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Old 04-27-2014, 01:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default CNC lathe, dowel machine or chopstick miller???



I am beginning a pen turning project in Ghana. I did my prototype by hand, knife and sand paper! Apparently l used it as a teaser and it aroused some interest. Now i am considering to produce that pen on large scale (say 10,000) per month for some schools and government agencies.

The material to be used is ordinary bamboo and the shape of the pen is a simple cylinder. No style! My headache now is how to get this production volume done with consistency in shape, diameter and length of the pens. I've done a lot of research, but the more l read, the more l get confused. I am looking for a way to just feed my material into a machine and pick it as a finished pen barrel.

Some people have suggested CNC lathes, others suggested dowel machines and someone mentioned a chopstick miller! Can someone help me to choose the best equipment set up? I am ready to invest some thousands of dollars to acquire the right tools.

Thanks.

Last edited by mununkum; 04-27-2014 at 01:25 PM.
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Old 04-27-2014, 05:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Hmm. I think I remember somebody telling me about CNC machines that have autofeed systems allowing you to just fill the hopper with blanks, but they were thousands and thousands of dollars. Don't recall more specifics though, sorry.
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Old 04-27-2014, 06:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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A back knife lathe would be the machine for high production. Much faster than CNC for single design work like that, much better surface finish, and lots of cheap used machines in the USA. Probably lots of Chinese machines available too. The trick will be either boring after the turn, or having a mandrel mounted blank to keep the outside concentric with the bore.
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnGreco View Post
Hmm. I think I remember somebody telling me about CNC machines that have autofeed systems allowing you to just fill the hopper with blanks, but they were thousands and thousands of dollars. Don't recall more specifics though, sorry.
I am picturing a woodchipper style device that you just throw in blanks and it shoots out finished pens.

I know it doesn't work this way... but what if...
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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That's what a back knife lathe does. In this video, a mini baseball bat in less than 30 seconds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrusdpCcd1Y
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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And, at only $20K for a used one .... Goodspeed Back Knife Automatic Woodturning Copy Lathe 51 inch w Hopper Coyer | eBay
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by low_48 View Post
That's what a back knife lathe does. In this video, a mini baseball bat in less than 30 seconds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrusdpCcd1Y
That was what I was thinking of, didn't know it was called a back knife lathe :)
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Old 04-29-2014, 05:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cost about that much to have my "shop" wired, pick up the lathe and pay my, at that moment, ex-wife's attorney. Hmmmm...
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