Picture of How To Copy Complex Curves!
Complex curve copyer array.jpg
That's right! Simply push it down and get a copy of a curve that might be hard to measure and copy otherwise. Not only is it hella useful but it's made from stuff you already have in your kitchen.

This is not my idea. It is a re-post from a forum.

Originally from:
User: Godless Commie

It mimics a "profile gauge" tool but is made from bbq sticks and cardboard:

Remember to rate this 'ible if you think it's useful :)

Bonus: A FREE 3 MONTH PRO MEMBERSHIP GOES WENT TO the first one to post an instructable of their version of this tool including a VIDEO. Post a link to that 'ible in the comments below. Yeah.

WINNER is Mr. Roshy10. Show him some love.

And a Warning from Wroger-Wroger: Be careful not to let stray bamboo skewers or their tips, skewer your foot. These bits can lurk in the carpet waiting to strike.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Complex curve copyer in action.jpg
Complex curve copyer in action other side.jpg
Complex curve copyer array.jpg
Needful things
  • a bunch of bamboo skewers (or straws)
  • enough corrugated cardboard to cover your project
  • some sort of a marker, like a sharpie

Step 2: Insert Sticks

Picture of Insert Sticks
Next, cut a strip of the corrugated cardboard and stick the bamboo skewers through the grooves/holes/openings of the cardboard.

Note: This picture shows a skewer through every other hole but the resolution could probably be doubled by inserting one in each hole.

Step 3: Use!

Picture of Use!
Then, position that funky tool you have fashioned over the compound curve you want to duplicate, and gently push on the skewers until they just touch the surface. Hold the cardboard level.

Step 4: Trace

Picture of Trace
Here's a look at the other side.

Once you have captured the shape of the curve(s), all you need to do is to trace it on another piece of cardboard and test fit.
Then, transfer the shape on the material of your choice and cut away.

PS# You can use drinking straws instead of skewers for delicate surfaces, too.

Again, thanks to Mr. (?) Godless Commie over at for this tool!
antioch1 year ago
This idea is why I love instructibles
snotty (author)  antioch1 year ago
Glad to be of help!
ndr19681 year ago
I have been pulling out hair trying to come up with a way to trim out the hole to fit around the comode for new bathroom carpet. Voila! Here's the answer! Thank you sir, for the most usful instructable I have found to date!
Roshy101 year ago
here is my version
snotty (author)  Roshy101 year ago
We have a winner!
Roshy10 snotty1 year ago
Hollly F--- S --
I just bought one of these… and quite expensive.

Why didn't I think of it myself ???…

Guess I must be quite moron

congratulations !!!!…
Instructables apparently doesn't support utf-8 text.
AJMansfield2 years ago
You really ought to cut all the skewers to the same length for this.
I thought the same thing, but if you remove the contour gauge from the original, you can always copy from the side that makes contact with the original. If you want to copy from the other side, then equal-lengths would be critical.
True, true.
cammers1 year ago
Very nice. Brilliant use of common objects.
Ahhhh the EVIL Bamboo Skewer - says Mr Genius Here, having left the odd one laying around, with the blunt end in the carpet and the pointy end sticking slightly upwards as it lay on the floor.

As I recall, about 40mm of it slid straight straight into the sole of my foot as it caught, when I was walking past......

Advise all the people to lay the skewers on a chopping board, and roll a knife or meat cleaver backwards and forward over them - near the pointy end, to remove it, by cutting through it pipe cutter style.

Nasty things, they just go straight through you.

Need blunt flat ends.

elic1 year ago
Very nice patent! I adopt it as is.
mikolynn2 years ago
Years ago I see something like this builded with metal to copy pieces using a lathe...
Anyway, good project!
kelseymh2 years ago
Very nice idea. Good on you for providing a citation to the original post!

This would be Feature-worthy if you took your own pictures, showing how you made and used the tool, and described your process in your own words.

The pictures you have included were simply copied from the original posting, as was most of the text (you left out the comments about smoking, but that's about all).

Did you get permission from the original author to use his or her photographs and text (all of which are copyrighted from birth)?
rimar20002 years ago
Wow! I have a contour gauge at home, with small metal pins, and it works well for smaller contours, although I rarely ever use it. Your concept is so stunningly simple, versatile and scalable... Thanks for sharing!