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Old 12-09-2009, 08:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Blank Splitting...what am I doing wrong?

I'm very new to pen turning. I've started three Designer pens. I get to the step where I'm required to square the faces of the blanks and brass tubes using a new 7mm barrel trimmer with a carbide blade. I use a drill press at 520 rpm. The trimmer makes very little headway, and eventually with any kind of pressure at all, I split the blank lengthwise.

What am I doing wrong?

Thinking the wood might be the problem, I've used three different blanks: zebrawood, cocobolo, and redheart. Split them all.

More information: I examined the end of the brass tube that was part of the event. There are two very small "bites" in the edge of the brass where it looks like the cutting surface of the pen mill came in contact with it.

I'm starting to think I had my drill press turning too slow at 520 rpm.

New information: I just spoke with a technical support representative at Penn State Industries from whence I bought the two blade carbide cutter. He suggested I toss it and replace it with the four cutter steel head. He very kindly offered to send me one for free. Nice people, those PSI guys.

He told me the two sharp blades tend to shave the wood really well, but have a tendency to bite into the brass, causing the kind of "explosion" I described to him.

I'll update this thread with new information after I try the steel pen mill.

I used Titebond Polyurethane Liquid Glue which recommends using water as an accelerator. I sprayed a little water into the drill hole. I had already scuffed the tube with 240 grit sandpaper. I coated the tube with glue, and spread it evenly over the tube with my fingers. I had latex gloves on, and I was working over a sheet of waxed freezer paper. The tube was on a tube insertion tool, and I inserted into the blank with a twisting and sliding motion.

I was examining the tube and the exploded blank and the surfaces seem to be very evenly coated from end to end.

By, the way, I studied all the material here and on YouTube, in addition to reading "Turning Pens and Pencils" before buying any tools or equipment or attempting my first pen.

I'm very grateful for all the information that's been put into the public domain. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for your help.

Regards,

t.

Last edited by WildcatHollow; 12-09-2009 at 09:49 PM.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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You don't say what the blank is...I've split a few segmented blanks this way.. usually one of the laminates.... with a carbide tip on your mill I would think you get a pretty good cut action... I don't use the carbide tipped mills (Just don't have one.. but think they are great idea).. I do run run my drill press at about 1100 rpms... I drill and mill at the same speed. I use just enough pressure to allow the mill to cut.. varies with the blank.
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Old 12-09-2009, 08:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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It sounds like either the wood or the glue is the problem. the first thing i would try is to use more glue to connet the tube to the wood. I dont use a drill press, i just throw the blank in a vise and trim it with a hand drill, maybe the drill pressure is creating too much pressure at an angle or something.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Thinking the wood might be the problem, I've used three different blanks: zebrawood, cocobolo, and redheart. Split them all.

PS: Where can I find designer pen tubes that are already cut?

Thank you.

t.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildcatHollow View Post

PS: Where can I find designer pen tubes that are already cut?

Thank you.

t.
When you buy your kits, the suppliers usually have extra tubes available... I generally always buy 2 or 3 extra sets and keep them on hand...
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Is your pen mill sharp? I have lost a couple blanks due to forging ahead with a dull mill. I now make it a practice to sharpen at the least hint of dullness and I haven't had a problem since.
Edit to say: Ooops...I see it is carbide; probably not a sharpness issue then. sorry.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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More information: I examined the end of the brass tube that was part of the event. There are two very small "bites" in the edge of the brass where it looks like the cutting surface of the pen mill came in contact with it.

I'm starting to think I had my drill press turning too slow at 520 rpm.

Thoughts?

Thank you.

t.

PS: Found extra tubes at PSI. Ordered two bags full, just in case.

Last edited by WildcatHollow; 12-09-2009 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Default Problems...

I had some segemented pens that did the same... I discovered that if I wrap them with painters tape it helps... Then when you turn just turn the tape away... I also am using my hand drill and holding it in a vise... I found the drill press too agressive...
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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You can also sharpen your pen mill if you stay with that bevel... It helped...
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Old 12-09-2009, 10:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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New information: I just spoke with a technical support representative at Penn State Industries from whence I bought the two blade carbide cutter. He suggested I toss it and replace it with the four cutter steel head. He very kindly offered to send me one for free. Nice people, those PSI guys.

He told me the two sharp blades tend to shave the wood really well, but have a tendency to bite into the brass, causing the kind of "explosion" I described to him.

I'll update this thread with new information after I try the steel pen mill.

Thank you.

Regards,

t.
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