Ever heard of a pantograph?

@Catkin (480)
United States
March 6, 2013 3:43am CST
I hadn't until tonight, but it's a neat little device! Wikipedia does a nice job of explaining what exactly it is and even has a little gif of how one works: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantograph I found out about it through the American Science & Surplus site, where you can buy two plastic pantographs for just under $5. Tempting, very tempting...
1 response
@owlwings (38279)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 13
Before the days of digital scanning and photocopying, I used to use a pantograph to copy and enlarge (or reduce) drawings, artwork and photographs. I still have two in my drawer: a wooden one made in the early 20th Century and a somewhat later plastic one. The problem with the cheaper models is usually that the joints need to move freely and this usually means that there is some play in them which introduces errors into the drawing. The better ones have a holder for a draughtsman's pencil lead or tube type ink pen. They can still be very useful for enlarging or reducing patterns for embroidery and other crafts. A sophisticated and very accurate 3D pantograph mechanism is still used to copy and reduce an artist's bas-relief model to smaller sizes when making coins and medals.
@Catkin (480)
• United States
6 Mar 13
Ah ha, I'm too young to remember much of the pre-scanning (and definitely pre-photocopying) days, but that makes perfect sense. I'm still curious to try one out, since I do enjoy drawing...I bet, with some patience and precision, it wouldn't be overly difficult to build one's own wooden pantograph. Hm!
@owlwings (38279)
• Cambridge, England
6 Mar 13
Yes, it's not that difficult to build your own. Here are the best instructions I could find after a few minutes searching: http://www.peter.com.au/articles/pantograph.html (The instructions are for aluminium bars but would be equally suitable for making in hardwood). Another page (which I found a little less clear) for a wooden pantograph: http://www.1920-30.com/toys/things-to-make/pantograph.html I thought that this page of detailed photos was fun to see. It shows a (more complex) pantograph actually being used to cut inscriptions in wood using a router. Elsewhere he describes in detail how he made the thing: http://woodgears.ca/pantograph/3d_letters.html