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Pantograph Reduction Instructions

Updated February 21, 2017

Christoph Scheinerand invented the pantograph in 1603. Originally, artists, architects and writers used the pantograph as a copying tool. Its unique and flexible design allows someone to copy on an existing picture or blue print or simultaneously create two original manuscripts or drawings. Today modern copiers and computers have replaced its professional applications, relegating it to experiments in art class and hobbyists. Purchase a pantograph at any arts and crafts store and use it to reduce a favourite poster to a more room friendly size or create smaller pencil drawing of family portrait.

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  1. Select a reduction ratio. The reduction ratios are expressed as fractions less than 1. For example, to reduce a picture by 50 per cent you would select the 1/2 holes on the pantograph.

  2. Lay the two parts of the pantograph so that one forms a normal V and the other forms an inverted V with its legs overlapping the first.

  3. Cross one of the inverted V's legs over the upright V and one leg underneath it.

  4. Match the holes of the desired reduction ratio on one set of legs.

  5. Place the joint screw through the hole and tighten it enough to keep the two legs together but still allow the joint to move.

  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the other set of legs.

  7. Secure the pantograph to your work surface. Some provide a strong suction cup, while others use a C-clamp.

  8. Insert the stylus into the far left or right holes on the bottom of the pantograph. Pair the stylus on the same side as your dominant hand.

  9. Insert the lead into the centre hole on the bottom of the pantograph.

  10. Use the screw on top of the stylus to adjust its height so that both the lead and the stylus touch the work surface.

  11. Lay the picture you want to reduce and a sheet of drawing paper underneath the pantograph.

  12. Place the tip of the stylus on the lowest left portion of the picture to be copied and compare the location of the lead on the drawing paper. If you are not satisfied with the location where the picture will be copied, shift the drawing sheet.

  13. Repeat the above, placing the stylus in the right, uppermost portion of the drawing.

  14. Secure the picture and the drawing paper to the work surface and each other with painter's tape.

  15. Work slowly, moving the stylus with your dominant hand and applying pressure to the lead with your other hand.

  16. Pick up the stylus as necessary and move it to a new location to copy the entire picture

  17. Continue until you copy the entire picture to your satisfaction.

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Things You'll Need

  • Drawing paper

About the Author

Transplanted Yankee Erin Watson-Price lives in Birmingham, Ala., and has been writing freelance articles since 1997. She worked as writer/co-editor for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue's newsletter, "The Long and the Short of It." In 2007 she obtained a certification as a copy editor. Watson-Price holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

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