Well after many, many hours (see: enough to get threats about not being at the dinner table on time!) of research, I have finally CNC'cd my mini lathe and successfully made some parts!!! Now I know how Tom Hanks felt when he 'created' fire in Castaway!
Now I would like to have a go at making some pens out of metal. Searching the WWW retuns a vast amount of info on making wood pens, but I 've not found anything for alloy, steel, brass etc.
Has anyone done this? The concept is obviously very simple, but to be able to see some finished product and get some hints and tips would be great.
I made a metal mechanical pencil for a friend a couple years ago. Attached is a pic. I made it from stainless steel. It is made from a pentel pencil with a retractable tip. This is an important point (pun intended...) as he keeps this pencil in his front pocket. He kept breaking the plastic bodied pencils in half when he sat down. This one won't break anytime soon.
It's not fancy; I made it on a manual lathe, and just made it to the original dimensions of the plastic housing. I keep hoping to make a new one for myself one of these days, and engrave it on my CNC mill.
This is sort of what I had in mind. I was thinking about buying a 'cheap' pen, performing some surgery and remove the workings and make a new 'shell' for it. Later I would like to get some of those pen kits that are all over the internet, but would like to test the concept first.
Great job on the smooth taper considering it was done by hand! Did you seal / lacquer it pencil in any way?
Thanks - It was a fun experiment. All I did was freehand it in the lathe, then file the contour, polish with sandpaper, and some buffing on a buffing wheel. That's why I prefer stainless, no painting or finishing required, and unless you loose it, you only have to make it once.
I've finished a "prototype" pocket tape measure in aluminum, now I just need a few free hours to make one in stainless.
Wow, how cool is that!! I am constantly amazed at what people are making on these machines.
I mainly make 1/8 to 1/12 scale model car parts (lathe only at this stage), yet to build a gantry style milling machine. While it is fun to make these parts, it would be nice to actually make something practical - like the pen. I have only ever made my model parts out of alloy, so any hints & tips for turning steel are welcom.
Might be wandering off topic a bit, but I always wanted to make a pen out of something like a semi precious gemstone, I'm thinking agate, as you menitoned, use an existing pen for the workings. Probably manual at first, but a cnc controlled diamond wheel/lapping setup might make a cool project.
Have you seen the pen kits that are available for woodworking? They are very affordable, and use a cross style refil. It may be easiest to start with one of these kits. I have seen many people use Corrian or other plastics.
Nice pens Chola, they look a bit like a marbalised plastic type stuff I have heard of, you can buy the blanks to suit pen making and use the kits that Neatman mentioned, I dunno if that is what they have used on those pens, looks like it. Tru stone sounds like a man made kinda thing...
As for the raw material, Agate creek in Queensland is one of the best sources of quality agate in the world, bit of a drive for most people though, but I am sure you could source some without too much trouble in Queensland.
Was a bit rushed on the last post, missed your question on how to machine the agate, basically forget using your lathe, as to "cut" gemstone material you need to use diamond "laps" with water, the slurry that is a result is really bad news for bearings, slides etc. Agate is particularly known to be "tough" to cut, even though it is quartz, which isn't high on the hardness scale.
I facet semi precious gemstones on a dedicated faceting machine, but it wouldn't really be of any use to make pens with, the length of the material to cut would need a lathe type of setup, but with some kind of diamond wheel instead of a tool, might give it a bit more thought, and to keep things relevant, I will think of how to cnc such a beast.
This is something I'd like to try, making pens. My CNC Lathe isn't yet up and running, but its on my list as one of the first projects. I've been playing around in Rhino to see what kind of design might be fun:
I like this fellow's machine made pens and other goodies: