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Old 03-09-2018, 12:33 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Join Date: Feb 2011
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Default Pre-Turning Photos

These photos are of different blanks made during the design/experiment stage when I was "playing with" the angle between Thuya rod inserts and the axis of the main Maple blank, as well as optimizing the depth of the milled square grooves.

The final blank chosen for the Entry was close to the Bottom blank in pic1, which is the same as the Top blank in pic 2.

Milling of grooves was done on a Sieg Mini-Mill similar to what HF and Grizzly sell. The main Maple blank was securely clamped between two same-size blanks in a milling vise that could be rotated fairly accurately after clamping to the mill table. Lengthwise cranked moving of the mill table allowed the long cuts for those not familiar with mill operation. Mill cutter was 1/4" end mill . Hope you get the idea. . In my case, the relevant angle setting of the mill vise was 5.5* between the Maple blank center line and the direction of motion of the mill table.

It is of the utmost importance to start with a "perfectly" square Maple blank ( ~0.9" each side) because it needs to be unclamped, rotated, realigned, and reclamped before each of the four groove cuts. Also extremely important to have the Maple blank ends accurately squared, center-marked and center-drilled before the milling is done. Each milled groove was done in a single pass. After milling, the Maple "skeleton" is extremely fragile and the Thuya rods have to be carefully inserted and glued to get back to a strong blank for turning. . You have to calculate (which is not hard) the allowable depth of the milling so that the grooves do not break through to each other where they cross in the middle. . This can also be done by trial and error, but it will brush up your trigonometry and algebra to do the calculations and force yourself to believe them ! . In my case, the material clearance between grooves where they cross in the middle is about 0.030".

Some tweaking of the insert thicknesses may be necessary after milling the grooves and cutting the inserts on a mini table saw (Byrnes). For this purpose, I slide the inserts along a superior quality mill bastard file with milled cuts on it ($50 item). It is hard to adjust the grooves without distorting their inside surfaces and shape, so tweaking the inserts is the best way to get a good fit.

Suggestions, questions and comments kindly accepted. . I am quite sure that there are variations on this technique that would produce some interesting results. . Please feel free to offer YOUR ideas that MINE have sparked. I might be able to try them out fairly quickly and give you some feedback with counter suggestions and pictures.

How about doing this with some chevrons from Mark ? ... my next, major, project (I have hundreds of minor ones needed to be done first !! ... many of these relate to learning and experimenting with Mark's chevron techniques !!). . Another "easy" one is replacing the Thuya rods with stiped laminations of veneers of various colors and thickness.

Of course, you can play around with the shape and contours of the hardware pieces, also. What I have shown is pretty basic and straightforward. . It might be worth noting that the push-button shaft was machined from a larger diameter brass rod to get the sizing as large as I could to match the minimum diameter holes for inserting the click mechanism ... minimizing the "slop". . This shaft end is threaded to fit into a tapped hole in the "squarish", cone-surfaced actual pushbutton. Conical shaping of pushbutton was done after the tapping.

Has anyone tried to make a click mechanism from scratch ?

Pic 1



Pic 2

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Old 03-09-2018, 04:21 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Wow!!!!!!!! What skill you have.

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Old 03-09-2018, 04:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Great work, Mal! I love seeing the process. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:47 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Very nice work, great choice of woods as well.
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Old 03-09-2018, 07:52 PM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Thank you George, Dan, Derek, Ankur, and mb757 !!
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Old 03-10-2018, 03:54 PM   #16 (permalink)
 
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It's a beauty, Mal!
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:07 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Great looking pen Mal. I was trying to figure out how you made the blank for several minutes before scrolling down. Thanks for sharing your technique, although I went from thinking I *might* be able to do it to being absolutely certain I don’t stand a chance!
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Old 03-10-2018, 08:37 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Thanks, Bob and Jay.

Jay ... of course you can do it if you want to. A milling machine sure helped me get there but I think there are other techniques that would work. Maybe even a router properly set up, but I think that would pose more risks to life and limb.

I bought the metal lathe and mini mill about 10 years ago not know what I would do with them, but also knowing I wanted to do SOMETHING with them. I had learned to use a metal lathe many years earlier, loved using it, and wanted to do more. Finally, after a couple years I discovered a few Berea pen kits at my local Lee Valley store ... they have retail stores in Canada ... (but not in the US if I am correct, just online).
I don't need to tell you what happened after that. But the mill ? I didn't really have much of a use for it except the occasional sizing of towel rails and stuff like that. But now that I have developed this technique I will be using it a lot.
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Old 03-10-2018, 09:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Very nice work Mal. Love the design.
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:01 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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I have a router but I agree, it seems a bit dangerous especially on something that small and intricate. I’ll be happy to keep all my fingers and just ogle over yours for now.
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