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Advanced Pen Making Kit-less construction; designs and challenges beyond those normally associated with kit pens.

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Old 07-20-2017, 10:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Providence Forge VA
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Default Getting my feet wet with a kitless pen

I would like to try making a kitless pen. To make the task a little less complicated, I was thinking of making a kitless rollerball. My thought is to buy a rollerball kit and discard everything other than the refill and "tip" (if that's the correct name). This would let me thread the lower section for the "tip" and then the outside of the lower section and inside of the upper section. Both ends would be closed, with some sort of clip. Both barrels would be aluminite because I'm told that's the material of choice for making threads.

Guess I'm wondering how to determine the size of the threads on the "tip". Do I have to get that from the pen kit supplier or is there a way to figure out what the thread size is? Can or should I just buy the parts needed and possibly get that from the supplier?

Then, what "standard" taps and dies would be used for the upper and lower barrel threads?

I have copies of the "Taps and Dies" and recent "Kitless" tutorials and will use both of these as references.

Appreciate any thoughts on my plan and, especially, how to determine the size of the threads on the "tip". Thanks in advance for the help.

Last edited by jimmyz; 07-20-2017 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Congratulations on that first step. Depending on which kit or size pen you want to make the threads for the "Front Section" will vary. Some of the smaller pen kits use a 8.4x1 thread for the roller ball/Fountain pen part. Others use a 10 x 1 mm Like the El Grande.
"El Grande kit front ends*‐*m10 x1
Baron/ Sedona/ Navigator etc. front ends –**
8.4 x1 or 8.5 x1 (Either will work)"
The nice thing about the El Grande is that the 10 x1 is usefull for making other threads on the body and cap for Finials.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Coquitlam, BC, Canada
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Two things you will find very useful, if you do not already have them are:
1) a pair of digital calipers so that you can measure, among other things, thread diameters;
2) a set of metric thread gauges so you can measure thread pitch (SAE thread gauges not so important)

You should be able to get these from a decent tool store

You will, of course, also need to buy taps and dies to suit the sizes you select for your pen(s).
There are no real standards ... you are not venturing into completely unknown territory, though. . Do some searches on here in the SOYP forum to find pictures of kitless pens and take note of what thread sizes they report using.

You say you want to start with a kitless rollerball. . That is perfectly fine, but not too many people here make those and you will be on your own pretty much to select a suitable thread size for the nib portion, and other things. Mredburn has suggested a good size, namely the 8.4mm thread.

Mredburn also mentioned the 10mm x 1 metric thread pitch (each thread is 1 mm wide and the diameter is 10 mm).
This is the thread size used on the El Grande fountain pen nib section.
Also, you can buy the tap and die for this thread size rather cheaply at a GOOD tool store like KBCtools.

So, as a start, I would recommend that you start by making a fountain pen using the El Grande nib. . That is how I started and it worked for me.

Now, to get really into it you will want to consider other thread sizes, but you will end up spending $35 - $50 or more for each tap and die that you buy (for example 12mm x 0.8). . There is currently an IAP Group Buy going on for these more specialized taps and dies.

Check on this Group Buy by searching for Group Buy Taps and Dies. . You will be able to read what sizes other people are buying and I believe the group is still open if you want to jump in at the deep end.

If you feel unready to jump in at the deep end and spend the required amount of money, then I suggest you go with the 10mm x 1 as used in the El Grande FP kit (which you might have to buy to get the nib, although the nib might be available by itself if you search for it).

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Last edited by magpens; 07-21-2017 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 07-21-2017, 08:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Thanks for the great information!
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