Drawing Pencil to Compass

About: Has code in brain, soldering iron in hand, Art Blakey blaring in the background... transforms techno babble into reality and is strangely fond of the ellipsis.

What happens when you can't find your compass? Necessity may be the mother of invention... but it doesn't have to be the catalyst for complexity!

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." - Leonardo da Vinci

Here's a quick and easy way, with a little 3D printing, to turn a drawing pencil into a compass.

The Capricious Compass is comprised of five parts: a leg, nut, bolt, pencil, and a straight pin. Assembly should take about 10 - 15 minutes.

  • 3D print your compass parts on a fine setting (support material not needed)
  • Warm the bolt with a torch or lighter a bit to soften the threads
  • Screw the bolt on carefully and run the full length of the threads
  • Remove the nut, insert the bolt into the compass leg, and replace the nut
  • Hot-glue a straight pin into the tip of the compass leg - be careful, it's sharp!
  • Insert your pencil into the bolt and adjust height to taste

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    5 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    3 D printing simple? - Long way to go I'm thinking I'll just find My compass where I usually keep it. I have two one in a drafting set and the other "school type" that a pencil or pen is clamped in. ~(:-})

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    With regard to simplicity - 3D printing can greatly reduce complexity in the production life cycle. No need to produce massive quantities, worry about supply chain management, or inventory.

    It's possible to produce products the moment they are needed. And, if a part breaks, you can grind it up and feed it back into the printer to reprint a fresh part.

    For me, this was just right for simple sketches... and I enjoyed the time at the kitchen table watching my children putting theirs together.


    Reply 4 years ago

    I'll be darned, that is a heap of interesting facts I never thought possible I like the part of using the material again. Cool stuff, thank You much. ~(:-})


    4 years ago

    Good idea! I might have my students making something similar out of wood in woodwork class.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great idea! Having a useful compass is not negosiable.