I made a Whopperplate.
Out of cardboard, tape, glue, and two pencils.
A whopperplate is a tool used to teach pointed-pen techniques on the blackboard. Instead of the two pencils shown, you would attach chalk. Instead of using a projector or having the students gather around your table to watch, you would draw on the blackboard. The more pressure you apply to the whopperplate’s tips, the farther apart the tips move, simulating the effect of a pointed pen nib on a much larger scale.
I read a post in https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Ornamental_Penmanship/info (Sept. 25, 2015, 2:37pm) that a calligrapher was looking for one. I looked at a picture of a real whopperplate and thought it would make a nice project. I made in about a half hour.
The results with my tool: shaky at best.
That’s because the cardboard wasn’t stiff enough to hold the points firmly in place, so it wobbled. But the design theory is sound. No doubt about it; it needs to be sheet metal, and I know several places that carry it. Maybe I’ll try that next when I have time.
This version is composed of four pieces of cardboard. Two 11″ long pieces, then a smaller piece that is folded into a triangle and tucked in to hold the long pieces at right angles to each other, and a piece (can’t be seen in these photos) that allow the flat part spanning the two long pieces to stay in one place. Then tape around the piece to hold it securely.
The underside of the tool:
The tool in use, points together:
The tool in use, pressure applied, forcing the points apart:
I’ll have to bring it to a teacher’s class to try it out with chalk! It might work with a steady hand, but sheet metal will be better.
UPDATE: It doesn’t work with chalk, You have to hold the stick of chalk and press with a firm hand to make a mark. The cardboard is too light of a touch, flexing too easily to make a mark. That’s why the Whopperplates out there are made of metal. I probably couldn’t use markers in my version either; if you hold it up with heavy markers sticking out, gravity would cause them to sag apart. I don’t think it would work with brush pens either, because the points would squish before the tines separated. This project is a dead end. I have no tools for metal-working.