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Old 06-23-2017, 08:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Do I buy a metal lathe for kitless pens

I am trying to figure out what I need for making kitless pens. I am serious about it and willing to invest in the money for it. I was wondering why you would buy taps and dies (they cost a lot) vs buying a metal lathe that does threads? Would be better to invest in the metal lathe or is it better to invest in Taps and dies. I would love to get the wisdom of the people here.

Thanks in advance.


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Old 06-23-2017, 09:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I can see buying the metal lathe for the control that it gives you. However, most people that make kitless pens use mutiple start threads on their pens. To the best of my knowledge those would be extremely difficult to cut on a metal lathe. The standard single start threads could be easily cut, however, those are the taps and dies that relatively inexpensive to buy.

I may be wrong on this, however, there are many very experienced and talented members who can probably provide a better answer than this.
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Old 06-23-2017, 01:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I can see why if you cannot do triple threads on a metal lathe.

Anyone else have an opinion?

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Old 06-23-2017, 02:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It is incorrect to say that multi-start threading cannot be done on a metal lathe.

I know several people who have very quickly learned to cut threads, and make the transition from single-start to multi-start when they get the right guidance.

If I had space for yet another bench tool in my work area, I'd consider getting a metal lathe to do this myself.
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Metal lathe would give you greater precision with less time invested in skill
You can cut multi start threads on metal lathes with a standard threading tool but you have to set it up correctly
Taps and dies allow you to cut the same threads over and over in a matter of minutes and is relatively straight forward if you have a die holder.

With a wood lathe if you want multi start you will need taps and dies and a die and a tap holder

I've done 2 kitless on my jet 1221 vs and am saving up for a metal lathe.
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Do I buy a metal lathe for kitless pens

I use taps and dies when using my metal lathe. It is easier and gives a better finish to the threads. Threading ID at small diameters is also a challenge on the lathe with tooling that will fit. I do use the threading capabilities of the metal lathe to make non-standard single thread taps for the fountain pen feeds.

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Last edited by More4dan; 06-23-2017 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The argument that you don't need a metal lathe to make a kitless pen has been well documented on this forum. I won't argue the point. But I happen to be one of many who do use a metal lathe to make them. I have two sizes of die holders, and enjoy the uncomplicated process of cutting threads with taps and dies.

The metals lathe allows you more design options, if you're not too lazy (like I am) to add some modifications to your lathe. Skiprat, as well as others are awesome at using these things. My $.02
Chuck Hutchings
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Old 06-23-2017, 03:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Multi start isn't that difficult after you think about and understand what you are doing.

Essentially, you just advance the bit to whatever the number of starts is as a percentage of the TPI you are cutting so that it starts the second and later threads that distance closer making multiple thread cuts spaced evenly from one another.

You can also just make your own taps and dies, single or multi start, and avoid the setup for future threading.
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Old 06-23-2017, 04:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Jon, in my opinion, you will never be sorry that you own a metal-turning lathe.

As far as threading goes, your best approach is to buy the individual specialized taps and dies.

One reason is that kitless pens are better if you use triple start taps and dies for the cap to body junction ... that's the professional way ... it is extremely hard to cut triple start threads on the usual ( under $5,000 ) metal lathes

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Old 06-23-2017, 06:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with magpens! You can certainly make kitless on a wood lathe but I don't believe you would ever regret buying a metal lathe. I also use taps and dies on the metal lathe for the simplicity and time you get a quality product. I've also used my metal lathe to make bushings, mandrels and die holders. They are extremely versatile and accurate!

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