I've seen a few Instructables as well as videos from all over the internet on how to turn wooden pens, but not very many on turning acrylic. Since acrylic is very different than wood to turn, it took me a while to come up with a good method. However now, after some experimenting, I've come up with a good and reliable method for turning this difficult material. You can find acrylic blanks like the one I used here. The hardware used was the Round Top European style. If you are in the US then woodcraft would probably have these supplies. Whatever blank or hardware you use, you'll surely have a unique pen. As well, I've also made a series of videos to go along with each step since it's import to see the cutting techniques in action. The best part is that the cutting techniques used can be applied to wooden pens to achieve an incredibly smooth finish before sanding.

Step 1: Marking and Cutting the Blank

The picture shows a blank marked out to accept the brass tubes for the Round Top European hardware. Leave a little extra material on each blank segment, it doesn't have to be flush with the tube at this point. Once that's done, it's time to cut the blanks. I find that the best tool for this is a band-saw because of it's thin kerf (blade width). 
before putting glue on the tubing take a slice of potato at put in tube ends or wax works to it keeps glue from getting in
I always love seeing how things like this are made, great!
Glad you like it.
I've made 100's of these pens. People love to get them as gifts. A tip for your marking and cutting... Before you cut your blank draw an elongated triangle on one of the sides. When you chuck it up you just line up the split triangle drawing. This ensures your top and bottom are correct as well as keeping the pattern in the material lined up and not having one end flipped around.
Thanks for your tip. Usually the end cut with the band-saw will be a little more rough then the factory cut edge, so it's easy to understand which end is which. If the blank has enough figure to it (usually it does) it helps me to line the grain (or figure, if acrylic) up for continuous flow through-out the barrels. However, I have to re-align the figure once the barrels come off the mandrel and I'm assembling the pen. Also, for the Round-Top European, a tennon is turned in for the top barrel's center-ring and you usually can't notice that time has been taken to align the figure.

About This Instructable




Bio: I love wood working, metal working, science and technology. The areas of woodworking I'm most interested in are turning, furniture making and other small ... More »
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