I bought this lathe on black friday from Rockler two years ago. I was super excited about it and got it all set up but then I kept getting busy and I was a little nervous about learning a new tool so I put off using the lathe for a long time. A couple weeks ago I finally decided it was time to learn how to use it and I made a pen for my mom. I am now obsessed with wood turning and decided to make my self a mini 30 caliber bolt action pen. I decided to use acrylic for this pen since my favorite color is blue. Turning an acrylic pen is very easy and quick to get a nice finish. This pen took me a total of 30 mins to make.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Step 2: Preparing Your Blank
The piece of acrylic i had for this project was too small to safely cut it on the miter saw. So i used hot glue and glued it to a longer board. The blank popped off once i had cut but if yours doesnt just melt the glue with some heat and it should come off easily.
Next I used a 3/8" drill bit to drill a hole for the brass tube to go into. Now this size hole is specific to the type of pen kit I was using which was a mini 30 caliber bolt action pen. Whichever kit you use will determine the size hole you need to drill.
I used 80 grit sand paper to scuff up the edges of the tupe so the glue will adhere to it. Then I put in the blank. Once it had dried I used a barrel trimmer to flush up the blank to the tube so the bushings would sit flush.
Acrylic is known for it chipping out so I took the blank to the belt sander and rounded off the edges to try to minimize the blow out.
Step 3: Turning the Blank
I used the appropriate size bushings to keep my blank in place on the mandrel. I made sure the speed on my mini lathe was set to the highest so that there would be minimal vibrations while turning. I used rocklers carbide pen turning tools for this project. They are super easy to use and you dont have to sharpen them which make them great for a beginner like me.
Once I had the blank turned flush with the bearing I wet sanded the piece with micro mesh pads going from 1500-12000. Once that was done I put on a couple coats of plastic polish and buffed it out.
Step 4: Assemble the Pen
I used a pen press to make this easier but you could always use a clamp. This kit was super easy to use and all i had to do was push the tip in one side and the bottom in the other. Once that was done I unscrewed the tip and inserted the ink cartridge and spring and it was done.
Step 5: Enjoy Your New Pen
I think this pen came out great and Im glad I finally decided to use my lathe. Let me know in the comments of you have any questions