free plans  home    gallery
 projects    philosophy    faq

harmonograph free plans: how to make a
Large Harmonograph
Basic Description

watch the
animated intro
A harmonograph is a pendulum-based drawing board that produces beautiful curvaceous drawings. After you give the large hanging platform a gentle push, gravity works its magic while a pen records the results. Each swing is almost identical to its predecessor: the minute discrepancies are responsible for the remarkably sinuous curves. The version that we have detailed in the plan below allows you to make drawings on paper or on an erasable whiteboard. You can set up the harmonograph in a garage or basement and hoist it out of the way when not in use; it ends up taking virtually no space at all. We love to enjoy the mesmerizing action, but it makes a great conservation piece at a party and kids absolutely love it! It takes some patience to get everything working right, but it is definitely worth the fine tuning that this project requires; as always, we will walk you through all of the steps.

step:             5          

Now let's cut the tileboard or whiteboard to size. Ideally you can use a whiteboard made specifically for dry-erase writing. We used smooth tileboard that is available at most home centers. Flip the drawing board frame upside down, and trace the shape onto the back of the board. Carefully cut with a jigsaw and confirm that it fits properly. If your frame is perfectly square you can just measure, but tracing always guarantees a perfect fit.
At this point, you can cut some leftover pieces of pine to act as locators. We made two mitered pieces for each corner of the drawing board frame. These locators should protrude about 1/2" (13mm) above the top of the whiteboard. If you didn't cut the whiteboard accurately, you can file or rasp until you get a snug fit. You should also mark and predrill about 10 or 12 evenly spaced holes along two opposing sides of the drawing frame as shown in the photo. Drive screws into these holes but leave the head about 3/8" (1cm) away from the wood; these will act as hooks for the strings used to hang up the drawing board. Some wood screws have smooth shanks just below the head, and these are preferred since we don't want threads from threatening to break the string that we will loop around them.
the drawing board frame
Now is a good time to drill a couple of through holes for the strings to pass through. We used a 3/8" (1cm) diameter drill bit and drilled a hole 1 1/2" (38mm) away from the end of the "X" and 1 1/2" (38mm) away from the whiteboard locators that we just installed. The hole is this large to accommodate a loop that will be tied into the string that will be used to hang up the drawing board. The string will pass down through the outer hole, and then up through the inner hole and then be hooked around one of the screws that you just installed.

◄ step 4   —   step 6►

free plans © 2000-2008
terms   privacy policy
 home    gallery
 projects    philosophy    faq