View Full Version : price for Gorton pantograph going to crusher today

02-11-2004, 01:33 PM
i was just at the scrapyard as they were unloading some junk and they pulled a WWII-era Gorton pantograph off a truck. it has the War Board tag on it. the table and ways have no play and it looks hardly used (which is probably true as of late). they want $0.18 per pound for it.

they estimate around $100.
it doesn't have any tooling or anything, and the arms are straight and work smoothly. these are the only pics i've found of one, and these are MUCH larger than the one in the scrapyard.


so, what are these babies worth (the small ones)? if soemone else is truly interested adn lives near me, i could probably get it and hold it for them. it might be neat to have, but as usual, i know nothing about pantographs. they are probaly going to crush it in a few days, so i told them i'd let them know tonight or tomorrow.

andy b.

02-11-2004, 02:54 PM
That's just the kind of thing I'd grab up if I could.
Good eye.

But I've got a just a touch of packratosis.


02-11-2004, 03:22 PM
i did some more searching (thanks to the archives here) and i think it is like this P1-2 model:


what the heck, i'll probably give them a call and get it. i can probably sell it for what it costs me if i want to get rid of it.

so what type of cutting head was used on this? it appears that it would be about the size of a small drill or Dremel tool.

andy b.

02-11-2004, 03:32 PM
Jump on that thing as quick as you can. Someone here just got one and is looking for the side table. They also make a very nice small vertical milling machine.
They are worth what you can sell them for, but they are a valuable machine.

02-11-2004, 09:41 PM
The small table top machines go from $250 to $700 on e-bay, depending on the stuff that comes with them. The larger and 3-D panto-engravers don't usually bring much more than that. I think the problem is twofold, one being shipping considerations. Most of those machines have cast arms that extend out a long way. It would be tough to make it wherever it was headed in one piece. We have a Deckel at work, and it is WAY cool. But it doesn't get much use anymore with all the flatbed/computer/laser type stuff.

02-11-2004, 10:01 PM
If it is similar to the P-1 type (look like copies of the older 3-U Gortons)then it could be very useful for small milling, model making in my opinion. The larger ones are a pain-in-the-neck to operate. I've used them. Too big and clumsy even if they do have 3rd dimension capabilities. I'd love to have a 3-U in my shop but heck, how many little used toys can a person accumulate without looking like an obsessed fool.

Alistair Hosie
02-11-2004, 10:08 PM
Even the articulated arm is worth more than this.
It is something that could be converted to an overhead router for wood or even a small milling machine project.Good luck Alistair

02-11-2004, 11:52 PM
I would'nt mind having one but I'm filled to capacity in my shop. Thanks for the offer.


Excitable Boy
02-11-2004, 11:58 PM
I'm very interested depending on where it is located. It looks like it would be perfect for doing inlay pockets and handle sculpting for custom pocket knives, which is what I'm building my shop up for.I've got my mill and lathe, and have been searching for a surface grinder lately, but a pantograph like that would certainly make a great addition for me. One was next on my list, but probably a long ways off unless a really unusual deal came along. I think I might even be able to squeeze it in to where I had planned to put the bandsaw that I also have yet to find... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

Please advise. I'm in Simi Valley, CA 93065



Pursue Excellence and the rest will follow.

[This message has been edited by Excitable Boy (edited 02-12-2004).]

[This message has been edited by Excitable Boy (edited 02-12-2004).]

02-12-2004, 12:26 AM
That's just the kind of stuff I grab when I see it. I always go to the yard with some tools and a truck. Ya never know what will be there. I picked up a Whitney-Jensen #811 Punch for $12.50. After a few days of soaking, cleaning and painting, it's showroom new.

Antique small engines- $3-$10
Air tools - $0.50 or less
Saw tables - $1-$5
50t. H-frame Presses - $50
Brake lathes - $30

There's no end to the tools and equipment that show up there. Most companies have to scrap it after it's written off. You have to get there before the company employees come and buy it back.

02-12-2004, 12:42 AM
Gentlemen, what you are seeing is a Gorton 3 dimensional copy mill. In other words, it can copy a pattern in 3-D, and change size at the same time. You can make a pattern say, 10 times larger than you want the finished item, utilizing very close tolerances. Now, when it is used to make the item you want, but 10 times smaller, the tolerances will be nearly 1/10th the tolerances to which the pattern was made. The handwheel with spokes on the lower end of the spindle is lowered in small increments to effect the 3-D portion of the work. Normally a ball end mill is used together with small down feed increments to reduce the amount of hand work to get a smooth surface.
I have used the regular Gorton pantograph machines to do the same thing but the results are not as good because the pantograph arms flex up and down too much for this type of work.

02-12-2004, 08:48 AM
John (Excitable Boy),
i'm in PA, so it would cost 5-times what it's worth to ship it (and with those crazy spider arms on it, i don't know how to even pack it). sorry about that.

to the rest of you-
this is definitely a 2-D model. it is MUCH smaller than the first two photos i posted, more in line with the link for the P1-2 in my second post. i doubt the arms would even support the weight of a very small router (maybe they would). this machine is only about 45" tall, and the table height is maybe 36". probably weighs about 600 pounds. i didn't see a motor on it, and didn't even notice where one would mount, but i found some references to them having a 1/4 HP motor or so. i'll try to get a few pics up tonight of it (as long as they didn't do something foolish to it before i get there at lunch).

i found this link to another one for sale. it looks very similar to this (this is a 3-U):


andy b.
and my wife will verify i'm an obsessed fool, so there's no need for me to worry about making it worse.

02-12-2004, 09:11 AM
This appears to be more of a sign making or lettering pantograph. If I am looking at picture correctly, a master would be placed on table at rear, and engraving done on object on table at front. There should be a high speed motor driving the cutter on the arms in front ao machine, or provision for one.
It still could have promise for the home shop, it is a very well made, heavy machine that could be used as a basis for a small mill or similar machine.
To determine value, get a quote from the folks in Cincinnati.

02-12-2004, 01:47 PM
well, to keep from using expletives, i'll refer to the person running the excavator/electro-magnet as "gentleman".
so i just stopped out the scrapyard. the guys in the office said the pantograph was still in the yard this morning where it was yesterday and looked good. i drive over to the main yard, and see the pantograph on its side. to put things in perspective, imagine a football field. imagine an EMPTY football field. imagine a machine about the size of a water cooler (the pantograph) sitting in the middle of the field at the 20-yard line with nothing else around. so i pull up and a guy comes out of the workshed (i use the term work loosely). he sees the machine on its side and tells me the gentleman running the excavator knocked it over because it was in his way. so expecting the worse, i go over and look. much to my surprise, everything looks good and still moves freely. then the guy from the shed tells me the end of one arm broke off. DANG! so i look, and the pattern-tracing end has about 5" broken off. oh well, it's a clean break and really doesn't have any affect on the accuracy of tracing since it is beyond any pivot points. it looks like it will be easy to repair.
so then the gentleman running the excavator drives over to load the PG on my truck. at this point i was really wishing they had a forklift or something around, but no such luck. well before i can get over there to tell him about where to try and pick it up, he drops this multi-ton electro-magnet on it and hits the power. i hear all kinds of metal tinkling sounds, and it snaps off 2 of the bolts in the arm's pivot points. well, at least the arms didn't bend or break. so then the gentleman gets ready to put it in my truck, and what does he do, he lowers the PG almost to the ground and gives a quick on/off of the electro-magnet, just to really try and smash things i presume, and then lifts it over my truck and plops it down. if legal fees and prison time weren't so unappetizing to me i think i would've took a piece of pipe and smacked the gentleman in the head.

oh well, so now i have it. other than needing to replace the pivots and bearings, and repair the end of the one arm, it looks pretty good. i can see how the motor drove a series of small belts to run the milling head. even if i don't get that working (which i think i can), the base would definitely make a good starting point for a small mill. everything is tight on the table and ways. i'll get a pic up tonight to show off the damages.

andy b.