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Small Strokes


This is the world's first 100% 3D printed-in-place compass. The design offers major improvements over a standard compass: it traces a full circle without slipping, shows the angle and radius as it rotates, can be retrieved from a backpack without jabbing, and is friendly to kid-size hands.


Notable Features


Print In Place Ball Bearings

Ball bearings allow the center unit to rotate freely, much like a fidget spinner. This makes it easy to trace a smooth circle without contorting your wrist. In fact, flicking the pencil gripper is often enough to get a full rotation.

Compliant Gripper

This gripper can clamp writing implements as slim as golf pencils and as hefty as permanent markers. While unloaded, it can slide anywhere from 3 to 15 cm.

The fins on either side of the gripper facilitate both sliding and distance measurement.


Know Your Place

Unlike standard compasses that show neither radius nor angle, this compass does it all. The handy center dial shows how far a circle has been traced in both degrees and radians. The pointers on either side of the gripper indicate radius in both imperial and metric.

These features make geometry learning easier and more intuitive.

Design Thinking

User research enabled this design to overcome many of the drawbacks of a standard compass. To name a few:

○  The pencil gripper applies even pressure throughout a

     rotation, and its position can be changed with a pinch

○  The gripper can handle crayons, markers, and more

○  No dexterity required to pivot the pencil across 360 degrees

○  The center hole allows you to center a circle about a point



Students: learn geometry more easily

Engineers: draft more quickly

Artists: draw smudge- and pinhole-free circles


Questions about the build? Licensing inquiries? Suggestions for improvement?

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