The Sundial Primer created by Carl Sabanski
 The Sundial Primer Index

Computer aided dialling (CAD) can open an entire new area of sundial design for you.  There are free sundial design software packages available on the internet that are quite easy to use.  With these design packages you can create a number of different sundials that are both fun to build and use.  Some of the sundials  you are able design would be very difficult to do unless you are very familiar with working with complex mathematical formulae.  Fortunately you do not have to do this.  And once you generate the sundial design you can use the other CAD, computer aided design, to modify the design to whatever you want it to look like.

Give it a try! It will be a great learning experience that you will not regret. And what do you get out of it? Well...a sundial...of course!

The following instructions provide you with over 150 pages of information that will get you "Hooked on Gnomonics".

Many diallists use a variety of computer aided design or CAD software packages to help them design their sundials. There is no reason why you can't too!  A simple and inexpensive package used by many is DeltaCad. As an introduction to getting started to use this software you can download the following pdf file.

The DeltaCad manual provides a table of shortcut keys. These are very useful to help you speed up the design process but you will probably find some more useful than others. I have recreated this table so that you can keep it readily available for reference. A few very useful shortcuts have been highlighted. You should learn to use these.

This set of instructions deals with a few selected DeltaCad set-up options and commands.  It will not teach you how to draw using DeltaCad.  Read and study the manual and then practice!

This set of instructions will show you how to take a dxf file of a vertical declining sundial generated by ZW2000 and turn it into a completed drawing of a sundial.

 From this.... ....to this.

This set of instructions will show you how to take a dxf file of "Hours Til Sunset" sundial generated by ZW2000 and turn it into a completed drawing of a sundial.

 From this.... ....to this.

This set of instructions will show you how to take a dxf file of a horizontal altitude sundial generated by SONNE and turn it into a completed drawing of a sundial that can be made into a working model.

 From this.... ....to this.

This set of instructions will show you how to take a dxf file of a cylinder or Shepherd's sundial generated by SONNE and turn it into a completed drawing of a sundial that can be made into a working model.

 From this... ....to this.

If you would like a ZIP file that contains the four drawings above click here. The drawings are available as DeltaCad files as well as DXF files.   Note the changes made when the drawing is saved in DXF format. If you do not have a way to extract these files visit the "Utilities" page.

If you have created a sundial using DeltaCad consider sharing your work with others. It can be a paper model or a final product that now graces your garden. Share your DeltaCad files and any instructions you have that will help someone just learning to use DeltaCad to design their own sundial. This is a great place to share your knowledge and skills! And I'm sure it will be appreciated.

Mac Oglesby

ZW2000

If you are really interested in CAD then you are going to want some sundial design software. The one I use a lot is ZW2000 and it is FREE. Download the following pdf file to help you get started with this excellent sundial design package.

ZW2000 is an excellent sundial design software package.  It is easy to use and outputs a simple sundial design consisting of lines and curves. Everything else, such as hour numbers and other dial furniture, is left up to the user to include. These extras cannot be added using ZW2000 though. But to help you out with this your sundial design can be saved as a dxf file and then opened using a computer aided design or CAD software package such as DeltaCad.

Designing your own sundial using CAD can be a lot of fun and is a great learning experience.  To help you with the task of learning to use ZW2000 I have developed a series of instructions including:

This set of instructions reviews the data input page of ZW2000 and explains what information is required to design three different "flat sundials". Only information required to design these sundials with a limited number of "kind of lines" are covered.

This set of instructions takes you through the process of designing a horizontal sundial that indicates local apparent or zonal solar time. Local apparent time is sun time and zonal solar time is corrected for longitude but not the Equation of Time. The output of this exercise is a dxf file that you can open in a CAD drawing.

This set of instructions takes you through the process of designing a vertical direct south (Northern Hemisphere) or north (Southern Hemisphere) sundial that indicates local apparent or zonal solar time. The output of this exercise is a dxf file that you can open in a CAD drawing.

This set of instructions takes you through the process of designing a vertical declining sundial that indicates local apparent or zonal solar time. The output of this exercise is a dxf file that you can open in a CAD drawing. Learning to design a vertical declining sundial opens up many opportunities for you to create unique sundials. You can use almost any vertical surface upon which to create a sundial.

This set of instructions takes you through the process of designing an "Hours Til Sunset" sundial. The output of this exercise is a dxf file that you can open in a CAD drawing. This a very unique but easy sundial to make using Computer Aided Dialling and will be an instant conversion piece in any garden.

SONNE

SONNE is another great sundial design software package and it too is FREE. I like it because SONNE offers a variety of unique sundial designs that cannot be found anywhere else.  Download the following pdf file to help you get started with another excellent sundial design package.

SONNE offers many of the classic sundial designs as well as many unique designs that are sure to be interest to you. Your sundial design can also be saved as a dxf file using SONNE and then opened using a computer aided design or CAD software package such as DeltaCad.

Designing your own sundial using CAD can be a lot of fun and is a great learning experience.  To help you with the task of learning to use SONNE I have developed a series of instructions including:

This set of instructions reviews the data input pages of SONNE and the steps in designing a sundial.

This set of instructions takes you through the process of designing a horizontal, vertical or inclining sundial. The output of this exercise is a dxf file that you can open in a CAD drawing.

This set of instructions takes you through the process of designing a horizontal alitude sundial. The output of this exercise is a dxf file that you can open in a CAD drawing.

This set of instructions takes you through the process of designing a cylinder sundial. The output of this exercise is a dxf file that you can open in a CAD drawing.  This sundial is better known as a Shepherd's sundial.

All instructions follow the same format as the "Getting Started with" instructions. I have tried to make the instructions as clear and simple as possible. The instructions are not intended to teach you about any of the sundials being designed. There are other pages on this web site that attempt to do that for many of the sundials and you should visit them first.