created by Carl Sabanski
Inclinometer (or Clinometer): an instrument for measuring the inclination or slope of a surface. Two types are common: simple devices with a plumb-line hanging across a protractor, or precision ones where a sensitive spirit level is moved to the horizontal position against an accurate scale.
Inclination (i, I): the angle between the back of the dial plane and the horizontal for inclining or reclining dials.
If you have a surface that is neither horizontal or vertical you can still design and build a sundial that will work there. It will be an inclining or reclining sundial. An even more complex sundial will also be declining. But before you can begin to design any of these sundials you need to know the slope of the surface where the sundial will be placed. To do this you will need the "Inclinometer".
Figure 1 illustrates the template for the "Inclinometer". It is easy to build and to use!
Figure 1: "Inclinometer" (CAD)
Position the "Inclinometer" on the surface that you want to find the slope. If the surface is not smooth a piece of wood can be used for the base. The horizontal level is positioned down the slope. Rotate the "Inclinometer" until the bubble in the horizontal level is centred. Then lift the rotating base until the bubble in the vertical level is centre. The inclination can now be read as the value on the scale at the position of the green half arrow. A vernier scale is available to indicate the inclination value to the nearest tenth of a degree. Select the vernier value from the red line that is closest in alignment with one of the scale lines. Add this value to the scale reading just before the arrow position. It's just that easy!
If you would like to have the "Inclinometer" you can download a pdf file of a kit that you can put together. It includes the instructions for assembly. The construction materials are only suggestions and you can build the device from anything you would like to use. Note that the layout requires the material used to be 1/2-inch thick.