Compasses are used for drawing circles and arcs of circles. The cheaper class of instruments are made of brass, but they are unsatisfactory on account of the odor and the tendency to tarnish. The best material is German silver, as it does not soil the hands, has no odor, and is easy to keep clean. Aluminum instruments possess the advantage of lightness, but on account of the softness of the metal they do not wear well.

The compasses are made in the form shown in Fig. 19 and are provided with pencil and pen points. Fig. 20 shows the compass in position for drawing circles. One leg has a socket into which the shank of the pencil or pen mounting may be inserted. The other leg is fitted with a needle point which is placed at the center of the circle. In most instruments the needle point projects through a piece of round steel wire with a square shoulder at one or both ends. In some instruments the joints are held in position by lock nuts, made of thin disks of steel, with notches for using a wrench or forked key. Fig. 21 shows the detail of the joint of a high grade instrument.

Rectangle Drawn with Triangles.

Fig. 18. Rectangle Drawn with Triangles.

Compasses and Attachments.

Fig. 19. Compasses and Attachments.

Both legs are alike at the joint, and two pivoted screws are inserted in the yoke. This permits ample movement of the legs, yet gives the proper stiffness. The flat surface of one leg is faced with steel, the other with German silver, so that the rubbing parts may be of different metals. Small set screws are used to prevent the pivoted screws from turning in the yoke. The contact surfaces of this joint are made circular to exclude dirt and to prevent rusting of the steel face.

The details of the socket are shown in Fig. 22, Fig. 23, and Fig. 24; in some instruments the shank and socket are pentagonal, Fig. 22, the shank entering the socket loosely, and being held in place by means of the screw. Unless used very carefully this arrangement is not durable because the sharp corners soon wear, and the pressure on the set screw is not sufficient to hold the shank firmly in place.

In Fig. 23 is shown a round shank, the shank having a flat top, with a set screw to hold the shank in position. A still better form of socket is shown in Fig. 24 the hole being circular and tapered. The shank fits accurately into the split socket and is clamped by a screw on the side; it is held in perfect alignment by a small steel key. Both legs of the compass are jointed in order that the lower part of the legs may be perpendicular to the paper while drawing circles. In this way the needle point makes but a small hole in the paper, and both nibs of the pen will press equally on the paper. In penciling circles it is not as necessary that the pencil should be kept vertical; it is a good plan, however, to barn to use them in this way both in penciling and inking. The compasses should be held loosely between the thumb and forefinger. If the needle point is sharp, as it should be, only a slight pressure will be required to keep it in place. While drawing the circle, incline the compasses slightly in the direction of revolution and press lightly on the pencil or pen.

Compasses Set for Drawing Circles.

Fig. 20. Compasses Set for Drawing Circles.

Details of Compass Joint.

Fig. 21. Details of Compass Joint.

Pentagonal Shank and Socket.

Fig. 22. Pentagonal Shank and Socket.

Circular Shank and Socket.

Fig. 23. Circular Shank and Socket.

In removing the pencil or pen attachment from the compass it should be pulled out straight in order to avoid enlarging the socket, and thus rendering the instrument inaccurate. For drawing large circles use the lengthening bar, Fig. 19, steadying the needle point with one hand and describing the circle with the other.