Design of the Week: 3D Printed Sundial

A 3D printed DIGITAL sundial!

A 3D printed DIGITAL sundial!

This week’s selection is the amazing 3D printed sundial by Mojotpix. 

Mojotpix, a Toulouse, France-based designer, has developed an amazing design that is a sundial that displays the time in digital form! 

He has designed the precise shape of the sundial using mathematics to allow sunlight to pass through the material, leaving a shadow with the approximate digital time as shown at top. 

As the sun moves through the sky, different light channels through the sundial are lit, changing the digital time shadow. 

The sundial requires some adjustment depending on where you attempt to use it on the surface of this curved Earth, as the angle between the surface and the sun changes. 

Adjusting the 3D printed digital sundial

Adjusting the 3D printed digital sundial

To look at the sundial, it’s not clear what it is, other than a strange cylinder with mysterious holes that make no apparent sense. In fact, these holes are where the light passes through - but only at the correct time. 

The Sundial design is available at no charge from Thingiverse, where you can 3D print the parts and assemble the sundial for your own use, assuming it’s sunny. 

A rendering of a fully assembled 3D printed digital sundial

A rendering of a fully assembled 3D printed digital sundial

Mojoptix recommends using ABS plastic because PLA may soften under the hot sunlight, compromising the precise operation of this design. 

To get this to work, you’ll need to print this item very carefully, as it requires reasonably high resolution to ensure the holes are clear. 

The complex design will also involve a large number of retractions during printing, so your 3D printer must be able to handle that through appropriate tuning. 

If you don’t have a 3D printer handy, Mojotpix also offers preprinted units on his Etsy site. 

Mojotpix showing the size of the 3D printed digital sundial

Mojotpix showing the size of the 3D printed digital sundial

The sundial isn’t perfect though: it’s an analog device that has limited accuracy, as you might expect. 

Also, it doesn’t work at all at night. 

Via Etsy, Thingiverse and Mojotpix (Hat tip to Jeff)

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

+