How to Make a Clinometer


Have you ever heard of a clinometer? Have you ever thought about how tall a tree actually was, or if they ever took the time to really measure the height of the Empire State Building. The answer is, yes! Some people have very inquisitive minds. They wonder things like the distance between their favorite star in the sky and their backyards. These people are the minds that usually turn into great thinkers later on in their lives. It’s not impossible to calculate the distance between your favorite star and your backyard. The instrument is called a clinometer. Astronomers and other scientists use clinometers to determine how tall something is like a tree or skyscraper. They also use this instrument determine the how far something can be viewed in the sky in degrees. A real clinometer can be obviously expensive. However, there is a way for you to make your own home made version. They are very effective and they work-even if you made it yourself. You also saved a large sum of money attempting to make a clinometer yourself. Here is how you can make a clinometer.

Necessary Items:

  • Protractor
  • Poster Board
  • Drinking Straw
  • String
  • Washer
  • Tape

Step 1

Purchase a protractor made of plastic. You can also make your own version of a protractor out of heavy duty poster board or cardboard.

Step 2

Use some tape to secure a drinking straw to the straight part of the protractor. You will use the straw as your viewing scope.

Step 3

Put the string onto the drinking straw at the 0 degrees.

Step 4

Secure a small weight to the end of the string. Find a screw, washer or similar to help with this step. You’ll need this to balance the clinometer but non obstructing.

Step 5

View any tall thing of your choice. You want ensure you can see through it to ensure you built the clinometer accurately.

Now you know how to build a clinometer. Happy viewing.

Suggestions & Ideas

  • If you have chosen to construct the protractor yourself out of heavy board, mark the increments on the item in five degree intervals. You won’t to be accurate.
  • Be sure to use only heavy duty cardboard or poster board to make this protractor. Any other material can be way too thing and tear under the weight of the washer and string.
  • In order to use your new clinometer, view any object via the drinking straw and record not where  the string is hanging. subtract that from ninety. That’s elevation calculation. Now, measure horizontal distance the thing you are measuring  and yourself. Also, measure the vertical distance between eye level and the floor.  This may be easier if you have a friend to help you.
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About the Author: Cody Riffel is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo. She likes to write on variety of topics, whatever interests her. She also likes to share what she learns over the Internet and her day-to-day life.

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