Monday, August 29, 2011

Making a pen using a CYOC blank (Part 4)

This is part four of the series, "Making a pen using a CYOC blank".

Once the drilled out holes have been smoothed with acetone, it's time to "reverse paint" the blanks.

Reverse painting a blank is to paint the inside of the drilled hole, as opposed to painting the tubes that go inside. Reverse painting avoids problems like glue showing and color/texture changes at glue boundaries.

In the first photo you see some red spray paint, two part epoxy glue, and nitrile gloves. I hold the blank in my hand while spray painting, and hate getting paint on my hands. The gloves are awesome.

Really could have used a helper here to actually focus the camera...
I generally apply two coats 30 minutes apart. that's enough time to make the first coat sticky. One coat would probably be OK, but you won't know if there's a problem until AFTER it is turned and polished, and the pen is ready to be assembled. That's too late to fix it easily. I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Once painted, the blanks will rest for 24 hours to allow the paint to cure. If the paint doesn't cure fully, it can come off when inserting the tube. So be patient!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Making a pen using a CYOC blank (Part 3)

This is part three of the series "Making a pen using a CYOC blank".

The way I get rid of the drilling marks, scratches, scuffs, and so on, is with acetone.

Soak a cotton swab (aka "Q-Tip") with acetone, and rub vigorously inside the drilled holes. It'll probably take several soaks to get everything smooth. You will end up with the hole being hazy white. This is OK, because the paint will saturate the haze, making it disappear.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Making a pen using a CYOC blank (Part 2)

This is part two of the series "Making a pen using a CYOC blank". 

Drilling on the lathe makes it far easier to get high precision holes than with a drill press.

Now to drill the holes for the brass tubes. I prefer drilling on the lathe because of how easy it is to get precision. Fiddling with the drill press to get a perfectly aligned table, then mounting and holding the blank, all take too much time. But with the lathe, it's "mount and go".

Because the walls can get pretty thin with the El Grande kit, going slow and pulling the bit out frequently to clear the waste from the bit and allowing everything to cool are very important.

The end result is well drilled holes, with some scratches and such from the drill bit. I'll clean those up in the next installment.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Making a pen using a CYOC blank (Part 1)

This is part one of the series "Making a pen using a CYOC blank". 

CYOC = Choose Your Own Color

A new pen blank design that allows the penmaker to choose the contrasting color when making the pen, rather than when purchasing the blank.

CYOC uses a swirl of one color and clear poly resin. Reverse painting the drilled holes permits the penmaker to choose any contrasting color he or she desires.  

Using a sled on the tablesaw makes cutting small parts like pen blanks safe and easy.

First, cut the blank to a smidge larger than the tubes. In this case, I'm cutting the blank to match the tubes for an El Grande Elite kit.

The blank is left a bit larger so it can be trimmed square to the tube later.