In the town of Berkeley, in Gloucestershire, UK, is Berkeley Castle, a magnificent stone fortress that has been standing since the 12th century. It’s seen a lot of history, including, allegedly, the murder of King Edward II in 1327, as well as multiple battles. For all its age and history, though, the castle, owned by the Berkeley family, has its own touches of modernity, including a new sundial that’s just about as modern as a traditional sundial can get. It’s 3D printed, of course, and incorporates personal touches that reflect the castle while it tells the time in the garden where it’s placed.
The silvery timepiece shows the castle doors on the side of the gnomon, which is the piece that sticks up from the sundial and casts shadows across its face to show the hour. Beneath it, in the middle of the face, a textured surface calls to mind the courtyard’s cobblestones, and the words “Berkeley Castle” have been emblazoned across the edge of the dial.
Retired engineer Bob Hunt created the sundial with help from Renishaw. The company may be a large and busy one, focused on industries including aerospace, automotive and healthcare, but they weren’t too busy to take some time to 3D print a sundial – especially as the project benefited a castle in the company’s hometown of Gloucestershire.
Sundials are one of the oldest, if not the oldest, methods of telling time – their history goes back to ancient times. It’s remarkable that they still exist, even in the era of digital watches and smartphones, but their beauty has kept them in existence as garden centerpieces and functional artwork. It’s always interesting to see how old things can be made new again, and 3D printing a sundial is an excellent example of how an ancient tool can be turned into a technological showcase.
“The basic idea of a sundial might be simple; a stick in the ground and some markers to indicate the hours. However, the constraints of the site meant that more work would be required to create an acceptable instrument to reliably indicate the daylight hours, that would benefit the castle, its surroundings and its history, exist for an appreciable period,” Hunt said.
“After much early work, a discussion with Charles Berkeley was fruitful and the basic design and concept was accepted. Consideration was then given to adding specific features that would link it with Berkeley Castle and so the Berkeley arch and door have been incorporated into the design of the gnomon and a suggestion of a moat and cobbled courtyard has been added to the dial face. A great deal of precision has been required in the construction of the sundial. Renishaw kindly agreed that this was a project that they would be interested in developing with us, using the 3D printing process.”
Though it may have a long and sometimes bloody history, Berkeley Castle is now a bustling tourist attraction, with family-friendly activities, a tropical butterfly house, and now a 3D printed sundial that shows some of the castle’s most famous features. At first glance, the sundial could be a relic from a past century (albeit an extremely well-preserved one) – but a closer look shows that it’s another example of how the old can be made new again. Discuss in the 3D Printed Sundial forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Gazette]
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