Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Thank you for reading Monederosmart! In this new installment we will talk about the pantograph. A drawing tool that will allow you to zoom in and out at different scales on the graphic of your choice. With this in mind, we prepare to share with you useful information about this basic design tool.

Its applications in the field are versatile. For example, thanks to its help you will be able to modify the size of photographs, simple illustrations and even university architectural plans. How? All you have to do is define the ideal proportion and move it from certain points, following the contours with a strong stroke.

Curious about how this device works? Let us tell you that in this edition of Monederosmart we will not only show you useful content about the right way to do it. You will also find essential details about this school utensil so that you can choose the best model on the market.


  • It is a mechanism composed of several rods that are connected to each other from a fixed point. It is made to reproduce in large or small ranges the outline you want. Today it is used in various academic and professional areas as a technical plotting tool.
  • Do you already know in which sector you want to use your pantograph? It is worth answering this question, because once you get the answer you will have to distinguish between traditional or 3D equipment. Although they have a lot in common, their design and operation differ.
  • Format, applications, power supply and size. These are the four criteria we will be looking at in the final section of the text. Not only should you look at them, our particular suggestion is that you stop to analyse and compare each one in terms of the tasks you will be performing.

The Best Pantographs: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about pantographs

We created this guide with the guidelines you need to know before purchasing your device. You will have at hand an innovative material that contemplates from the conceptualisation of the pantograph, to the places where you can buy it in Mexico. Take a look at what follows.

The pantograph is a commonly used tool for architects. (Photo: Mark Bowden/

What is a pantograph and what are its advantages?

A pantograph is a piece of stationery used to enlarge or reduce a guide image. It is made up of crossed wooden, metal or plastic blades, which are moved by being attached to a pivot. Only with this system is it possible to articulate it in order to trace a specific shape, taken from photos, graphics and illustrations.

It can be applied to different sectors. For example, students, architects, engineers and mechanics use it for drawing plans. The production capacity varies depending on its size and qualities, as it is available in various dimensions. This is how it is successfully used in the artistic field.

It requires a flat table or stand to perform its functions. In addition to tracing pencils. Without some of these accessories it will be impossible to obtain excellent results. The best thing? It is very easy to use once you know how to do it, as it consists of four parts designed to describe lines similar to the original ones.

  • Allows architectural plans
  • Simple to use
  • Not heavy
  • Easy to move from one place to another
  • Can be moved by pivots
  • Used to enlarge or reduce
  • Only has artistic applications
  • Could break easily
  • Requires pencils to draw
  • Weak manufacturing materials
  • Provides solutions to specific areas

Traditional or 3D pantograph – What should you pay attention to?

Do you want to get different proportions of the same graphic? If your answer is yes, you should know which pantograph variables will give you the results you expect. Here are two common alternatives on the market, with different formats and functions.

Traditional. It is inspired by the first model built in 1603 by Christoph Scheiner. It is used to plot copies of an original graph in different proportions. It is an instrument widely used by school or university students in drawing-related activities.

It is attached to tables or stands by means of a handle usually made of metal. The arms of the pantograph have holes that serve to identify the scales of enlargement or reduction. These, in turn, are used according to the user’s requirements, once a task has been assigned to them.

3D. This is an evolved version of the original device, created on the basis of technological advances in the field. Unlike the previous one, this one is dedicated to carving, not to tracing. All thanks to the connection established with the current to drive some electronic movements.

On the other hand, it is also made for the artistic field, but in this case it interacts with elements such as wood, for example. It has the power to cut, split and crack. Sometimes, the final size is similar to the base figure, bigger or smaller than the base figure.

Traditional 3D
Function Tracing Carving and cutting
Electricity No Yes
Element Paper Wood
Use Amateur, professional Professional
Movement Mechanical Electronic

Purchasing criteria

These devices are designed to provide useful solutions to certain artistic demands. That said, we advise you to take a close look at the factors associated with each one. Generally speaking, we are referring to points of view that are of great importance when you finally click on the purchase button.


Throughout the text we have discussed the most important details of this stationery instrument. So now it is time to look at its three basic formats. Take a look at the following and decide which is the variable you need when working on your work.

Engraving. This refers to the printing of specific figures on the surface of your choice. For example, if your intention is to engrave letters, phrases and graphics on wood, our recommendation is that you choose a 3D pantograph so that the final artwork has the desired relief.

Tracing. On the other hand, if you are just starting to use this device, or your child requires one for art classes, consider buying a traditional metal, plexiglass or wooden device. Remember to combine it with the number of pencils or colours suggested so that you get the expected result.

Cut. Do you have a professional art studio? Opt for a technological 3D copy, as it includes a cutting function. After engraving the design you have in mind on a thin sheet of wood, you can cut it in its original size, enlarged or reduced. Use it additionally to make 3D plans.


We include this point in the factors we are discussing because your final decision should be based on what you will use the pantograph for. We took the initiative to present you the most common cases associated with different tasks. Stay and read and identify if any of our suggestions are related to your activities.

Academic. This applies to teachers, school students, and those studying architecture, for example. If you need equipment to optimise or teach how to improve artistic scale drawing skills, we suggest you opt for the acquisition of a traditional device that is manually operated.

Artistic: Do you have your own art studio? Then we advise you to take both types of pantographs, as they will be useful for different applications on paper, cardboard, cardboard or wood. Depending on the case you should choose a manual or a 3D one. This way you can achieve a variety of finishes on a larger or smaller scale.

For professionals. Usually for architects, engineers and mechanics it is recommended to buy traditional units made of a resistant material such as aluminium or plexiglass. Having one or more as part of your work equipment is indispensable to increase or reduce assembly plans.

Power source

How much power does the target you have in mind demand? With this question in mind, it is easier to determine which type of tool to add to your list. We invite you to take a look at our explanation, you will see that based on it you will know which is the ideal power source.

Mechanics: Are you looking for a device to copy photographs, illustrations and graphics onto paper? The most advisable thing is to acquire one whose operation depends on the force printed by yourself on the table or drawing support. As this is a basic artistic activity, you don’t need one with technological features.

Electric: Do you have to do professional scale work in an automated way? Then the best thing for you is to get a 3D pantograph that produces faster with the help of electricity. Take into account that it demands stable current through a connection. In addition, it is usually more expensive compared to the traditional one.

They are essential for graduating the scales on which the plans are copied. (Photo: Andrea De Martin/


There are two aspects to consider when it comes to dimensions: the support on which you will place it and the proportions of the material you want to reproduce. For this reason, manufacturers have invested in the creation of copies adapted to the most demanding tastes of the market.

Small. These units are sold from 50 – 100 cm long. Choose one with these qualities so that you can place it on a round or square table of a larger diameter. It will be useful for drawing small drawings and medium-sized architectural plans.

Medium. If you have an art studio or drawing studio, this is the right choice for you. It goes beyond 100 cm to at least 200 cm in length. Just what you need when cutting, engraving or drawing. For example, with one like this you can make projects that don’t fit in small presentations.

Large. This variety applies to professional centres specialising in the creation of industrial content on wood or cardboard that will later be sold. Consider one that exceeds 200 cm in length if you have to create street signs, pictograms, advertisements and information modules.

(Featured image photo: Henrik Dolle/