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A compass is great for dividing lines and drawing circles with. Normally compasses are quite small, however I wanted to make one that could hold a permanent marker or a dry erase whiteboard marker. I also wanted it to feel like a nice old tool, that you could find in a classroom or something like that. Let's see how I built it.

Step 1: Compass

First up the pen holder & the rubber pointer, the legs if you may. I made two pen holders that you can alter between two types of pens. For material I wanted something dark and substantial, so I decided to go with ipe. I had a couple of pieces, however you could use any wood you have on hand.

Step 2: Pen Holder & Rubber Pointer

I used the lathe, and made curvy shapes and a tenon on the end. This basic step I repeated three times, slightly varying up the shapes. Then I drilled a hole, in another piece of ipe, and made sure that my tenon fit, and it did perfectly, measuring 5/8 inch.

I also drilled a 7/16 inch hole on the end of the pen holders, to fit a permanent marker, however the size you use here depends on what sized pen you're using.

Step 3: Connecting Pieces

Next up, the connecting pieces. They have mortises that fit the tenons of the round pen holder and rubber pointer, and they are connected with a screw at the top.

I cut these out on the bandsaw. I gave them a rough shape, then used a rasp to soften up the edges, and I resawed the part of them that connect together . Once I had my two pieces, I drilled a hole through both, and sanded them a lot to soften up the shapes and making the more round.

Step 4: Knobs

On top of the compass I made a round ball to hold on to when you use it. First I drilled a hole on the top of the holder measuring 1/4 inch. Secondly I made a tenon on the lathe, and a round ball connected to it.

To tighten and loosen the compass I decided to make a knob. I made a circle, divided the lines using angle bisecting, and cut it out on the band saw.

Next I chiseled out a place for the head of the screw inside the knob, and then epoxied it in.

I also chiseled out a hole in the holder where the round knob top is going, to fit a nut in there, and I epoxied that in as well.

Last but not least I epoxied in the round ball top to the holder.

Step 5: Finish & Assembly

To give the pointer a bit more grip, I cut out a piece of an eraser with a copper pipe, and hot glued it on.

To give all the pieces a nice finished, I went with shellac, which darkens the wood nicely and dries quickly.

Now when I had all of my pieces, all that was left to do was to assemble. I cut up some shipping material plastic to insert in between the knob and the other pieces for a little more friction.

Step 6: Conclusion - Watch the Video

For a more in depth look of the process, make sure to check out the video!

This is great, but now how would make a tiny (pair of) compass? Ever since I studied John Donne in college, I've wanted a working compass small enough to wear as a necklace. *romantic sigh*
A pair of compasses.
Sorry but this is not a compass it is called compasses , great instructable though!

About This Instructable

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Bio: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check ... More »
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