with the same 18ga plate steel to be the border of the Earth.
Add as many parallels as you wish. Again, accuracy is what sells. Plot out where the real parallels are and place them there. Heck throw in the longitudes if you wish. I like the look of just the latitudes.
Then, carefully from the backside, weld your continents into place.
Step 4: Back, Back, Back It Up.
For my placate I glued together some scrap wood with a nice thick grain and used an oxyacetylene torch to do a wood burning technique.
After that I adhered LED strip lights to it where the continents will be so you won't see the LED source, but you will see the light.
I used WS2812B with 150 LEDs at 5 meters long. This type of LED strip is addressable, so you can program it in an infinite amount of ways, rather than just on or off.
Step 5: Arduino and Coding
I wired my WS2812B LED strip to an arduino and an extra capacitor to handle the loads. Personally this is the trickiest part. Luckily Arduino, Adafruit, and SparkFun have nice websites that help you learn this technology.
I coded my ardunio to work like a clock. So the LED's light up in sequence on the map, wherever it is Noon in the world. Mimicking the sun.