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Sundial Construction
Want to make a sundial? NASS has collected links to a number of websites where you can find software or design help that will allow you to make a sundial for your site.  The dials below include horizontal dials, vertical dials and more exotic dials such as the sheppard dial.  Your can even design your own astrolabe.

Most of the software is free.  Some is sold at a moderate price.  Depending on what you need, you can find the construction tool that you need.  NASS makes available a sundial tool called "The Dialist's Companion".


Orologi Solari e Meridiane

Want software that allows you to draw a variety of gnomonic sundials with a variety of details? Then Orologi Solari e Meridiane is the site for you. Gian Casalegno, an experienced Italian sundialist, offers both software and explanations of sundial construction. Illustrated here is the orologio del pastore, the shepard dial. (To allow easier construction, the gnomon is actually a slit in the top cardboard flange.) Want to draw dials with Babylonian (Hours from Sunrise) or Italian Hours (Hour to Sunset) or Temporal Hours (12 hours in the daylight)? It’s available at the click of a button with Gian’s software.



Calcad Sundial Design Software

Yvon Masse has created a simple tool for designing sundials. The program called Calcad allows you to simulate and create a sundial oriented in any position, at any angle, without any specialized knowledge. In return, all Yvon wants is a picture of your sundial. The software can be found at:



Cycloid Polar Sundial

Sabanski gives the detailed mathematics of building a cycloid polar sundial. The cycloid polar sundial is universal and can be used at any latitude. When one dial is laid out, every other possible dial can be obtained by scaling the cycloid and dial plate. Theoretically, the cycloid gnomon only contacts the dial plate at one point, so construction may be a bit exacting.



Great Circle Software

A visually stunning website: L.J. Coletti’s Great Circle Studio has a simple sun calculator, but with a twist. Output can be done in HTML, Text, or as a 2D or 3D plot in horizontal or ecliptic coordinates. You can also find a SunMap, a graphical map of the world with current day/night boundaries and solar data of Julian date, Greewich (AT) time, equation of time, solar declination, right assension and ecliptic longitude. A new addition allows you to make and download a gnomonic horizontal sundail.



Laser Trigon

The Trigon is a device for laying out the sundial hour lines for large sundials. The device illustrated by Bob Terwilliger is made from a small transit and a pointing laser. By mounting the transit along the polar axis, the azimuth represents hour angles (right ascension) and the elevation represents meridian lines (declination). Bob presents many photos and drawings showing how to assemble and use the Trigon. A more complete discussion of the Laser Trigon, including a description of its origins in traditional dialing tools can be found in the Compendium 3-2 of the North American Sundial Society (June 1996).


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