Fountain Pen Making update 3

So, today I achieved some things and I ruined some things. I managed to put a thread in a hole and it worked, I could screw the section to the blank. (see the picture, see I told you! I wasn’t lying). Thing that irritated me somewhat however was that I bought the feed, nib unit and converter all from the same place that I got the tap and I used the advised size drill bit. However a problem occurred as the converter didn’t fit in the hole. Was I doing something wrong? No idea, I am going back to where I bought it for some advice, I am probably doing something wrong so its not too much of a set back.

What else did I achieve? This is the bit I am proud of. I have been told over and over that the acrylic blanks I have bought and working on are very brittle and I should start on something easier. However I figured I already bought them so I might as well use them to practice things on and have 0 expectations of getting a pen out of it. Well I managed to turn a square blank into a cylinder! I see this as a pretty major achievement as I have never managed to do something like that and I am not familiar with the lathe at all (only just figured out how to adjust the speed of the thing). I have also put a picture of this, yes this cylinder is rough but damnit it’s my first go.

What did I cock up? Well after threading the multi coloured blank I tried putting a bar of metal through it and fixing it so that it didn’t move as I had seen done on wood lathes, I mean I had intended to use it as some sort of weird open ended pen if it worked. Alas it was not meant to be. No sooner had I started to turn it than it exploded into a million pieces… oops. I did not attach a photo of this as well… I couldn’t find a majority of the bits.

So, what have I learned? Well a lot of things really. I have learned that yes the material is brittle as anything but I can overcome this drawback. I have learned that the home made collett I used to attach the square blank to the 3 jaw chuck worked a charm. I have learned that when turning a square into a round start nearest the chuck and work your way down the shaft to the end where the live centre is. I have learned to put the lathe on slow for drilling and fast for turning, and worked out how to achieve this on the lathe I have. I have learned that once you have rounded one half you turn it round push it through the tail stock and then round the other half making sure to leave a bit of already rounded section out so you can size it correctly. I have learned some patience and on top of that I have found out the ‘chug chug chug’ of the corners of the square blank hitting the tool as it turns is surprisingly relaxing.

Well, where do I go from here? Well next week I am going to try turn the blank down to the right size, drill a hole in it for the section and converter and it the bits arrive thread the barrel ready for the cap. Wish me luck. Will keep you updated.

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