Make a Copper Wire Pen Without a Lathe

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Introduction: Make a Copper Wire Pen Without a Lathe

About: I make all sorts of stuff. You can watch my YouTube Channel or Follow me on other Social media!

In this Instructable, I'll show you how I made this Copper wire pen. Hope you find some inspiration to make your own! Be sure to watch the Video. above that goes side by side with this article and Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for upcoming projects!

For this project, i used some Copper wire that I salvaged from my house when I remodeled it. It has an interesting look to it because of the contrast between the copper and the solder.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Tools used:

  • Gas Torch ( a soldering iron works not that well but it is doable)
  • Flat file
  • Drill
  • Wire Cutter
  • Knife
  • Clamp ( for work holding and assembly

Materials/Supplies:

  • Pen Kit with matching bushings: http://amzn.to/2zXSMGh
  • Hard copper wire
  • a long bolt to use as a mandrel
  • Lead-free solder!!!!
  • Soldering Flux
  • Spray Laquer
  • Sandpaper
  • Steel wool

Step 2: Preparing the Materials

Use a long Bolt that matches the inner diameter of the brass tube of the pen kit and is at least so long that you can put one brass tube and one bushing on each end, and you still can chuck it up in the drill you are using.

Take a knife or some special pliers and cut the isolation from the wire to expose the bare copper.

Step 3: Winding Up the Wire

Important!!

Solder one end of the copper wire to the end of the brass bushing with help of some soldering flux before you put the tube on the bolt!

Afterwards, you can you can assemble the mandrel starting from left to right as follows: Bolt-washer-pen bushing-brass tube-pen bushing-washer and a nut to secure everything on the bolt.

Switch your drill to the lowest possible setting and pull the wire away from the drill while winding it up like a spring. make sure you wind up both of the brass tubes in the same direction!

When you snuggly wound up the wire and reached the other end of the tube using some wire cutters to cut the remaining wire. Solder both ends of the tubes so that the copper wire doesn't wind itself down again because of the springiness ( if that's a word) of the wound up copper.

Step 4: Now the Difficult Part!!

Use a torch instead of a soldering iron you probably can't get your soldering iron to heat up this huge heat sink. I've tried to fill the spaces between the wire without turning it but doesn't work.

Pre-heat the wire and the brass tube with a torch and use the soldering flux to help the process. Add the solder to the wire and slowly turn the tubes in the drill.

After you filled all the gaps with enough solder clean up the solder flux and look for small holes that you need to fill.

You can use a flat metal piece or a Flathead screwdriver to even out the solder on the tube while it is still hot. So you have an easier time filing away the unwanted solder.

Step 5: Shaping the Pen

After the mess that I call the pen blank cools down you can take it from the bolt and clean and square up the ends with a file or a flush trim bit. to ensure a nice transition to the metal parts of the pen kit.

Assemble the tube again on the bolt in the same order as you have in step 2.

Now you can use the high-speed setting on the drill to turn the pen while holding a file against it you can shape both of the soft metals.

After you achieved the wanted shape you can refine the surface by using some sandpaper from p80 grit all the way up to even a p1000. And finish up with some steel wool to achieve a mirror-like finish.

Step 6: Protective Finish and Assembly

Use some Spray lacquer to prevent the solder and copper from oxidizing. Use at least 2 coats of finish with a light sanding in between before you assemble the pen.

Use a Clamp or a Vise to assemble the pen as the instructions say that comes with the pen kit.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Uniqe Pen

I hope you enjoyed this article and found some inspiration to make
your own and if you want to see more great projects you can subscribe my YouTube Channel too!

If you liked this project please Vote for it! Thank you very much! Please make sure you watched the video build to get a better understanding the entire process, and it also helps me out to make more of these projects!

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Second Prize in the
Metal Contest 2017

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    28 Comments

    Beautiful !!!

    Awesome! yes I've been a little late on this one.

    Great work, but one small suggestion.

    Wire tends to keep some residue from the insulation and the oxide layer when stripped. That's why the solder tended to glop up.

    Lightly sand and clean the wire first before wrapping it and the solder will wet better and go on smoother.

    1 reply

    Oh... I totally forgot about this since the copper was already a bit older. now it makes perfect sence to me. Thank you!

    Thank you very much!

    Ollaris, I'm am going to make this but instead Lead Free Solder that came out looking Grey, I'm going to try Silver Solder. I have a LARGE amount of it & would l would like to see if it will be Copper & Silver.

    1 reply

    Awesome please share it here how it came out!

    Excellent work! I make quite a few custom pens on the lathe and hadn't thought of something like this.
    For anyone interested the basic 7mm slimline pen kits can be bought for not much more than a dollar or two, but it's just more costly on the linked item because it's a handy kit with other bits to make it easier.

    Love the finish on this anyway, although I'd be a little curious about how long/how well a lacquer would stay attached proper to a smooth metal finish as maybe it's not so easy for it to get a good 'key' on the surface?
    Well done anyway!

    1 reply

    Thank you very much! Yes, you can buy much cheaper pen kits. I really don't know how well it holds up. I gave it to a friend right after I made it.

    Lovely piece of work.

    Some extra flux would have made the soldering easier!

    1 reply

    I used some extra super hyper flux. Thank you very much! :)

    Really nice looking but I don't love anyone enough to spend $30 on a pen kit then go to all that work and just give it away.

    1 reply

    HAHA! don't give it away, keep it. or if you want to give it away buy a 5$ pen kit.

    Very nice project, I love copper, it is a beautiful metal.

    And commenters bashing on the solder, number 1 it is lacquered so incapsulated, and number 2, material list does say use: Lead-free solder... jez!

    2 replies

    I wouldn't trust enameled lead solder, but that's a non-issue since they (according to the materials list) use lead-free solder. Which appears to be the case since they were having trouble soldering, and lead-free is a lot more difficult.

    Thank you. yes it's lead free.

    So the brass tube gets soldered to the wire, correct? (So the inside is brass)

    1 reply

    Yes correct.