Friday, March 24, 2023
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Making 3D letters with the pantograph

Pantograph is the best tool for inscription on wood surfaces. For the first test, I used template with the stylus, a process that was slow and the result a bit squiggly with a few burn marks. For the next test, I tried to carve a varying depth shape, so I sued a conical follower at the end of pantograph. There were no burning marks this time, so it seems they stemmed from using hard maple on the first run. Following that, I endeavored to make individual block letters that can be combined into words. The templates were glued onto a plywood, which kept them rigid and enabled me to hold middle pieces that some letters have (like “o”). It only takes a couple of minutes to carve out a sign, once the templates are set up and the whole process is more precise and faster than using a paper template and working by eye.

Key Takeaways:

  • I tried tracing along a paper template with the stylus, but I had some burn marks and the letters were a bit squiggly.
  • In the next experiment, I carved a flower shape with varying depths of cut.
  • With a template set up, it takes only a minute or two to carve out a lettered sign.

“I figured a pantograph would have been an ideal tool to do this with instead of carving manually with a knife.”

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