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post #1 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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Milescraft pantograph

I've never really had any interest in sign making but my little brother does. He is 12 and diagnosed with cancer and wants to find something to do with all his time sitting around since he doesn't go to school anymore. He wants to do a small business selling to friends and family to make a few bucks and something to do with his time.

So he wants to try out some sign making so I bought a milescraft pantograph from menards last week, http://www.milescraft.com/products/s...antograph.html. The first one I bought and tried to assemble had one bolt that wasn't threaded so had to take it back. Exchanged it for the only other one they had and tried to put that one together. This time the 4 nuts that go into the plastic base wouldn't fit, either the nuts were to big or the holes to small. Since menards didn't have anymore on the shelf I emailed the company and they got right back to me asking what parts I need to make it work and they would send it right out. I asked for the nuts and plastic base since I didn't know which one was the wrong size. They said they were pretty sure it is the nuts so just sent those out. I hope those are the problem and can finally try this thing out, if not I'm not going to be to happy with the company and their lack of quality control.

Anyway, has anyone ever used one of these to make signs or pictures? Looks pretty neat. I also ordered the milescraft signpro, http://www.milescraft.com/products/s...2-signpro.html from amazon with much hesitation after the quality control of the pantograph but I'm keeping my hopes up on this one. When I bought the pantograph I didn't know much about it and looks like it might take some practice to get the hang of it. So I got the signpro because that one should be pretty easy to start out for my brother.

Just wondering others experiences with milescraft products or sign making in general? Ay tips or ideas or pictures you might want to share would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Scott

Thanks for your help
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post #2 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 02:11 PM
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Looks like a neat setup, hopefully he can make good use of it. I did find a few things funny about the video they have on their website. For starters I now know where the "Micro Machine Man" is no making a living...nobody talks that fast in real life Secondly I find it interesting that 20 seconds into the video they tell you whaat to do if you buy one of their products and it has parts that are missing or broken Obviously they know that they have very poor quality control and just go ahead and plan on people buying defective products

With that out of the way it does look like a neat tool to have in the shop, might have to pick one up myself just to try it out. I'm going to state the (hopefully) obvious and say that there needs to be some experienced adult supervision going on here as power tools can be dangeous

Have fun and show us some pics when you guys get to using it

George

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post #3 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 02:55 PM
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I bought the pantograph few months ago I use it with a porter cable router and it works just fine although I would say that a palm router would be a lot better for its weight . I have made few signs and customized font/size etc they include 5 different fonts . I haven't tried making big signs though.
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post #4 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Looks like a neat setup, hopefully he can make good use of it. I did find a few things funny about the video they have on their website. For starters I now know where the "Micro Machine Man" is no making a living...nobody talks that fast in real life Secondly I find it interesting that 20 seconds into the video they tell you whaat to do if you buy one of their products and it has parts that are missing or broken Obviously they know that they have very poor quality control and just go ahead and plan on people buying defective products

With that out of the way it does look like a neat tool to have in the shop, might have to pick one up myself just to try it out. I'm going to state the (hopefully) obvious and say that there needs to be some experienced adult supervision going on here as power tools can be dangeous

Have fun and show us some pics when you guys get to using it
I found that funny also, I knew it was made in china but didn't know that there was zero quality control. It got decent reviews when I was searching. Hopefully new nuts will get it up and running, if it's the plastic base slots that are too small for the nuts I'm just going to return it because three strikes and you're out in my book.

Hopefully it will work and be able to creat some interesting designs. Going to start out with some letters and then maybe try a 3D design of some sort. We also got into clock making a little bit, or at least I bought a ton of stuff to start! He hasn't had to much energy in the past couple weeks because he's been at the childrens hospital all week for radiation everyday. But Friday was his last day of radiation so now has 38 weeks of chemo one day a week. Hopefully he will feel a little better and have some time to do what he wanted to. If not then that's fine, maybe I'll play around with the new toys and do some sort of charity thing by selling them. Time will tell.

Anyone else ever made some signs? Looking for ideas and examples. Will particle board work if he just paints them?

Thanks for your help
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 03:10 PM
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signs I've made with the pantograph
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post #6 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Viorato831 View Post
Attachment 35709

signs I've made with the pantograph
Nice!

Any advice on setting it up or using it?

Would you share how you finish your signs? What you use and technique?

Thanks

Thanks for your help
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Viorato831 View Post
I bought the pantograph few months ago I use it with a porter cable router and it works just fine although I would say that a palm router would be a lot better for its weight . I have made few signs and customized font/size etc they include 5 different fonts . I haven't tried making big signs though.
Do you have any pictures of your setup or advice on using it? Or pictures of what you have made so far?

I bought a 2x4' sheet of 3/4" mdf to make a little table out of and mount the pantograph to. I have a dewalt 1 1/4HP router and also a porter cable laminate router if that will work.

Do you think MDF would work for signs he just paints? I'm thinking that to get the hang of it and just for ease and cheap material we are going to make some MDF signs. We can make a bunch of signs or shapes and then he can paint them through out the week when he feels up to it. Then once we get the hang of it we can do some oak signs and stain them.

Thanks for your help
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post #8 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Will particle board work if he just paints them?
I think you could use that for learning, but for the actual signs I'd say no. You can make them out of cheap lumber. Yesterday I was at Menards and they had 1x6 boards for about $2 a piece. You could make several signs per board then paint in the recess and stain the rest, varnish as desired and it would look very nice and you'd have about $.50 a piece in them if you made 4 out of a board

George

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post #9 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gstanfield View Post
I think you could use that for learning, but for the actual signs I'd say no. You can make them out of cheap lumber. Yesterday I was at Menards and they had 1x6 boards for about $2 a piece. You could make several signs per board then paint in the recess and stain the rest, varnish as desired and it would look very nice and you'd have about $.50 a piece in them if you made 4 out of a board
What kind and length of boards at menards? Just 1x6 pine?

Thanks for your help
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post #10 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 08:23 PM
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yeah, they were 1x6x72 pine "regular" grade. The select boards were only about $2.85 and then the premium boards were around $10. If you dig around a little bit you can find some nice looking boards in the regular and select piles and not have to spend the money on the black label stuff. Especially if you'll be cutting it into smaller sections, you can discard the pieces with big knots

1x6 boards would work great for the signs like Viorta831 posted above. If you are going with larger stuff then you may have to go with plywood if you cannot do some glued sections. For that I would go with MDO (Not MDF) if you are painting them and if you want stain then you gotta go with the pretty stuff.

That's my thoughts on it, but I've never made signs. I have however made lots of other stuff out of wood:)

George

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post #11 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 11:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponch37300

Nice!

Any advice on setting it up or using it?

Would you share how you finish your signs? What you use and technique?

Thanks
The pantograph comes with a DVD on how set it up if urs didn't come with one go to YouTube and search for milescraft pantograph , the instructions are straight forward . I used minwax stain applied with a rag and after dry I sprayed polyurethane then on the back I put some saw tooth hangers .
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post #12 of 21 Old 01-14-2012, 11:57 PM
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The signs I made are pine .. I bought a 1x12x72(paid 7.50 ) and ripped it in half I find pine boards easier to work with than plywood because you don't have to rip a whole 4' x8' sheet and sometimes when u are routing plywood tends to tear out but if u have good blades u should b alright.
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post #13 of 21 Old 01-15-2012, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Viorato831 View Post
The pantograph comes with a DVD on how set it up if urs didn't come with one go to YouTube and search for milescraft pantograph , the instructions are straight forward . I used minwax stain applied with a rag and after dry I sprayed polyurethane then on the back I put some saw tooth hangers .
I watched the youtube video, just wondering if there was any real world advice/changes that you learned as you started out.

For the letters being black, do you just spray paint them black and then sand the sign to leave the letters black? Or do you brush them black? From my searching it looks like most just use spray paint and spray the whole sign and then sand of the face to leave the letters.

Thanks again for your advice.

Thanks for your help
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post #14 of 21 Old 01-15-2012, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponch37300

I watched the youtube video, just wondering if there was any real world advice/changes that you learned as you started out.

For the letters being black, do you just spray paint them black and then sand the sign to leave the letters black? Or do you brush them black? From my searching it looks like most just use spray paint and spray the whole sign and then sand of the face to leave the letters.

Thanks again for your advice.
In order to get the letters darker I apply the conditioner to the whole sign except the letters that'll give u a darker stain.
As for the changes once u set it up u can customize ur letters size/font etc. just print whatever u like from ur computer and ur ready to go.
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post #15 of 21 Old 01-15-2012, 03:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Viorato831 View Post
In order to get the letters darker I apply the conditioner to the whole sign except the letters that'll give u a darker stain.
As for the changes once u set it up u can customize ur letters size/font etc. just print whatever u like from ur computer and ur ready to go.
Thanks,

I received the new nuts from milescraft yesterday and went to try and finish putting it together and use it today and still have the same problem. When milescraft asked what parts I needed to make this work, I asked for nuts and the base since I didn't think all four nuts would be big unless they had a huge batch of bad nuts. She decided to just send new nuts, probably to just save money. So now it's been two weeks and three tries to get this thing up and working and I'm still sitting disappointed. Milescraft leaves a lot to be desired with their lack of quality control.

Are there any other options for pantographs? Any made in the US?

Thanks for your help
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post #16 of 21 Old 01-15-2012, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Viorato831 View Post
In order to get the letters darker I apply the conditioner to the whole sign except the letters that'll give u a darker stain.
As for the changes once u set it up u can customize ur letters size/font etc. just print whatever u like from ur computer and ur ready to go.
Sorry for all the questions but finishing isn't one of my strong suits. What conditioner do you use? So you "condition" the wood, minus the letters. Then apply stain. Then poly the whole thing?

Thanks again.

Thanks for your help
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post #17 of 21 Old 01-15-2012, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ponch37300

Thanks,

I received the new nuts from milescraft yesterday and went to try and finish putting it together and use it today and still have the same problem. When milescraft asked what parts I needed to make this work, I asked for nuts and the base since I didn't think all four nuts would be big unless they had a huge batch of bad nuts. She decided to just send new nuts, probably to just save money. So now it's been two weeks and three tries to get this thing up and working and I'm still sitting disappointed. Milescraft leaves a lot to be desired with their lack of quality control.

Are there any other options for pantographs? Any made in the US?
Can u upload some pictures of ur set up?
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post #18 of 21 Old 01-15-2012, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ponch37300 View Post
I've never really had any interest in sign making but my little brother does. He is 12 and diagnosed with cancer and wants to find something to do with all his time sitting around since he doesn't go to school anymore. He wants to do a small business selling to friends and family to make a few bucks and something to do with his time.

So he wants to try out some sign making so I bought a milescraft pantograph from menards last week, http://www.milescraft.com/products/s...antograph.html. The first one I bought and tried to assemble had one bolt that wasn't threaded so had to take it back. Exchanged it for the only other one they had and tried to put that one together. This time the 4 nuts that go into the plastic base wouldn't fit, either the nuts were to big or the holes to small. Since menards didn't have anymore on the shelf I emailed the company and they got right back to me asking what parts I need to make it work and they would send it right out. I asked for the nuts and plastic base since I didn't know which one was the wrong size. They said they were pretty sure it is the nuts so just sent those out. I hope those are the problem and can finally try this thing out, if not I'm not going to be to happy with the company and their lack of quality control.

Anyway, has anyone ever used one of these to make signs or pictures? Looks pretty neat. I also ordered the milescraft signpro, http://www.milescraft.com/products/s...2-signpro.html from amazon with much hesitation after the quality control of the pantograph but I'm keeping my hopes up on this one. When I bought the pantograph I didn't know much about it and looks like it might take some practice to get the hang of it. So I got the signpro because that one should be pretty easy to start out for my brother.

Just wondering others experiences with milescraft products or sign making in general? Ay tips or ideas or pictures you might want to share would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Scott
I had the sign pro i didn't keep it. To flimsey for me . Took to long to change letters ect. The rail's are Aluminum Polish them and the router will slide better. I buffed them and router slid real good. Now if you are making just one or two different sign't that would work out good. But i wanted to make lot's of different one's . That took to long to set it up. Good luck
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post #19 of 21 Old 01-15-2012, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Can u upload some pictures of ur set up?
Pictures of what part? The nuts that go into the slots on the plastic base and then the base gets attached to the two rails by bolting the two top plastic pieces into the nuts on the base.

Thanks for your help
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post #20 of 21 Old 01-15-2012, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by del schisler View Post
I had the sign pro i didn't keep it. To flimsey for me . Took to long to change letters ect. The rail's are Aluminum Polish them and the router will slide better. I buffed them and router slid real good. Now if you are making just one or two different sign't that would work out good. But i wanted to make lot's of different one's . That took to long to set it up. Good luck
Did you get something else? I'm very interested in alternatives to the milescraft products since I've got nothing but junk from them and in my opinion I have given them plenty of opertunity to fix the mistakes.

Thanks for your help
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