3D Printed Sundial Displays The Time Dot-Matrix Style

This is a timelapse video created by Chris Fastie using a 3D printed ‘digital’ sundial invented by Julien Coyne, which displays the time (from 10AM to 4PM) dot-matrix style with rays of light, changing every 20 minutes as the sun moves through the fine matrix of holes inside. Some more details while I tell the time the way I always have — pointing my watch at somebody and asking them to read the hands for me:

Digital sundials don’t change the digits every minute, and to make the printing manageable, Coyne limited the time increment to 20 minutes. He also limited the operating span to the six hours between 10:00 and 16:00 (10 AM to 4 PM). These were good decisions because the maze of light paths through his gnomon requires a structure about as intricate as home 3D printers can handle.

Pretty cool, right? Some people are so clever. Me? I am not one of those people. I mean I printed the thing out and I set it up in the garden but it’s not telling the time. “You’re standing between it and the sun.” Yeah, I’m trying to read it. “No, you– just forget it.” You think maybe my 3D printer is broken?

Keep going for the video, which includes a look at the digital model used to print the sundial in case you need a better understanding of how it works. If you’re interested in printing one yourself, the file is available HERE.

Thanks to my dad, who agrees the key to life is getting to a point where you don’t need to know what time it is, which I’m pretty sure is where he’s at.