PantoFlex the Simplest Probe


This version of the pantograph uses the flexibility of the material instead of complicated joints.  This makes it super simple to assemble, but limits its range of motion. The 3D model prints in three pieces so it can fit on even the smallest 3D printer, and the only other required part is a probe made of 1/8″ Stainless Steel and a short piece of 22 gage Piano Wire.

That’s all you need to operate it 2 handed.  If you want to improve the stability you can add the base from the normal PantoProbe and a 1/4-20 nut.




How To Build a PantoProbe

The probe is made up of some 3D printed parts and uses brass tubing and washers to make the precise joints needed for an accurate pantograph.  You’ll need a few other things like a camera ball head.

I have made a video showing how to build one. You can also read my blog post about the build, and you can find the various files on github.

If that seems like too much effort, just to try out the idea you might want to try building the  much simpler PantoFlex.

What It Is and Why You Need One

A PantoProbe is a classic pantographic mechanism which lets you position an electronic probe with much higher precision than you would be able to position it by hand. This lets you use your meter/scope to take measurements willy nilly all over the place, not just at places that already have easy access with a test pad or via.   I built the above board, but I couldn’t trouble shoot it.  So I invented  the PantoProbe.  It made the impossible possible.  Having used one, I’m never going back.

Video of one in action

Because it takes some tools and time to build a fully featured probe, I also designed a simple one called the PantoFlex that uses the flexing of the printed material instead of fancy joints.