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Our civilization has been mainly developed by measurements of things around us. Basically, they are distance, angle, weight, and time. Since I was a child, I have always been wondering on how in the past magnificent buildings, bridges, roads, and etc. were built, how navigation in the vast ocean was made possible, how people weighted things, and how time could be measured, all with knowledges in that time. This project started on one night when I was sitting in front of LEGO trays. Then, I decided to realize the display-scale old-day measuring instruments from parts I have at hands. The first one was a surveyor scope, and then several others started rolling out from my imagination. Presented here are the surveyor scope, sextant, weighting scale, and sandglass.
The role of the surveyor scope is to precisely measure the relative distance and angle between points. These measurements are very important in constructions. Normally, the scope is used in conjunction with a tripod. The instrument is still considered sophisticated to these days. I built it with some playability and the most fun part is to build the tripod with proper scale. The scope can be rotated horizontally, and vertically. Many adjustment knobs were carefully put in to reflects the complexity of this instrument.
The sextant is indispensable in sea navigation. It has been used to calculate the latitude and longitude of a ship out at sea by measuring the angle between the horizon and a celestial body such as the Sun, the Moon, or a star. Without this instrument, global trade by the sea could not be safely initiated on those days. The shape of this instrument is around one-sixth of a circle. Thus, it is called sextant from the Latin sextus, or “one-sixth.” Not only the arc shape of the instrument was very challenging to replicate, but also the relative position of the parts of the sextant. The build is robust. You can pick it up to feel the genuine invention.
It was then followed by the weighting scale replica to what was used in the past. Its principle operation is based on the balance of the beam. Putting what to be measured in a pan, and then sliding the counter weight until the beam is balanced horizontally, we could measure the weight by reading the scale on the arm. I designed it such that it had the pin indicator to show when both sides were perfectly balance. It is very fun to play with.
The last one that I intended to build was the sandglass. This instrument was devised to measure the distance between two point in time in the ingenious way. It was the first generation of the timer, we frequently use today. In the model, the sandglass itself can be rotated similar to the real one. The support has a handle so that you can carry it anywhere.
These are the instruments that have been used in the past to make fundamental measurements. They look great on display, and when you touch or play with them, you can feel their importance in the development of our civilization. These measuring instruments reflect the hardworking of our previous generations that help improve our society and our living up to today.