A pantograph is a mechanical device that is used to draw something and duplicate it in a larger or smaller size. It is a compound machine composed of levers, and it has two pens. You can make your own pantograph from pieces of cardboard and a couple of pens. This is a good project for classes that are learning about simple and compound machines. You can duplicate any drawing in a different size with a homemade pantograph.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Utility knife
- 5 paper fasteners
- 2 pens
Cut two pieces of cardboard 18 inches long and 2 inches wide. Label them Strips 1 and 2. Cut two more pieces of cardboard 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Label them Strips 3 and 4. Cut another piece of cardboard 2 feet square.
Place the square piece of cardboard on a table. Place Strip 1 on the cardboard square parallel to and 1 inch from the top edge. Place Strip 2 on the cardboard square parallel to and 1 inch from the left side. The top of Strip 2 should overlap the left end of Strip 1. Fasten the strips together at the ends where they overlap with a paper fastener. Fasten the bottom end of Strip 2 to the cardboard square with a paper fastener.
Place the ends of Strips 3 and 4 together so they are perpendicular to each other and overlap. Hold them together firmly with your fingers where they overlap. Place the corner of Strips 3 and 4 that you are holding in the middle of the cardboard square. Strip 4 should point toward the top of the square and Strip 3 should point toward the left side. Move Strips 3 and 4 up and to the left until the end of Strip 3 overlaps Strip 2 and Strip 4 overlaps Strip 1. Fasten Strip 3 to Strip 2 with a paper fastener. Fasten Strip 4 to Strip 1 with a paper fastener.
Make a hole in the right end of Strip 1. Insert a pen through this hole with its tip down. Make a hole through Strips 3 and 4 where they overlap. Push a pen through this hole with its tip down. Your pantograph is finished.
Tips and warnings
- To use the pantograph, slide a piece of paper onto the cardboard square on the right side. Slide it under the pens. Tape the paper down or use pushpins to hold it in place. Draw something with the pen in the middle of the pantograph. It will be duplicated by the pen at the end of Strip 1 in a larger size.
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