Have you ever seen a drafting machine? It is a tool used in technical drawing that rotates. My grandpa used to sketch inventions and blueprints and had this awesome drafting table that I used to just love! I made a similar type of tool to play around with the kids this week called a pantograph. It is much simpler and made of cardboard, but we have been having a lot of fun with it! Our pantograph drawing machine draws duplicate content but on a larger scale. It works according to the golden ratio in math. It’s pretty cool!
The Pantograph got my kids thinking and wondering about how it works and why the second image is larger than the first. I love the hands-on aspect of it! This activity combines math, art and science all in one! It is a great STEM education project.
Along with the drawing machine, I want to tell you about a Young Scientist Challenge sponsored by Discovery Education and 3M. Kids in grades 5-8 can submit their ideas to the nationwide contest for a chance to win $25,000! I will tell you more details at the end of the post. (This is a sponsored post in behalf of 3M. I am being compensated for my time creating this post, but all ideas are my own.)
How to Make the Pantograph Drawing Machine
Supplies You Will Need:
Large Drawing Paper
3 Metal Brads
An awl or phillips head screwdriver
Cut the cardboard into 8 different strips. 4 of them should be 11 by 1 1/4 inches and 4 of them should be 7 by 1 1/4 inches.
On each strip, starting at the end measure in 1/2 inch and then from that point mark every 2 inches. You should have 6 marks on the long strips and 4 marks on the short strips.
With an awl or screwdriver, or other sharp object, make holes through the cardboard at each of those marks. Tightly tape each set of cardboard strips together making sure to not cover the holes.
With the metal brads, connect the two long pieces together. You have to flatten the cardboard little bit to fasten it.
Fasten the 2 smaller strips onto the center holes of each of the long pieces.
Now you will put two pencils through two of the bottom holes and one will be fastened into the drawing surface with a thumbtack. I actually used some more cardboard to attach ours to when we drew. You could also use a cork board.
Start drawing. You do have to guide both pencils to make sure they are pressing down hard enough. Also, our pin came out a lot, so there may need to be a better option to secure it. We just used a third hand! 🙂
See it in action!
Now some more details on the Young Scientist Challenge! Kids in grades 5-8 can enter by submitting a 1-2 minute video describing the science behind their idea or invention. They want ideas that solve a problem.
See more STEM ideas in my post on 20 STEM Projects for Kids!