Introduction: Honeycomb Epoxy Pen
For this project I wanted to make something a little different but still very doable for the novice woodworker or wood turner. I choose another pen project with some notable differences. First off I started with a different style pen kit not just the standard slimline kit. This kit is a vertex kit from Rockler Woodworking and you need some different tools and accessories for this style kit. More on that later on. If you would like more details or would like to see any of the other projects I have been working on head over to my website. There you can also buy a spot in the raffle where I will be giving away a Custom Pool Cue, A Custom Vertex Pen, and a Custom Slimline Pen. Here is the link if you would like to try to win, https://jpaynewoodworking.com/product/raffle-win-a-custom-pool-cue/ . There are only 250 spots so do not miss out. So lets dive into it.
Step 1: Cutting the Honeycomb
The first thing I did was to cut the aluminum honeycomb to fit into the silicon mold I was using to cast the pen blanks. Using the band saw made quick work of the aluminum honeycomb even with the wood blade that was on it. The honeycomb is a soft metal and cuts easily. I cut the honeycomb out to where it would fit perfectly into the mold without pressing into the edges of the mold. I normally would give measurements for this but these will differ depending on what mold you are using.
Step 2: Preparing the Mold
I am using a silicon mold to cast the pen blanks. This mold works well and this particular mold does not require the use of any mold release witch makes this much simpler. I wanted a mix of epoxy and honeycomb with some walnut for this pen and as it would be one longer barrel for the pen I knew it would look great. I started by inserting the walnut into the mold. Then the aluminum honeycomb. Remember when inserting things into the mold for pens the barrel will run through the center of the blank as well as you will be removing a good bit of material. If you are wanting specific section to show make sure to keep this in mind when laying out the materials in your mold.
Step 3: Epoxy Time
For this pen I wanted a multiple color pour. While some of the colors are very subtle in the finished pen they all still add to the over all look of the pen. I went with KP Pigmets Sakhir Red, Obsidian Black OEM+, and Prometheus Purple pearl. I thought these colors would look great together and I also added a small amount of Carbon Silver to the Pearl. I mixed up some Total Boat Epoxy using there pump system it make the ratios easy to get just right for this smaller pour. I also mixed each color in to its own cut to mix as I did not want the colors to blend to much. Completely mix each color before pouring you do not want issues with the curing of the epoxy for a single color. After mixing all of the colors pour in any pattern you would like. Remember you will be turning the blank to a cylindrical shape so as you fill the mold the patters in the outer edge of the blank will not be what is seen on the pen. After filling the mold put the mold into a pressure tank to remove the bubbles that might arise and let the epoxy completely harden.
Step 4: Remove the Blank From the Mold and Cut to Size
After the epoxy if completely hardened it can be removed from the silicon mold. Like previously stated this mold does not require the use of mold release and the blank comes out of the silicon mold cleanly and easily. Just push up on the blank from the bottom of the mold and the blank will come right out as the mold is turned inside out. Then simply push the mold back to its original shape. Once the blank is removed from the silicon mold use the pen barrel that came with the pen kit and measure the length of barrel. Cut the blank slightly longer than this length. Make sure to trim one end of the blank first so it is square. With the blank cut to length lay the barrel along one edge to ensure that the blank is slightly longer than the pen barrel.
Step 5: Install and Trim Barrel
To install the barrel of the pen into the blank first you need to bore the hole that the barrel will be inserted into. For this pen kit it used a 10.5 mm drill bit. Using the pen jaws on the lathe chuck . Insert the blank into the jaws and insert the drill bit into the drill chuck in the tail stock. With the lathe on a medium speed drill the hole all the way through the blank from end to end. With the hole drilled scuff the pen barrel with a heavy grit sandpaper and then apply a small bead of glue to the barrel. While inserting the barrel into the hole in the blank twist the blank to help spread an even coat of the glue around the inside of the hole around the barrel. Let the glue completely dry and then use the barrel trimmer tool to trim the barrel flat and this step also removes any excess glue that may have crept into the end of the barrel.
Step 6: Turn the Barrel to Shape
Insert the pen barrel with the blank onto the pen mandrel and begin to turn the blank to the desired shape. This shape is completely up to you and how you would like the pen to look when finished. One thing to keep in mind Is you will need the proper bushings for the style pen kit you are using. The bushings not only hold the pen blank in place while turning but also are the guides you need to get the correct sizing to the ends of the blank for the specific kit you are using. As with all turning projects take your time and do not cut to much in one pass as you can always remove more material but you cannot put any back on once it is removed.
Step 7: Sand the Barrel
Once you have the barrel to the desired shape start sanding the blank using 80 or 120 grit sand paper. Sand with the lathe set to a slower speed and always keep the sandpaper moving to keep from causing deep scratches to the blank. Progressively work you way up to around 400 grit. Once at 400 grit start applying a small amount of water to the blank to help clean out the paper as you sand and achieve a cleaner cut. Continue this process progressively to 1000 grit. Do not use to much water you want to feel the paper cutting but not binding.
Step 8: Finish , Wet Sand , Buffing
Using some Starbond Adhesives Thin CA Glue apply the finish to the pen blank. To do this turn the speed of the lathe down to a slow speed and use a shop rag with a small amount of the CA applied to it. Slowly apply the CA to the pen blank as the lathe spins down the length of the blank. Allow the blank to dry or spay a small amount of accelerator onto the blank to instantly harden the glue. Repeat the is process as many times as you would like but I have found that between 3 and 6 coats is all that is need for a great finish. I usually apply 5 coats the the pen. After letting the final coat fully harden start the wet sanding process again using 1500 grit Micro Mesh and work your way up progressively to 12,000 grit. Now apply a light coat of EEE- Ultra shine wax polish with a shop cloth and with the lathe at a med to high speed apply a light amount of pressure polishing the CA glue Finish. The final step to finish the blank is to use the 3 wheel buffing system and buff the blank to a high shine. Start with the course pad and then the medium then the finishing pad making sure to use the proper compound with each pad. Make sure to use a medium speed on the lathe and to hold the blank firmly as if it comes out of your hand it will likely be damaged. Wipe the blank with a dry cloth or rag once finished with the buffing process to remove any excess residue.
Step 9: Pen Assembly
For this process it is completely different as far as the sequence that you press in the parts of the pen. For this pen kit you start with the threaded collar for the tip, then the end collar that holds the clicking mechanism then the cartage and spring then the pen tip and finally the button that clicks the tip into place. I know that is a some what simplified explanation for this kit but there are so many kits out there that you need to follow the instructions that comes with the kit you are using. If by chance you are using the same vertex kit I am here feel free to take a look at the article here: https://jpaynewoodworking.com/2019/03/28/making-a-epoxy-aluminium-honeycomb-pen/ for a more detailed explanation on using this particular kit.
Step 10: Write Something Cool
Now your pen is finished in all of its honeycomb epoxy glory. You are ready to go write something cool. Like a novel or a poem or an article saying how much you love this instructable LOL . I how you like this write up and I hope it inspires you to get out and make something cool and don't be afraid to experiment.
If you are interested in purchasing one of these pens leave a comment and I will get get you set up. They will be up on the website soon working on the post for them.
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PS. I you would like a chance to win either a Custom Pool Cue, A Custom Vertex Pen or a Custom Slimline Pen head over to this link: https://jpaynewoodworking.com/product/raffle-win-a-custom-pool-cue/ there are only 250 spots available for this raffle and chances are only $15 each. That an amazing value the cue alone is worth over $450 dollars. Purchase as many chances as you would like. This support help me to keep making cool projects to share with you guys and to help me keep sharing what I learn along the way. Thank you and Good Luck to all that enter. Like always I will see you on the next one.
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