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Lathe pen - new (for me) retracting design


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So after making a few brass pens I decided yesterday to try something new. I've made 5 or 6 of the old design - similar to the one I gave away in the forum raffle recently. These had no moving parts with the pen nib protected by a removable cap. The cap was held in place by friction against some rubber "O" rings. I wasn't too happy with this though & the last "fixed" pen I made has a screw on cap which works well.

Yesterday - after working for the last 2 days on the garden - I gave myself the day off & decided to have a bash at making a bolt action retracting pen. It took most of the day but I'm happy(ish) with the result. There are a couple of areas I'd change. I'd like to make the nib end slimmer & pointier, I've made the bolt action channel too long & I've yet to work out how to fit a pocket clip. As a first attempt/prototype though I don't think it's too bad.

Quite a few processes at work here - lots of measuring & a bit of milling/filing required for the bolt action channel. It was good to get the grey matter working after the relative mundanity of screwing lengths of timber together & moving many kilos of soil! The garden does look nice though :thumbs_up:

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Edited by pauluspaolo
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the likes chaps - much appreciated :thumbsup:

Anyway I've updated the pen & it now looks like this - I've narrowed the nib end & have managed to find a pocket clip (off a small torch) with fits. I've machined a groove into the end of the pen which holds it in place.

One of the photos shows it next to the screw cap pen I mentioned above :thumbs_up:

 

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3 minutes ago, pauluspaolo said:

Anyway I've updated the pen & it now looks like this - I've narrowed the nib end & have managed to find a pocket clip (off a small torch) with fits. I've machined a groove into the end of the pen which holds it in place.

The pen looks great. I wish I had your skills and patience.clap2.gif.97ffefe335319e45faf554f8842842e1.gifnotworthy.gif.96ad59e8c60f6b66839f299e0a66d865.gif 

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40 minutes ago, Welsh Wizard said:

The pen looks great. I wish I had your skills and patience.clap2.gif.97ffefe335319e45faf554f8842842e1.gifnotworthy.gif.96ad59e8c60f6b66839f299e0a66d865.gif 

Thank you. The way I try & do things is to make a prototype I'm happy with (or at least reasonably happy with) & then try to make the next one match it as closely as I can. Having said that none of the pens I've made so far  are the same as each other, they look similar to each other but there are always some variations/differences. 

Also I don't have a milling machine as such so the slot (used to extract/retract the pen nib) are hard to make accurately, though I haven't had to scrap anything & start from scratch yet. I enjoy making them, overcoming all the various problems that crop up & improving my technique. It's safe to say that I don't think I'm ever going to go into mass production!

Thanks again :clap: 

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On 13/09/2021 at 13:57, pauluspaolo said:

though I haven't had to scrap anything & start from scratch yet

That is a problem these days with the cost of raw materials, be it metal, wood or whatever. You just can't afford to keep scrapping stuff. I use recycled timber for nearly all of my projects but even so it's still valuable to me.

But then again half the stuff I'm given to recycle is too good to break, such as a nice oak (veneered)  6ft x 4ft dining table.

By way of comparison, I have a simple 3m x 3m pergola in the garden and was looking to convert it into a summer house. The cost of material was on a par with buying a complete job from Wickes.

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32 minutes ago, eezy said:

That is a problem these days with the cost of raw materials, be it metal, wood or whatever. You just can't afford to keep scrapping stuff. I use recycled timber for nearly all of my projects but even so it's still valuable to me.

But then again half the stuff I'm given to recycle is too good to break, such as a nice oak (veneered)  6ft x 4ft dining table.

By way of comparison, I have a simple 3m x 3m pergola in the garden and was looking to convert it into a summer house. The cost of material was on a par with buying a complete job from Wickes.

Yep all raw materials - in fact everything really - have gone up in price & are becoming increasingly hard to find. The IT department at work are struggling to find new computer stock, petrol's gone through the roof, we've fairly recently had our boiler replaced & the plumber struggled to find the boiler we wanted & copper pipe has doubled in price.

Don't know if it's because of covid, brexit & the Suez being blocked, all three, a combination of them, something else entirely or just everyone hiking their prices up to rip us off. Making sure I don't make mistakes or waste anything is even more important now!

I bought some brass bar recently - the stuff I use to make the pens - & that's gone up in price by a third, & that's using the same ebay supplier I'd used before :( Even aluminium which used to be cheap/reasonably priced has gone up considerably in price :( :taz:

Edited by pauluspaolo
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  • 2 weeks later...

Made another pen yesterday which I gave to my 92 year old Dad today. I was going to polish it & put some grooves in it like the pen above but he liked the smooth design so I've left it as is. I've improved things a bit (taking into account his ageing hands) by making the tip removable so making it easier to change the refill. On the other pen you have to remove the allen headed bolt to get at the refill :thumbs_up:

The pen took about 5 or 6 hours to make from a bit of12mm brass bar to finished pen. This included much faffing about with the threads on the  removable tip & using a different set up to machine the groove/slot that's used to open/close the pen. So once those bits are sorted there's room to shave more time off :thumbsup:

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Edited by pauluspaolo
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