Graphical Construction Glossary >> Tools. >> Hand Tools >> Beam Compass

Beam Compass
A setting out tool that is used for scribing circles and arcs.

A close up of a beam compass

A compass that is about 2 feet long. Made by Stanley in 1880. This is a very precise instrument with a finely graduated scale for accurate measurements.

A beam compass like this on in the London Science Museum can of course be used for very precise work in drawing or scribing circles and arcs. More than that though it can be used for stepping out a series of equidistant points, for example say on stair strings in stair design. In effect the beam compass can do everything that a wing compass can do but on a larger scale, because the beam can be made as long as necessary.

A trammel being used

Here is a photo from my trammel page where you can see a short length of timber being used with a couple of trammel heads. I am using it in the setting out of floor tiles.

An interesting version of this that I have never used myself is one that has a tape measure body with a facility at the tip to fix a pencil or a scriber.

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