Pen making update Y2 Wk23: What a week

* Pen Making

As the title says, what a week. Mentally I am in a very bad place and at the moment all I want to do is give up. My non pen making stuff is not going well but you don’t want to hear about that, this is just sort of a warning if there is a slightly dower tone to this update.

The week started up with a colossal cockup on my part. I had the autofeed on the lathe turned on and stupidly I took my eyes off of it. Well you can tell what happened, the tool post smacked straight into the spinning chuck causing a massive crashing sound and the cross slide to jam against the main body of the lathe. [Here]( is the lathe while I was attempting to fix it. The cover to the gear box is off exposing the internal gears, the tool post mounting has been removed as I have tried to unjam it. I ended up having to undo the lead screw from the machine so that the mounding could move up and down once more. I Phoned Warco where I bought the lathe from and they helped me diagnose what the damage was. There is a small sacrificial pin in the lead screw which is designed to snap if something like that happens. Well they sent me some replacements and when I got them I found they were too big for the hole. Ended up having to use the lathe to make the pins thin enough for the hole, and [it worked]( the machine was back up and running.

I decided that I had better start practising on the chunkier design options as I had a client order coming up for a chunky pen. I needed to work on getting the threading on the Zeus models so it is easier to do and repeat. So I made a [few]( the ends are made using a single cut with a good old fashioned hack saw, this does initially look a bit [ugly]( though. That is where the sanding and polishing comes in.

I do all my sanding and polishing on the lathe. Here is the setup for the [sanding]( the little plastic cups have individual grits of sandpaper and the standard has the water. The blue tissue is to reduce the amount of water which gets splashed around. The big hanging up at the back is to catch anything which gets snatched away. Once the sanding is done it’s on to the polishing where I attach the wheel to the lathe and use that to polish on as you can be seen [here](

So once the pens were done and polished up this is what they ended up like:

Red Mars using a Kirinite acrylic with [cap on]( and [cap off](

A teal and red Zeus using an in house resin with [cap on]( and [cap off](

An oil slick of colours make this Zeus using another in house resin with [cap on]( and [cap off](

Finally the glow in the dark blue in house resin Zeus with [cap on]( and [cap off](

I did manage a few more but they weren’t finished. I tend to make more stock pens than client commissions as I still am working on the designs to make the processes more efficient. I am still learning these things and sharing what I am doing each week is part of that process it helps me reflect and try to think of ways to improve. Whenever I get an order and it is things I haven’t done before I like to make pens similar to the order so I can work my way through any hurdles which may occur before I make the final pen. If I manage to make pens that are good enough to sell, great, if not then I try to work out what went wrong and how to get over the issue. Any rejects that crop up end up in the house collection of communual pens. For example, I noticed that one of the pens I was making the other day the blank had bubbles in it. These ended up in the finished pen, that will not be put up for sale and will end up being used by either my wife or I.

As usual feel free to give feedback or suggestions in the comments. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones and stay safe.

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