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Old 05-21-09, 11:12 PM   #1
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Pantographing: The Secrets, The Mysteries, The Myth! (And the facts.)

Okay now. I know all of us have a secret here in C&V-

We have our flagship bike, the beautiful one- the "drool at my C&V champion" bike. Well- I think all of us know we'd like it just a little more if it had a pantographed, matching group.

I happen to be one of these people- Gios pantographed parts are hard to find. I was thinking to myself today: "When I start building that Gios, I'm going to have to get pantographed parts, I am going to go all out. But how?"

So: Are there modern pantographers who can pantograph parts?

Or does life as a C&V rider mean endless searching for pantographed parts that are worn out and too expensive?

Anyway, let's talk about pantographing- if we can still get it done, what we like, what we don't, pictures, and all that stuff.

-Nick
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Old 05-21-09, 11:20 PM   #2
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I have an unhealthy lust and attraction towards panto parts... However, you're right that most times they're very worn or/and extremely expensive.
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Old 05-21-09, 11:46 PM   #3
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I like your signature, tigerprawn. And I agree- gorgeous, expensive, worn-out.

So. Does anyone know if parts today can be pantoed? How is it done? etc.

We've been over this before here, but it was before I was a forum member and the search function stinks.

besides, it's good conversation. So post away, my friends!
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Old 05-22-09, 12:32 AM   #4
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Pantographed Bianchi seatpost. Or is it?

No it's not. It's a homemade copy. I milled the flutes into the post then I engraved the 'B' into the post. I ground a chisel into an appropriate shape and engraved the 'B' into the post. It took about 1/2 an hour and I defy anyone to tell the difference.

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Old 05-22-09, 12:45 AM   #5
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Wow, that looks great. I don't know how a milling machine works, nor how the chiseling was done. Would you care to elaborate on these basic tool functions to aid my idiocratic self?

And how thin can the lines get? Down to shift-lever size? Or only seatpost size?

That seatpost looks fantastic, BTW, you did a great job.

Kudos.

-Nick
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Old 05-22-09, 05:05 AM   #6
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Thanks banjo mole,

A milling machine is like an oversized, overmuscled drill. A mill holds a cutting tool similar to a drill bit. The cutting tool diameter varies just like drill bits. The diameter of the cutter determines the width or narrowness of the slot it can cut. The seatpost is held in a vice of the milling machine and the vice/seatpost is slowly passed under the cutter. The cutter cuts a slot in the seatpost.

The seatpost, being Aluminium alloy is very soft and can be scratched easily. It is also easy to cut a groove in the alloy with a chisel and hammer. To make the groove have square edges all you have to do is grind the point of the chisel to give the required shape of the groove being cut.

I think any part can be engraved but it is much slower than pantographing and requires much more skill - but it can be done at home, without the need for a specially built pantograph machine. Greg Softley from Cyclemondo (ebay) has photographs of pantograph machines on his website.

I think some of the pantographed parts listed on ebay are modern day items - old but clean components pantographed recently - but who cares.

I think a one off pantograph job would be very expensive.

Last edited by Gary Fountain; 05-22-09 at 05:18 AM.
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Old 05-22-09, 05:09 AM   #7
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There are folks still doing pantographing, AFAIK. Some of the panto parts that show up on ebay are recently pantoed NOS bits. But it's expensive.
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Old 05-22-09, 05:19 AM   #8
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The hunt...

I am a purist. I do not like to install aftermarket stuff on my old bikes. Long have I felt this way. Besides...

Which is better, the hunt for the bike or finding it? If you find a great bike and then stop hunting, then finding is better - for you. If you find a great bike and want to hunt more, then it is the hunt.

Anyone can put the cash on the table and walk away with anything he or she wants, thanks primarily to the availability of stuff on Ebay. I could have bought a PX10 for a tidy sum but I waited and one found me - for free. I still do not have all of the correct components installed but I am still enjoying the hunt as well as the pleasure I get from riding the bicycle.

With each correct piece that I find for the bike, my joy increases but I still keep looking for the next item.

So, to me, pantographing a forty year old part is about the same thing as modifying a frame set. Heck, I really want to own a high end sixties or seventies Legnano. Perhaps if I pantograph the word into a set of stays on one of the frame sets I have hanging in The Old Shed it will satisfy my desire to own one. I doubt it.

But each to his own. I just hope that I never get fooled by a modified frame set or component.
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Old 05-22-09, 05:59 AM   #9
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Pantographing isnt for me. Fully panto'd bikes look too 'busy', I prefer my bikes to have a cleaner more smooth look. 1 or 2 pieces ok, but dam, some bikes go overboard.
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Old 05-22-09, 06:55 AM   #10
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There are folks still doing pantographing, AFAIK. Some of the panto parts that show up on ebay are recently pantoed NOS bits. But it's expensive.
ALL the parts showing up on ebay are recently done. Come on, there's more pantographed parts available for sale now than there were made new. Strange how they're all new.
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Old 05-22-09, 07:29 AM   #11
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Pantographed Bianchi seatpost. Or is it?

No it's not. It's a homemade copy. I milled the flutes into the post then I engraved the 'B' into the post. I ground a chisel into an appropriate shape and engraved the 'B' into the post. It took about 1/2 an hour and I defy anyone to tell the difference.

You are my hero. Very cool.

jim
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Old 05-22-09, 07:36 AM   #12
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I believe there are many misconceptions about pantographing and even more hypocrisy. Firstly, to the best of my knowledge, no part manufacturer whatosoever and apart from perhaps Somec and Rauler, no framebuilder or bike builder ever did their own pantographing in-house. So this means that whatever parts you find, they were not "original" from the manufacturer. They were all modified and for the most part were sourced from multiple pantographing service providers. The fact that they were produced by multiple suppliers and were produced using hand operated machinery guarantees that there were always slight differences in execution. This is why there are so many variations out there. Secondly, if you find any bike and decide to fit it out with pantographed parts, there is no way that it can be original, whether you buy a part that was pantographed back in the day or whether it was produced yesterday. Therefore making a distinction between the two smacks of hypocrisy to me. A bike built up with a part pantographed back in the day or one produced with period components today will be equally "original". What does make a difference is ensuring a semblance of "originality" is that the panto design is suitable to the component that is being worked on and that the location of the pantographing on the component is appropriate to the component. For example, there is one fellow in Italy who has been going crazy with panto components and working on parts that would never have been worked upon, or is using logos that pre-date the component. This is obviously make a non-original part totally wrong, as it is not even period correct. It may however float the owner's boat, so I won't begrudge them the part. This, as long as the owner does not believe they have a period correct part.

The desire to have pantographed components is the same as the desire to have the highest spec components on a vintage bike or vintage car. Why do people want to change the brakes on their old Paramounts to Campagnolo when few ever came that way from the factory? Why are so many fitting bigger engines in cars during the restoration process? None of this is original, but it apparently gives the owners a degree of satisfaction which in my eyes is important.

I have had a considerable amount of pantographing done for me by a fellow who has over 30 years of experience doing it. In fact, before he retired, that was his only job, and he worked for many of the big-name builders. I presently have two bikes that are fully decked out in pantographed components, however both are unique bikes that were either custom built or recently built up from a bare frame for the first time.
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Old 05-22-09, 07:41 AM   #13
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ALL the parts showing up on ebay are recently done. Come on, there's more pantographed parts available for sale now than there were made new. Strange how they're all new.
My friend who used to do panto work as his sole job, had a stash of old parts, which the builder did not take off his hands for one reason or another. Other parts are scrounged off of damaged bikes and lastly, many shops still do have onesies and twosies of panto parts in their showcases. I used to work in a shop that had Pinarello panto stems in al the most common lengths for fitting to the frames that we sold.
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Old 05-22-09, 09:18 AM   #14
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I've told the story before, but: Way back in early times I had a job in a shop that did several sports-related things, and one was a trophy operation. There was a "technician" (I use the term loosely) who operated a pantograph to engrave the brass and aluminum plates that were mounted on the awards (trophies, plaques, gee-gaws) and there was a bit of side-business doing engraving of objets d'art that folks walked in with. His machine was set up to just scratch the soft metal, but had a power attachment that ran a dental burr so you could cut deeply into materials. But the tech was a notorious screw-up and when a local customer brought in a stem to be "pantographed" he made a complete botch of it: misspelled the word (typical) and the cutter got completely out of control and wandered all over the curved surface and at varied depth: it looked like the work of a drunk (which he may have been that day). When the customer came in to pick it up he presented it with a "looks pretty good, huh? I'd like to do a lot more of these bike parts" and was baffled when the guy gave him grief for ruining his new expensive stem. Anyway, I took note and never brought him any work of my own, but did learn to use the panto machine to do simple scratch engraving.
Anyway, If you look hard in your locale, you may find a trophy shop that still has a working machine, If you're even luckier, it may be operated by someone skilled enough to use a burr...but try him out on a practice piece, first!
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Old 05-22-09, 09:36 AM   #15
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Pantographed Bianchi seatpost. Or is it?

No it's not. It's a homemade copy. I milled the flutes into the post then I engraved the 'B' into the post. I ground a chisel into an appropriate shape and engraved the 'B' into the post. It took about 1/2 an hour and I defy anyone to tell the difference.
Nice job Gary! I too like the DIY approach. I've milled a few stems and posts and just started to drill and mill some chain-rings. Have not tackled any letters yet, that's impressive.

Here's a couple of practice rings I just did:



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Old 05-22-09, 10:13 AM   #16
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Otis,

that is some very impressive work. so what bike are you going to put it on???

Marty
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Old 05-22-09, 10:19 AM   #17
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I used to work at an engraving shop that offered pantographing. Its really cool to watch, and pretty difficult to do well. Pantographing is best at producing super fine scrollwork, but you can do just about anything with sufficient time and skill. The advantage of Panto over other engraving methods is that A Pantograph can work on small, large and oddly shaped items that a mechanical engraving table would have trouble with. Also a pantograph can reproduce the same design or font accurately and repeatedly.

A lot of work that we call 'pantographed' is actually done on a mechanical engraving table...chainrings and such would be good candidates for mechanical engraving because its a relatively large flat surface. Something like a Stem or Shift lever are the kind of items that would need an actual pantograph (or a hand held engraving tool) to engrave
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Old 05-22-09, 10:22 AM   #18
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Otis,

that is some very impressive work. so what bike are you going to put it on???

Marty
Thanks Marty. These are just practice ones to work out some fixtures. I gave the "SR" style one to a forum member as it is a good useable ring. The NR ring has junk teeth so is not useable.

I'm building up a mid 70's "Merckx" branded Colnago Super that I'm going to do an NR ring for. I did not get the "club" part right on this one. I'll burn up a few more junk rings before I start on some keepers.
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Old 05-22-09, 10:23 AM   #19
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So this means that whatever parts you find, they were not "original" from the manufacturer. They were all modified and for the most part were sourced from multiple pantographing service providers.


... I think they did theirs in-house?

Or they mailed the componets out
had them pantographed
mailed them back to the factory
packaged them
and mailed them off.

Hmm.
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Old 05-22-09, 10:34 AM   #20
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did anyone see the campagnolo 3ttt 50th anniversary stem?

it was on ebay 2 days ago.
wow that was a beauty.
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Old 05-22-09, 10:47 AM   #21
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[/IMG]

... I think they did theirs in-house?

Or they mailed the componets out
had them pantographed
mailed them back to the factory
packaged them
and mailed them off.

Hmm.
If they used Italian mail they would still be waiting for them But I'm sure they just loaded up the parts and took them to whatever machine shop was doing the work, or had Campagnolo send their order directly there to be modified.

They did not make the jerseys and caps in house either.

Anybody out there still have one of those styrafoam containers!
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Old 05-22-09, 10:53 AM   #22
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Who cares about the syrofoam container?

I'll take the contents!

(If you like I can mail you the empty box though...)

Those jerseys and caps are just about impossible to find. A search of the internet for the last (chunk of time) has resulted in one picture of one hanging in a vintage bicycle shop in germany.

My current goal is to get one of these built up, with all the shiny panto'ed componets. (Yes, the brake levers, shift levers, seatpost, and chainring...Although the seatpost and ring are most common.)

Edit: Thus, the quest for pantographing.
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Old 05-22-09, 11:05 AM   #23
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and a worthy quest it is.
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Old 05-22-09, 11:10 AM   #24
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Thank you, lotek.

Did anyone ever see this thread?

If not for the GIOS, than for the Paramount. It's ridiculously glorious.

It's an old thread, but man, what a steal.
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Old 05-22-09, 11:11 AM   #25
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... I think they did theirs in-house?

Or they mailed the componets out
had them pantographed
mailed them back to the factory
packaged them
and mailed them off.

Hmm.
Gios did not do the work in house! I can assure you of that. They sent it out to be done.
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