I've been meaning to make this instructable for a while. While my camera work has improved much since then including not putting my arm in front of it since I made it, this is still one of my favorite pens, I almost hate that I gave it away as a gift.
In this I'll go over how I turn a pen from start to finish.
- Drill (drill press)
- Turning chisels
- Pen Press (A clamp can also work if you don't have one)
- Bandsaw (any saw should work)
- Drill bits - 10 mm and 8 mm
- Barrel Trimmer
- Pen Blank
- Sandpaper / Micromesh
- CA Glue
Step 1: Mark and Cut Your Blank
Your pen kit will come with brass tubes, you will want to place them onto your blank and mark a cut line* with a straight edge.
*Note: A little extra length is fine, because it will be trimmed in a future step. You can't add more if it's cut too short but can always trim some off.
I used a bandsaw to cut along the lines but any saw should work, ensure that you account for the kerf of your blade.
Once you make the cut take a permanent marker and mark the directions of your blanks, so you can mount them on the lathe with the right alignment.
Step 2: Glue and Trim
The first part of this step is to drill out to the correct size. For this Princess kit you'll want to use a 10 mm and 8 mm drill bit. I prefer to drill right on the the lathe, but a drill press or even a hand drill with a steady grip can get this done.
Before inserting the brass tubes you'll want to scuff them up with some sandpaper to give the glue something to hold onto.
I used a thick CA glue, but epoxy can also be used. Be sure that you let the glue fully cure before continuing.
You can apply a CA activator to help speed up the process.
Once the glue has fully cured you will want to use a barrel trimmer to square up the blank so it will meet the bushings smoothly. You want it to where you can clearly see the tube on the edge of the blank.
If you don't have a barrel trimmer you can use a sander to achieve the same results.
Step 3: Mount and Shape
Now you can mount the blank on the lathe.
Ensure that you line it up using the marks you placed on there after cutting. This will ensure that your "grain" matches make the pen more ascetically pleasing.
Once it's mounted you can turn to your desired profile. For acrylic blanks you'll want your lathe on it's highest speed setting.
Step 4: Final Sanding and Buffing
If you have sharp tools and a light touch you should be able to go directly to micromesh with acrylics.
If there are some light tool marks you can grab some 600 grit sandpaper and wet sand it before moving to the micromesh.
Between each grit I like to turn the lathe off and reverse sand it to help remove any marks.
Once you've made your way through the grits apply some plastic polish to help bring up the shine and buff off with a soft paper towel.
Step 5: Final Inspection and Assembly
After the polishing is done I'll do a close inspection while still on the lathe to ensure there are no imperfections before assembly.
With each pen kit comes instructions for assembly. This kit is fairly simple just assembling the upper barrel first, then moving to the lower, and this kit's mechanism is actually threaded to make things easier.
I used a pen press to press all the parts together, but you can easily use a clamp to get the same results.
Step 6: Completed Pen
Your pen should be done now! If you have any questions or comments on my methods please feel free to reach out!
Social Media Links:
Participated in the
Homemade Gifts Contest 2017