Simple Homemade Sundial Instructions

Written by grahame turner
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Simple Homemade Sundial Instructions
The sundial is a simple and elegant timepiece. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

The sundial is one of the earliest types of clock devised. With a sundial, you can tell the time of day by the position of the sun, using a series of shadows and marks set at specific shadow lengths. This is the type of project that takes some time to set up properly, but makes a timepiece that can't lose time or need to be changed. The downside to this type of device is that you can only check it when it's sunny outside.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Styrofoam cup
  • Rocks
  • Ruler
  • Paper plate
  • Plastic drinking straw
  • Masking or electrical tape
  • Compass

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  1. 1

    Drop some rocks in the bottom of the cup. This will keep it steady when you're using it.

  2. 2

    Measure about 2 inches from the top rim of the cup. Mark this point. Measure and mark the exact centre of the paper plate as well.

  3. 3

    Punch holes in the cup and plate at the marks you made.

  4. 4

    Stack the cup and plate on top of each other, with the centre of the cup centred over the cup. Push the straw through the hole on the side of the cup and through the top of the plate. Push the straw so that it's as high as possible above the plate. Tape the whole device together: the cup to the plate, and the straw to both.

  5. 5

    Place the sundial in your yard on a sunny day. Try to find a place where you'll be able to leave the sundial. Wait for the top of the next hour, such as 4 p.m.

  6. 6

    Position the cup so that the straw points north. Stand at the bottom of the cup and mark the right-hand side of the straw's shadow. Mark the time.

  7. 7

    Return to the cup each hour and mark the shadow and time. When you have finished marking for a full day, you will have a completed sundial.

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