Frequently Asked Questions , on "Sunclocks"
WHAT SIZE IS A "SUNCLOCK" ? You must have a LEVEL piece of
ground, which is at least 6 metres (20 feet) in diameter. It will be ELLIPTICAL
in shape - 6 metres (from East-to-West), by about 4 metres (North-to-South).
If your available area is slightly smaller than this, then you might still be able to
install our "Sunclock" - assuming you are more interested in using your shadow
to tell 'Daylight-Saving' time (in summer), rather than 'Standard' time (in winter).
The "Sunclock" is not suitable for an area which is less than 4 metres (14 feet)
from East-to-West, because layouts would be 'cramped' and not very accurate.
Unless you request otherwise, our customized Layout Plans are produced for a
recommended size of 6 metres - but please contact us, if you need any advice.
Please note that we give all measurements in Metric, (not Feet and Inches) - as
they are very easy to 'convert', if customers might prefer "Imperial" dimensions.
If you do not have any suitable ground area to install a 'full-size' Human Sundial,
then small 'working-models' are a popular project for Schools - so that students
can make very easy cardboard layouts, which will also show correct clock time.
Such 'models' will normally just use a pencil (held vertically), to cast its shadow.
HOW ACCURATE IS THE "SUNCLOCK" ? Providing it is set-out by
following all the Measurements and Instructions in our customized Plans, then it
should indicate the correct 'clock' time all year round - to better than the nearest
15 minutes, since its accuracy is limited by the width of your own body shadow.
However, this assumes that you would be installing the "Sunclock" layout using
our recommended diameter of 6 metres. Accuracy will be less for smaller sizes,
but there is no point in making your layout any larger than 8 metres in diameter !
Also see below, for restrictions on suitable Latitudes for Human Sundial layouts.
WHAT ABOUT DIFFERENT TIME ZONES ? Every set of "Sunclock"
Plans is uniquely calculated, for its own location in the Time Zone - including any
required 'correction factors', so that the layout will indicate correct CLOCK time.
Most conventional sundials show 'Local Apparent (Solar) Time', plus are usually
not adjustable to allow them to be used at different positions within Time Zones.
If you are located in a large country, which has several Time Zones (such as the
USA or Australia), and are intending to buy a set of "Sunclock" Plans - we ask
you to confirm a specific Zone, when entering details into our 'Response Form'.
The diagram, below, is centred on the "Greenwich meridian" in Britain - showing
how many hours parts of the world are either 'fast' (positive), or 'slow' (negative).
This map, above, only gives an approximate indication of the differences - but if
you may like some additional information on Time Zones across the world, then
please click on this link to down-load a more detailed diagram (in PDF format).
With a large proportion of our customers being in the United States or Canada,
the following diagram shows Time Zones across the North American continent.
Note, however, there are a few 'anomalies' within several States - (for example,
in Indiana) - where locations might, or might not, use any Daylight-Saving time !
If you are located in North America (USA or Canada), then you could E-mail to
Paul Ratto, the 'order-taker' for those countries - or telephone (438) 792 4823.
He will supply your customized "Sunclock" Plans, plus give advice on a layout.
Alternatively, you may 'click' this link and be taken direct to Paul's own website.
WHY ARE THERE 2 RINGS, OF 'HOUR-MARKERS' ? This is in
order to cope with both Standard and 'Daylight-Saving' time - so that you do not
need to change your layout, when clocks go forward, or back, twice a year. Of
course, if you are in a country which stays on the same time all year, then there
is only ONE ring of Hour-markers - but this has a different central 'Date-scale'.
On our 'double-ring' layouts, you MUST install both rings of Hour-markers for
Standard & Daylight-Saving time. If you set-out just one of the rings, then your
"Sunclock" would only be accurate for half of every year - and please note that
you cannot simply 'add or subtract' an hour, to/from the time that it is showing !
This is because its 'Date-scale' has been calculated for TWO rings. If you just
install one of these, then (depending on the month) you will be "standing in the
wrong place" - and so your shadow would not be pointing in the right direction,
towards numbers on a (missing) ring of Hour-markers which should be there.
Please note that we only provide 'double-ring' plans for any locations which
use Daylight-Saving time - even if customers might prefer a single-ring layout,
since we do not recommend just one ring (because a person's shadow will be
too short to reach the 'Hour-markers' in summer, and too long in winter-time) !
Some parts of the world (for example China), have only one time-zone which
covers the whole country, plus without using 'Daylight-Saving' - which means
"Sunclocks" are NOT suitable, so please contact the suppliers shown below.
Our double-ring is much better for 'tracking' their shadow, throughout the year,
but unfortunately we do not supply any plans in the USA state of Arizona - as
it has no Daylight-Saving time, plus single-ring layouts are not recommended.
For any Arizona location, we suggest you contact John L Carmichael (below).
Similarly, we also believe that the Province of Saskatchewan within Canada
does not put clocks forward/back in Spring/Autumn. Therefore such locations
should obtain the plans for 'single-ring' layouts via Brian Albinson (see below).
Note that if you are in a location which uses Daylight-Saving time, but for any
reason you definitely want the plans for just a 'single-ring' layout - then please
send an E-mail message to William Irvine in the UK, who may be able to help
you although we could not guarantee the 'quality or accuracy' of those plans !
For the USA, John L Carmichael would provide layout plans to you - plus also
dealing with large public commissions, via his business "Sundial Sculptures".
If John is too expensive, then you can try Roger Bailey at "Walking Shadow".
For any location within Canada, then we suggest E-mailing to Brian Albinson.
For a 'Western' European country, E-mail to Frans Maes (in the Netherlands),
or E-mail a message to Willy Leenders (based in Belgium), as an alternative.
E-mail to Slaven Licina (based in Croatia), for an Eastern European location.
For locations in the Southern Hemisphere, you can E-mail Malcolm Barnfield
based in South Africa - or to Donald Christensen, who is located in Australia.
(When contacting any of the designers, mentioned above - please remember
to specify that you want your layout to indicate clock time, and not 'sun' time).
DOES A PERSON'S HEIGHT MATTER ? Not at all - because it is the
direction of their shadow which will indicate the time, not its length. It makes no
difference how tall or short a person is, so "Sunclocks" are equally suitable for
use by small children as well as larger adults. This is like having a clock with a
longer or shorter 'Hour-hand', where the actual length does not matter - you can
easily tell correct time by the direction in which it is pointing, on the clock-face.
Our recommended diameter of 6 metres (as above), is the best size for use by
both children plus adults. If it is being used by a very young child, then they can
simply put their hands together, above their head - which will 'extend' the length
of their shadow, and so bringing this much nearer to the rings of Hour-markers !
"Sunclocks" are certainly very 'interactive' sundials for children, plus are shown
in School-books (UK and USA) due to the curriculum-wide educational benefits,
and teachers often use them as sundials for learning because of those reasons.
Since these are essentially theft-proof, and do not interfere with grass-cutting on
any lawn area - they have also become very popular as unique garden sundials.
WHAT ABOUT THE 'SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE' ? We can supply
our "Sunclock" Plans for most countries - so if you are in (say) Argentina, then
there is no problem. It will look like a 'mirror-image' of layouts for the Northern
Hemisphere, shown in the illustration on the introductory page of this web-site,
(since your shadow moves 'anti-clockwise' in Southern Hemisphere locations).
The layout would have just one ring, of Hour-markers - as there is no 'Daylight-
Saving Time' in Argentina (unlike its neighbour, Chile, which does use D.S.T.).
For Australia and New Zealand, our Distributor is George Marshall based in
the Brisbane area - or just contact him by telephone, on: +61 (0) 7 412 56403.
For convenience, Australian customers can order "Sunclock" Plans direct via
the "Leaf & Stone" gardening web-site - although their price would be slightly
higher, due to the additional 'profit-margin', which is applied by that Company.
Alternatively, contact them by telephone, on the number: +61 (0) 3 522 18083,
and also please note that all payments made by Credit-Cards are processed
via that Company - from customers in any part of the world, not just Australia !
Due to unreliability plus communication problems, with our previous
Agent, we are currently looking for a new 'Distributor' to represent South Africa.
If you, (or any other persons you know), might be interested in this - then please
ask them to telephone Douglas Hunt, to discuss it further. Remember that we
offer Distributorships as a 'Free Franchise', outlined on our Opportunities page.
However, in the 'tropics', layouts would be very different - with the Hour-marker
'rings' becoming almost straight lines which cut through the Date-scale, and so
we do NOT recommend our "Sunclock" for any locations near to the Equator !
A "Sunclock" is only suitable for locations which are in the Latitude range of
25 Degrees to 65 Degrees, in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
It is illustrated by the two 'pink bands' in this map-of-the-world diagram, below,
so regions such as southern Mexico and central/southern India are unsuitable.
For Australia - please note that the majority of Queensland, Northern Territory,
plus the northern third of Western Australia, are (technically) inside the tropics.
We suggest that you ask for our advice concerning any such 'tropical' location.
CAN YOU GIVE ADVICE ON MATERIALS ? Most of our customers
are SCHOOLS - who simply PAINT the "Sunclock" on their playground. Other
people use stone, wood, concrete, mosaic, etc - or even turn them into 'floral
clocks'. By deciding on your own materials, you can be sure that your layout is
absolutely UNIQUE to you - although (in Britain), there are now several sources
of ready-made "Sunclock" component-parts. However, such 'kits' can be quite
expensive - but if you would like any further information, then please contact us.
If you would like to see photographs of "Sunclock" layouts, using a wide range
of materials - then please click on this link, to visit our 'PICTURE GALLERY'.
Here are only three of the many images which can be found within that section.
These are just small copies - their full-size photographs (together with further
details for each of them), are contained in the 'Picture Gallery' on our web-site.
You may also click on each of the pictures, above, to obtain more information.
If you are interested in making/installing our Human Sundials (in any materials
of your choice), then please see the Profit Opportunities page - or contact
Douglas Hunt, to discuss ideas which you might have in connection with this.
(For example, make some money by simply painting layouts on Schoolyards).
WHAT DOES THE SET OF 'PLANS' CONTAIN ? These "Sunclock"
Plans are uniquely calculated and printed for the location you specify, anywhere
in the world. They are produced in A4-size thermal-bound booklet format - with
the exact (metric) measurements required, and detailed setting-out instructions.
All of the dimensions given, are based on a very simple 'grid' system - plus this
will automatically create its correct elliptical shape, (without complex methods).
Only a normal measuring tape is needed, to set-out your full "Sunclock" layout.
We also give you a method (again unique to your location), which allows you to
find the true North/South direction - without having to use a magnetic compass.
Please note that all "Sunclock" Plans are only available in ENGLISH language,
and they are printed on non-photocopiable (bright red) paper - so if you might
need to take any copies, then we would recommend our 'E-mail' (PDF) version.
Most people now request the customized sundial layouts in one of our E-mailed
formats - which are either in HTML (simply viewed in your 'Web Browser'), or as
PDF documents (gives the best quality but you will need appropriate software to
read them). Either of the E-mail versions entitle you to claim a 5% DISCOUNT.
The HTML format is currently being 'phased-out', as few people now ask for this.
The content of 'E-mail' Plans is exactly the same as in our original 'Printed' style.
If you need to 'print-out' from our HTML version, then the 'page formatting' would
vary on different computers, or printers - but print-outs from PDF documents are
not affected. If you may like to see a SAMPLE, then you can click on this link to
down-load one typical PDF page ("Auckland Botanic Gardens", New Zealand).
To see a FULL set of 'sample' Plans, you must telephone us to ask for this - and
we shall then be glad to make that information available to you, (in PDF format).
Remember that every set of our "Sunclock" Plans would contain detailed layout
instructions, plus measurements - and these are UNIQUE TO YOUR LOCATION
with all dimensions given in Metric, (please note we do not use Feet and Inches,
even if some USA-based customers might prefer that - since it will be very easy
to 'convert' from "Metres and Centimetres" into "Feet and Inches", if necessary).
You only need to find a suitable area of level ground, plus select the material(s).
The cost of your Plans also includes help, or advice - if you have any questions.
CAN WE BUY THE PLANS BY 'CREDIT-CARD' ? Currently, we do
not offer any Credit-Card facilities, simply because most of our customers tend
to be Schools. However, you can either send us a cheque-with-order, or 'wire'
the payment directly to our Bank - and remember that we offer a small discount
for such payments-with-order. If you may prefer to 'wire' payment to us, please
request our Bank details - but the 'wiring' option is only available to Educational
Authorities, purchasing for Schools. Alternatively (in connection with a School),
then we can also accept Official Orders, against which we will issue an Invoice,
but in that case you would NOT be entitled to our payment-with-order discount !
If it is convenient, you could use "PayPal" (via our North American distributor).
However, if you definitely want to make a payment by Credit-Card - then we are
happy for you to do so via our main Australian distributor, although the price will
be higher (due to their 'profit-margin', which they charge on "Sunclock" Plans).
Please note though, that they only process 'payment' for the Plans - and so you
must firstly contact ourselves, either by Telephone or via our Response Form,
as otherwise they would just refer your order for "Sunclock" Plans back to us !
Remember that you could generate an income, by becoming a 'Distributor' for
"Sunclocks" - and this business opportunity is offered as a "Free Franchise"
so it would not cost you anything to be involved, plus ALL profits are your own.
Every layout becomes its own 'advertisement', and creates even more orders.
Within the UK, you can send a 'Credit-Card Cheque' - which we shall accept as
payment in the usual way, but it would be charged to your Credit-Card account.
Note that we only accept 'Credit-Card Cheques' if issued by UK-based Banks.
If you are paying by cheque, please make it payable to "Modern Sunclocks",
and then send it to our address shown on the 'How You Can Contact Us' page.
HOW QUICKLY WILL WE RECEIVE THE PLANS ? All "Sunclock"
Plans are normally produced on the same day that we receive your order - and
(in Britain), are sent by First-Class post. For any 'overseas' orders, these are
sent via Airmail, and so they should arrive in an absolute maximum of ten days.
Requesting your Plans in an E-mailed format will eliminate the postal delays,
plus also ensure that they cannot become physically damaged or lost in transit !
Remember that requesting an E-mail version entitles you to 5% discount, too.
Though we will always try to comply with a customer's wishes, plus offering any
'alternative options' (where possible) - "Modern Sunclocks" reserves the right
to decline an order, if we ultimately consider that it is not in the interests of any
clients (or our own business), to supply the Layout Plans for a 'Human Sundial'.
In such cases, however, we would provide explanations for refusing the orders.
COULD YOU PROVIDE A 'REPLACEMENT' PAGE ? Since all our
sets of Plans are customized, for the exact location - then should any individual
page be accidentally 'lost', note that it is not our policy to supply replacements !
In such cases, a customer would need to re-purchase an entire set of Plans,
although they will have to be obtained from alternative suppliers (not ourselves).
That is simply because we are an 'honest plus ethical' business - and so (unlike
many companies), it is not our policy to profit from a misfortune of other people.
Please note that "Modern Sunclocks" will not become involved with a 'dispute'
which might arise, between a customer and any other supplier of sundial plans.
In the event that another designer provides wrong (or 'mis-leading') information
then it is the responsibility of each designer to correct their own mistakes - and
we would not supply our "Sunclock" Layout Plans, under such circumstances !
If you think about it - why should YOU have to pay, to correct THEIR mistakes ?
If you have some questions, which are not shown above - please
use our 'Response Form'. See the page on 'How to contact us'.
You can always TELEPHONE if you need immediate answers, or
advice - rather than using the 'Form', and then waiting for a reply.
Our business is open 24 hours, and on every day of the year - so no matter
where you are located, you can contact us at any time of the day or night.
The sun is always shining on a "Sunclock", somewhere in the world !
You could click these links, to see the basic reasons why our "Sunclocks"
are so popular, in comparison with other SUNDIALS - or remind yourself
about the advantages of Human Sundials, (including as a School project).
Click on Red Button, to return to the FIRST PAGE.