Q: I’m left handed. Will the PantoProbe work for me?

A: Thankfully the basic PantoProbe is entirely ambidextrous.  The only thing left-handed users need to do is screw the probe into the ball head with the nut side down.  The Pick and Place version of the probe can probably be assembled with all the bits upside down, but because the parts are glued you won’t be able to swap back and forth.  You could mirror the 3D model and print out a native left-handed probe.

Q: What precision multiplier does the PantoProbe have?

A: I built the very first one with a 3x mechanical advantage and that seemed to be a nice balance between range of motion and precision.  3x Doesn’t sound like much but it makes a huge difference. The PantoFlex is a 4x probe because its range of motion is already limited by its flexture design.

Q: Can I lock the probe into position for long term monitoring?

A: I’ve tried this, and the answer is a qualified yes.   I got a cheap suction cup camera mount to lock the base of the probe, and tried various ways of locking the other end.  A helping hand, a machinist’s mic stand, all were an annoying fail of over/undershooting.  Then I realized I could use the built in ball head lock + gravity to position and hold the probe in place.  That’s simple and works reasonably well, but I wouldn’t play basketball near the setup.  It works fine for something like a via test point, but I wouldn’t trust it for some itty bitty QFN pad.

Q: Have you made a pantographic soldering iron?

A: It’s an interesting idea but thanks to drag soldering, hot air rework, a reflow oven and lots of practice under the microscope I have not been having a big problem with soldering SMD components.  So that wasn’t a problem I was trying to solve.  Also soldering is more about exact contact by angle and direction, and less about super precise position, so adding a pantographic motion may not be that big an advantage.

Q: Is it true that a system of Seven PantoProbes arranged in series could be used to manipulate individual atoms?

A: While seven has never been attempted. Five is fairly common see the PentaPantoProbe.

Q: Is the plural of PantoProbe PantoProbes or Pants ‘o Probe?

A: More than one PantoProbe is referred to as a precision of ProbesPanta.