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Old 10-09-2018, 08:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default turning metals (copper,alum,brass)

Anyone have experience building/turning blanks using metals? Would like to find machinist out there as source for pen bodies. Any referrals would be appreciated. Thanks in advance
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Old 10-09-2018, 08:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Check out the metal lathe section in the forum. Iíve made pens from brass, aluminum, stainless steel, and stainless Damascus. Titanium and bronze are on my short list to try.


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Old 10-09-2018, 10:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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ALWAYS USE A GOOD MASK/RESPIRATOR WHEN WORKING WITH METALS

Aluminum. brass and copper are easily turned on a wood lathe. Drilling brass and copper work better on a metal lathe, but they turn well with HSS and carbide. Each can also be faced (barrel trimmed) with a standard barrel trimmer (it will probably need to be sharpened afterward) I use Rick Herrell's Offset Lathe Sanding Jig "Custom Made" penturning tools/accessories

I use 6061 aluminum, C 360 brass (free machining) and C 145 copper (also free machining or tellurium copper.)

C 260 brass (cartridge brass) works, but is difficult to work with HSS. It adds a special touch to bolt-action pens.

C 360 brass has 2.5-3.7% lead added for machinability, C 260 has 0.07%. You don't want to breathe that stuff.
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Old 10-10-2018, 07:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There used to be a vendor that stocked aluminum blanks in one or two configurations but I dont think they still do. You can turn aluminum (and brass) blanks on a wood lathe with the proper technique. However, drilling a hole and gluing a tube into a metal blank seems redundant, and the Inside diameters of the tubes in most kits are not standard drill sizes. So you drill it over sized and glue in the hardware. Most people who turn to metal end up getting a small metal lathe and can then make the blanks and the Hardware themselves. If you dont want to invest in a metal lathe, (it isnt cheap) ask if someone will make you a specific set of blanks as you want or need them. Someone will make them for you. Exotic blanks does still sell steel Rebar blanks although Im not sure for which kits.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Chris,

What do you mean by "free machining", please ....

Quote:
I use 6061 aluminum, C 360 brass (free machining) and C 145 copper (also free machining or tellurium copper.)
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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I still use the brass tubes, there is a bit more tolerance for variations in hole size. It does mean that pressing in the parts takes more effort, since metal blanks do not expand much.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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This is a good description from www.corrosionpedia.com:


Definition - What does Free Machining mean?
Free machining is a manufacturing process in which additives are used to improve a metal's machinability. It is a characteristic of a metal alloy, when subjected to machining operations that:

Consumes less power
Gives better surface finish
Produces small metal chips
Results in longer tool life
Free machining materials can be cut quickly, easily obtain a good finish and do not wear tooling down as much as other processes.

There is a big difference between 360 and 260 brass. The 360 cuts and and machines much more easily.
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Old 10-10-2018, 10:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Thank you, Chris, for that information.
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Old 10-10-2018, 11:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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I too have done aluminum and brass on my wood lathe. I will be doing some copper ones too but they are a bit more gummy so I will have to see how that goes. At first try I used normal steel tools but found carbide to be a better choice. I too always use the tubes and glue them in with either epoxy or JB Weld. The tubes make it easier to insert components. They are designed for the specific kits and soft enough to expand as needed.

One thing I caution you on if turning on a wood lathe is cover motor from metal debris and also any electronic parts. Also not a good idea to run a dust cleaner if you have hooked because of hot metals mixing with wood products. Also watch hot metal if you get that. I found that metal comes off in chips and not ribbons.
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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The interesting thing about turning metal... it doesn't cut in the traditional sense. The cutter pushes the surface metal and rolls it, until it breaks off.

A machinist showed us several magnified photos and some videos of what is happening on the surface as the cutter is introduced.

Metal will come off in long ribbons, and those ribbons are like razors.
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