3D printing a sun-dial is a great way to learn about our solar system, and the history of astronomy (from the ancients like Aristarchus of Samos, through to Copernicus and Galileo). Our sense of time is determined by the spinning of the earth, and it changes depending on where we are in our orbit around the sun. A sundial is a time-telling device that is most closely linked to these cycles. The more the kid understands about the earth and the sun, the better they will be able to place it more accurately (parallel to the Earth’s rotational axis), and even adjust their 3D design for their geography (it can be made more precise that way).
A sun-dial also tells another story: the history of time-telling. For thousands of years people have tried to make machines to tell the time – such as sundials, water clocks, candle clocks, hourglass and through to the more modern devices using gears, springs and weights, or today’s electronic and atomic clocks. Kids can learn about the ancient civilizations (the Romans, the Druids of Stonehenge etc.) based on how they told the time, and also learn about the history of technology as they see the progression from the ancient Egyptian sundials of 3,500 years ago to today’s atomic clocks.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.