LEGO Vertical East-West Sundial

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

IMG_0727Vertical dials have faces on a vertical surface rather than a horizontal one. They are often constructed on the sides of buildings, usually on the south side. However it is possible to construct them on surfaces facing other directions. A vertical dial on a wall facing directly east can be used during the morning hours, but will be in shadow in the afternoon. A directly west-facing vertical dial will be in shadow in the morning and only get sun after noon.

This dial puts a vertical east and a vertical west dial back to back to create a dial that can be used all day. In this model, the gnomons, or styles, are at the 6 A.M. and 6 P.M. hours. The dial is set up so that the styles point toward the celestial pole, and the hours are read on the east face in the morning and the west face in the evening.



The hour lines for this type of dial are calculated the same way as for a polar dial. In fact, it really is a kind of polar dial just situated facing a different direction. I took advantage of this similarity and incorporated an actual polar dial into the model by placing hour marks on the styles and using the short part of the face as a style itself. This means the hours between 9 A.M. and 3 P.M. can also be read on the upper faces of the styles, as with a regular polar dial (as well as on the east and west faces.) One happy advantage of this design is that it makes it a simple thing to “tune” the dial to the celestial pole by lining up the shadows to the same corresponding hour marks on the south and east or west faces.


Some construction notes:

  • I created the intersecting planes of equal thickness using 1×1 bricks with 4 studs placed sideways and capped the outer (top) stud with the 1×1 tiles visible in the photos.
  • I have modified the stand slightly to connect lower down on the dial face and give it better balance. It is light enough to be held in position by the friction of the black pin.
  • I like the color combination of blue and old gray, which I first hit on with one of my equatorial dials

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