I was recently asked to recreate a slightly burnt horse bench. Simply removing the pieces and creating new ones would be easy but I wanted to be able to have a template for others to download and use as well. To do this I used Matthias Wandel’s BigPrint program. He designed it to be able to print large, multiple page 1:1 drawings accurately on an ordinary inkjet printer.
To begin I took a picture of the items I wanted to reproduce next to a long ruler. This will give a scale to go by when the image is opened up in BigPrint.
Because the bench is symmetrical I only needed to get one side. From here you can open the image in big print but I wanted to add an extra step to save some ink. Using GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program…aka free Photoshop) I removed most of the interior spaces. I also cropped the image a little closer to remove unnecessary pieces.
Once the image is opened in BigPrint you can set your scale accordingly. Having a large ruler in the picture makes this process easy. The program also has a few ink saving settings which really do a good job. Unfortunately for me I had a few places of low contrast that made the default ink saver settings useless. Luckily there is a custom menu to tweak some settings with. When printing the program also allows for some overlap on your pages. This is helpful to eliminate the white areas on the perimeter of the page. With everything the way I wanted it I was able to print a full size template on six 8-1/2″ x 11″ pieces of paper.
To align the papers there are a few overlapping grid settings you can choose from. I used the diagonal grid. With all six of my pages printed I cut off the white edges and taped the pieces together according to the alignment grid. From here I had to cut the paper into multiple smaller templates for each piece. After gluing them to scrap pieces of 1/4″ plywood I was able to cut them out on my bandsaw.
In a few hours time I had reproduced full size templates without ever removing the original pieces of wood. This is a testament of the technological age we live in.