I am building a cradle from plans. I have never built anything from a
plan before, I usually just look at a picture and wing it. Consequently
I have no experience in working from plans.
The plans call for me to cut out various shapes and transpose those
shapes onto stock and cut the stock. How is this second step done?
A bandsaw is good for this. Or you can cut the shapes out in hardboard and
use a bushing on a router. Use the router to cut out the shapes with the
templates attached. Depends what kind of tools you have and the shapes you
want to machine.
Take the plans to a copy center ( Staples, Kinkos, etc. ) and keep enlarging
them till you get close to the correct size. Be careful when you do this
because the lines of your plan will become larger than a normal pencil line.
After enlarging the plans your lines may be close to an 1/8" of an inch
thick. Don't forget to bring a ruler with you.
That will get you close to what the size of the final project will be.
Transfer that copy to a piece of hardboard and tweak as necessary.
There is another method of drawing a grid of 1" squares on a piece of paper
and another grid of squares on the original plans and copy freehand the
lines from plan to template. I haven't done that since the enlarge function
of the copy machine was invented.
If the plans aren't already full size, it's generally easiest to re-draw
them full-size on newspaper or wrapping paper. On occasion I've taken a
digital photo of a plan sheet, imported it to my CAD package and used
its drawing tools to trace outlines, deleted the photo image from the
CAD drawing, scaled the drawing to the size I wanted, and printed it out
1:1 on as many printer pages as needed, and taped the pages together to
produce the full-size plan.
If you print the plan with a laser printer, you may be able to use a
clothes iron to transfer the image (if you take this approach you'll
want to print a mirror image of the plan).
If you don't print with a laser printer, or if you already have
full-size plans, you can perforate the lines to be copied and then,
after laying paper on wood, use a "powder puff" with chalk dust to pat
marking dust through the perforations.
Nowdays I cheat - once I've captured the plan for a complex part in my
CAD package, I export it to my one of my CNC lash-ups and let the CNC do
all the rest of the work. :-)
Pantograph or overhead projector if the pattern isn't full size.
If the pattern is relatively simple, I'll set out any straight lines,
and follow with french curves or drawing bows to fill in the curves.
You can get pretty close this way.
If the pattern is full size, a pounce wheel and chalk works well.
I used to use carbon paper, and sometimes still do. But I like this
Make a copy of the paper plan, making sure size does not change.
Lightly spray the wood with glue (any craft spray glue) and fix the
pattern onto the wood. Cut and sand off the paper.
Another method is to tape the pattern onto the wood and use a pin to
make tracks along the lines. Remove the pattern and use French curves
to connect the dots.
Another method uses graph paper, particularly if your pattern is
already blocked out.
There are dozens of other methods and I don't use the same one for
everything. Be careful that some methods may distort patterns.
Do a Google search for: enlarging drawing image
On my search, way down on page 1, was a link to: Drawing Course 101 -
The Link is to a Web preview of a book by Robert Capitolo and Ken Schwab
I would post the link, but it is way too long, and most don't click on
tinyurl type links here.
On Sat, 06 Sep 2008 06:50:36 -0500, Phil Again wrote:
Forgot to add:
once you have a to scale drawing, you can mount the paper pattern to the
wood by spray adhesive. 3M makes two good products Super 77. and Artist
Adhesive. Get Artist spay mount (white can) at Office supply store.
Super 77 (look for black can) at most BORGs. Remove pattern with small
brush (acid type brush?) and mineral spirits.
Some recommend using blue (or purple) painters tape directly on the
wood. Spray both tape and paper with spray adhesive, wait a few seconds
(but less than 30 seconds) and attach. Then use clear packaging tape to
cover the lines you are going to cut.
The theory is 3M uses a special coating on the clear packing tape so when
on the dispenser roll layers of tape won't stick together. This coating
tends to lubricate the blade slightly, but more importantly, adds a very
tiny bit of 'burn' protection to the wood. The trace protection, which
you will normally sand off before applying any finish, because it might
If the plans are same size as finished item, trace through with carbon paper
or use the renaissance method - prick through with pins on all the corners
and several points of each curve then join the dots with a pencil
Or use a photocopy and spray-mount or gum onto your stock, then cut through
plan lines and stock together.
If plans are NOT same size, then you can use am enlarged photocopy. This may
be tricky to get exact sizes and correct proportions, depending on equipment
used - years ago it was always recommended to use diazo copies (ammonia
developed "blueprints") as photocopies were not accurate enough for scaling.
This is largely irrelevant now, but check your copies to be certain
Then there's the squaring up method. for irregular shapes - basically drawing
a scale. grid over your plan and a scale grid on your stock and transferring
lines by eye. This can be incredibly accurate but even more incredibly
tedious. Both this and the pin prick method have been used for centuries
Intermediate plan "shapes", same size, on stuck-down brown or white paper
may be useful. and avoid pinpricked work or carbon snudges.
A better alternative to carbon might be paper coated in red chalk or
"rouge."You could, of course, use white chalk, depending.
A friend of mine uses an overhead projector to enlarge acetate tracings or
printouts onto mdf sheets for routing out decorative plaques. Not suitable
for mission-critical accuracy.
I often use Lee's suggestion.
1/4" hardboard is very easy to work, and the smooth side attaches easily
to the work with carpet tape. A wide putty or drywall knife seperates
the pieces nicely. If you save the rough "negative" of the pattern, you
can use it to check figure patterns of the stock before you stick on the
Once the template is made, stick it to the stock and bandsaw as close as
possible to the template. Minding the cut direction in relation to the
spinning bit, use a bearing guided straight bit in a router table to
finish. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be turning out identical
curved parts with a perfect 90 degree edge surface that requires very
little additional work.
I often draw a grid directly on the stock, and transfer the design from a
grid drawn the plan. Cuts out the middle step of making a pattern from a
pattern in order to put the pattern on the stock.
I'm working on an inlay project with several templates
I have these drawings in an CAD file and am luky enough to have a
Once the drawings are printed, I use corbon paper to transfer it to
the wood (and yes you can still find carbon paper)
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