Sundials - World's Oldest Clocks

North American Sundial Society

Carl Sabanski is a sundial enthusiast who has made paper cut-out sundial kits that can be tailored to your latitude in either the Northern or Southern hemisphere. He presents a wide variety of sundials, all of which will tell accurate local solar time. His dials come in many types: Equatorial, Equatorial Ring, and Gnomon-less Equatorial Sundials, Horizontal Sundials, Polar and Cycloid Polar Sundials, Cross and Star Sundials, Analemmatic Sundials, a fantastic sundial made from a CD disk and a Digital Equatorial Sundial based on the patent of Thew. There are Ring Dials, a Globe Dial based on the dial of Thomas Jefferson, and much, much moret source simulated the sun.

Each of these sundials is illustrated with a 3-dimensional drawings  to show assemblyh and use.  PDF files at his site present the detailed sundial design that can be cut or folded specifically for your latitude.

Pick up your sundial at:

What can 62 LEGO bricks build?  An equatorial sundial.  A recent dial building project demonstrates a very nice looking sundial dial built from regular LEGO elements.  The design is a classic equatorial sundial using a central north-pointing rod gnomon with shadow cast only hourly segments tilted at 15 degree increments.  The base swivels such that it can be adjusted for any latitude.

The building blocks use 1xN plates placed side by side on the underside of a 1x4x5 arch, creating the hourly progression of 15 degree tilted tiles.  In the design shown, two blue plates in the center bracket the noon mark.  Outer blue plates indicate 6am and 6pm. All you need to do is paste on the hour numerals. 


It appears that a number of different sundials can be created using LEGO tiles.  A comment on the shown design is that "after some experimenting, I think the base needs to be extended by two stud lengths.  The center of gravity shifts a little too far when the dial is adjusted for lower latitudes. It still stands, but is tippy."

In fact, there is a whole world of LEGO sundials. Check out where you'll find more equatorial sundials, a vertical east-west sundial, and a polar dial. It's amazing what you can do with LEGOS

Finished_Dial_Set_40Tony Moss of the British Sundial Society has designed a paper cut-out dial that combines a horizontal dial, a vertical dial, and a polar dial all into a nice assembly made from 4 print-outs and gluing together cereal box cardboard. This unique instrument introduces you to the shadow relationships of these fundamental typesof sundials. A challenging but rewarding design.

Dial layout and detailed instructions are provided for three latitude zones: 30-40°, 40-50°, and 50-60° covering areas from the southern USA to Alaska, Canada, UK, Europe, Russia, China, Korea, and Japan.

Download this file ([Latitude 30-40 multi-dial cut-out]4521 kB
Download this file ([Latitude 40-50 multi-dial cut-out]4715 kB
Download this file ([Latitude 50-60 multi-dial cut-out]5834 kB

nass_news_2013_mar_SundialAtlasPaperdialsNeed a small sundial for your display or science project?  Want to show how different sundials cast shadows?  Need a simple cut-out science exercise for your students?  Fabio Savian of Milan Italy has the solution.  For a number of years he has managed the Sundial Atlas website, ever increasing the number of sundial photos from around the world.  Over the last several years he has worked very hard to create the gnomolab that includes a solar compass map of the earth, cloud software for creating analemmatic (human shadow) sundials, and a section for making paper sundials to your specification.  The analemmatic dial measurements and papger dial designs are created as download PDF files.  Four of those dials were created by the North American Sundial Society.  Enjoy. Sundial Atlas Paper Sundials

nass_news_2012_may_papersundialThe North American Sundial Society is developing sundial material for the earth-science curriculum, particularly for middle school teachers to focus on the sky and the earth’s place in the solar system and to use the sun to show daily and seasonal changes.

 NASS offers a set of horizontal cut-out paper sundials for your latitude.  Freely make copies for yourself and your students.

Download your sundial here:


Download this file (NASS-CutOut-HorizontalSundials.pdf)NASS-CutOut-HorizontalSundials.pdf[ ]1781 kB

nass_news_2011_nov_ConnetquotSecond-grade students at Connetquot Elementary School in Islip, New York, created sundials using paper plates and pencils.   The pencil gnomons were set mostly vertical by the students and then they traced the resulting shadows at three times during the day.  This helped teachers Leslie Davis and Melissa Love demonstrate the sun’s apparent movement in the sky and talk about the earth's rotation as the cause. "The students really had fun," said Love, "and they were able to recognize that a sundial is a tool that can be used to measure time."


This Sundials for Starters appeared in The Compendium in June, 2007

by Robert L. Kellogg, Ph.D.


In this day and age of computers, I began musing what is one the least complicated sundial to build.  In the last Compendium I showed the classical method of graphically constructing a horizontal dial, and the introductory NASS Sundial CD discs contain power point presentations for creating a variety of sundials.  Here is a simple equatorial dial that I’ve used in sundial demonstrations.  It requires several pieces of cardboard and a coffee stirrer.

Read more: Equatorial Sundial

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