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How to use pantograph

A pantograph is a simple device, sometimes in the shape of three diamonds and sometimes in the shape of a parallelogram that is used to make copies of images, including enlarging or shrinking the image. Pantographs have been used throughout history to reproduce exact duplicates of works. Leonardo da Vinci famously utilised pantographs for copying drawings to canvas. While copy machines have pretty much eliminated the need for pantographs in work settings, pantographs are still used in some creative fields.

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  1. Secure the anchor point to the surface. The anchor point is the tip of the pantograph that is on the opposite end of the same side with the pencil. Most pantographs will have a hole in the anchor point for securing. If you are working on a block of wood, you can secure the anchor point with a tack or small nail.

  2. Place the image that you want to enlarge beneath the pointer of the pantograph. The pointer is the triangular point that lies between the pencil point and the anchor point. There will be a small hole in the point that you can see into. Place this hole directly over the centre of the picture you want to trace and tape it into place.

  3. Position the blank sheet of paper beneath the pencil. It should be placed so that the pencil is roughly in the centre of the sheet.

  4. Lightly hold the pencil. If you put too much pressure on the pencil, you may twist the pantograph, which will cause your copy to be off.

  5. Move the pencil on the sheet of paper while watching the pointer. The pantograph is designed so that however you move the pencil, the pointer will also move. This will allow you to trace the image by viewing the original sketch as the pointer moves over it. It takes a steady hand, but once you have some practice, it gets easier.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pantograph
  • Tack or small nail and hammer
  • Flat block of wood
  • Drawing to trace
  • Tape
  • Blank sheet of paper

About the Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.

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