Creating type using a Pantograph

Hi. New to here. I want to remake some new woodtype to replace some damaged ones. I thought I’d make them using a pantograph setup. Has anyone done this. I’ve been on Youtube etc but there is little in tech specs. everyone seems to make there own gigs etc.
I was wondering what was best- either a router or a dremel.
Are there suitable cradles you can buy for this or is it a case of retro fitting a handmade one? Thanks

Log in to reply   13 replies so far

Virgin Wood type and Moore Wood Type both use Pantograph to cut new wood type.

Scott Moore at Moore Wood Type is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to building your own equipment.

i would think just ordering the type needed would be more cost/time effective. i can see that a very “tight” machine with high precision would be needed. then you would need a near perfect master.

Also consider a CNC Router or Laser cutter

Hi thanks for the comments. The fact is I want to learn how to do this and it is not tat easy to just replace type here by buying it. From a research point of view it would be good to try it and then perfect it with a good setup. Thanks

Do you want to replace broken ones or create entierly new?
For recreating or duplicating existing letteres in the exact same size a router copy carver is the thing you are looking for. They are also much easier to built comparing to a pantograph. With the pantograh you cannot make exact duplicas, you wil only be able to enlarge or smaller your letters.
It wont cost you much, I will too build a router copy carver in the next days.
There are many Videos on youtube about it, for example this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khWnntV20II

You only ned some wood, rolls, steel tubings, a good drill and work very exactly.

Steve, Shame that (so far) the only responses have all been negative… .With even a quick/careful look at Your original query and your Profile, way back but now lacking You aught to have gotten the *Welcome Good Buddy* bit and then the Gloom & Doom and defeatist (before even trying) aspects.

Nil Desperandum, . . follows a few albeit, Humble, Crude, Pathetic, findings re Your quest, in the first person (author) warts and all, Many Many mistakes and blind alleys.

Have been experimenting for some time, here U.K. reproducing Wood Type/Poster Type, roughly in chronological order, may help you to navigate AND circumnavigate the minefield ahead, but in any case *Hang in there* if only on the basis of the Oft used saying, i.e.
>in the Land of the Blind, the One eyed Man is King<
meaning the One who has tried but failed, is light years ahead of the Gloom and Doom Negative merchants.

A few of the Authors (mostly failures) efforts follow:-
With a Router attached to a Precision (Printers) power saw attempted cutting/reproducing Type High images, from end grain hardwood, (Beech and Oak) type height from Precision (Engineers) milling machine = produced a perfect printable image, but because of the lack of control of the router head, the image was useless, could not even produce a slab sided lower case (l)
Next option was a simple Pantograph with (as you envisage) Dremel style Drill as the cutting head, failed mainly because, even with only a 12 line original Letter and the pantograph on One to One ratio the reproduction was printable but otherwise useless, the depth of drive was reasonable BUT whatever cutter was used, internal radii (as in the (O) (o) were almost impossible, internal (D) (P) etc were not even attempted,!! …trying to reproduce from original characters (only) is, generally, we believe, going to be difficult.

*******
Many Many more subsequent failures, but now established, although up to a point defeatist, a fairly efficient method for reproduction, (still ongoing) based primarily on the *Last Knockings* for Poster type before the final demise of Letterpress,?
I.E. Poster Type, originally Wood Type, made with Hardwood base but Topped with Plastic or Acrylic face.
Seemed an Alien concept, way back when, but prints perfectly, accepts whatever Ink thrown at it, inc. Litho Ink, etc.etc.
The method involves, mounting Plastic, Perspex or Acrylic laser Cut images on end grain hardwood, to *Type Height* but from a Laser, Driven by a Computor, (of course) but the programme in the Computor is equipped with a Dedicated/Specific typesetting programme.

One small glitch so far, some few months since, had 4 - 5 Complete Fonts Laser cut, 6 line up to 12 line, including 12 Line in Rockwell down to 6 line in Sans serif, all work and print beautifully, with the exception of the *Glitch* namely 6 line Times, lost patience trying to mount it with very fine down strokes, and it would probably have snapped on a conventional Clam shell M/c.

Steve hopefully, the above, albeit rubbish, a starting point for ongoing efforts/trials/experiments, but You gotta give it a go. ! ! … Good Luck. Mick

Gummistiefel, Apologies, my post, was a little late compared to Yours… But may possibly be of use to Yourself, we did swap related items a while ago, I did check out your Link, looks interesting, and You should be off to Flying with your proposed
intended course… Mick.

Here is a nice video of Dafi K├╝hne creating new type with a pantograf.
He uses some kind of plastic to cut the new letters out of it using a laser cut stencil:
https://vimeo.com/189159074

He’s probably using Delrin, a material that I used myself for some tests and that I showed him a few years ago. Shortly after discussing the material with Dafi, he sent me some samples in Delrin and pear wood. Excellent quality, of course!

Steve, I’m new to all of this also but I wanted to throw in a possible solution. Especially for the broken types. I teach at a university and when I found out that I didn’t have enough “Es” in a 4 inch tall Clarendon extra condensed font. I ask a colleague who runs a 3 D printer and he said give him a illustrator file of the letter and he would make it on the #D printer. It worked and I was able to get my lock up and finish the print run. And when it sets in the case it is hard to notice it being different from the rest of the letters. Just food for thought. I think it is admirable of you to pursue the Pantograph route. Best of luck.

Hi,
When I occasionally needed an extra letter or two of my larger wood fonts I simply cut them by hand on my band saw or jig saw. You can use existing letters for the drawing template. If you need several of the same letter just glue up several thin pieces of stock with newspaper in between. Cut them all at once then separate the glued pieces and sand off the paper. Mount these letters to a base block the thickness required. Shim with card stock to adjust print level.
I don’t have any photos of the letters I made, because I recently sold all my equipment, but I have attached a photo of a sign I made using the same method. Of course if you need tiny letters you are probably out of luck. I am a professional sign maker but with a little patience anyone can do it.

image: Hand cut oak.jpg

Hand cut oak.jpg

In the old days in a small jobbing house in Suffolk UK a missing character was replaced with a home done lino-cut.

I’m sure theres some outfit, maybe now called a museum in Washington state somewhere who still can and do make wood letters. And original manufacturer still sort of existing