Inspired by the 12th-century Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, UK, this metal 3D printed sundial is a high-tech slice of history. Installed on a pedestal in the castle grounds, visitors can enjoy the ‘dial for themselves.
Back in the summer of 2017, fundraising group Friends of Berkeley Castle held a summer party in the grounds of the 12-century Berkeley Castle. So far, so British. But unique to this particular party was the unveiling of the castle’s very own newly created sundial.
The group approached UK-based engineering company Renishaw (conveniently also located in Gloucestershire) to produce the sundial.
Bob Hunt, a retired mechanical engineer and member of the Friends of Berkeley Castle, designed the sundial. “The basic design of a sundial might be simple; a stick in the ground and some markers to indicate the hours,” he explains. “However, the constraints of the site meant that more work would be required to create an acceptable instrument to reliably indicate the correct time throughout daylight hours, that would befit the Castle, its surroundings and its history.”
Castle features bear influence over the finished sundial, with recognizable elements such as the Berkeley Arch and Door reflected in the gnomon (the bit that sticks up to cast a shadow). Similarly, a moat and cobble courtyard are present on the dial face (the horizontal bit).
Renishaw 3D Prints Stainless Steel Sundial
For Renishaw the sundial presented a good opportunity to demonstrate its machines’ capabilities. Only accurate when produced with specific longitude and latitude in mind, the Berkeley Caslte sundial also relies on a precision design to indicate the Vernal and Autumnal equinox.
The company “supports a large number of local initiatives by giving grants to charities, supporting schools, sponsoring music and arts festivals and contributing engineering expertise to projects like this” explains Ralph Fawkes, the Chief Development Engineer at Renishaw’s Rapid Manufacturing Centre.
Printed from stainless steel powder in its AM250 metal 3D printer, the sundial was then mounted to a pedestal for display at the castle.
Sadly, the castle is currently closed to visitors until March 25th. But from that date onward, visitors can check it out for themselves.