Introduction: How to Build an Oversized Compass

Picture of How to Build an Oversized Compass

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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!


StoryAddict (author)2015-06-09

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*

chalawandan (author)2015-05-27

A pair of compasses.

Billman101 (author)2015-05-27

Sorry but this is not a compass it is called compasses , great instructable though!

About This Instructable



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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