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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 03-11-2018, 09:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default What taps and dies to use

I would like to build some kitless pens but I can't find triple start taps and dies at a reasonable price (IMO) so I am seeking input on what standard SAE or Metric taps and dies one should use to make such a pen. I am planning on starting with Alumalite blanks FWIW.

Any input advice is appreciated!
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:58 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Get the single start metric taps and dies from Victor Machinery in the sizes you want. Check out the library for what sizes to get for caps and sections. Just remember that the threads needed for fountain pen sections are special so you will need to get the ones to match the nibs feeds from the sellers. They also have the metric drill bits too. You subtract the thread pitch from the thread diameter to get the tap drill size. 12x.75 tap would be 12 - .75 = 11.25 mm drill bit. An 11.3 would be he nearest even size that works best. A touch looser is better that tight.
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Old 03-11-2018, 10:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Triple start tap and die sets are not cheap, they are not a std stock item. There are a couple of articles in the library on what you need.
This may help you
http://content.penturners.org/librar...es_kitless.pdf
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Old 03-11-2018, 11:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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OK, Curly gave you some of the goods. But he forgot the most important advice for beginners. Your first kitless fountain pen should be made with the nib from an El Grande kit. That nib is in what we call a feeder (who knows why), or just a feed for short. And the thread on that feed is designated as M10x1, meaning that is is 10mm diameter with a 1mm pitch ... and, guess what, it's metric ... that's what the M means.

So here's your fist job. Get some alumilite (great choice) and machine it down to about 1/2"+ diameter (a little bigger would be better and you can always turn it down later). Drill a hole in one end about 1 cm deep. The diameter of the hole should be the right size to take a M10x1 thread ... and if you look that up or follow Curly's formula, you get something around 10mm - 1mm = 9mm. You really should get some metric drills if you haven't already. But if you don't have a 9mm, then an 11/32" will do, or better still a 23/64", it is not that critical, as that rule that Curly gave you is only a seat-of-the-undewear kind of thing.

So, go ahead and tap using a M10x1 three- or four- flute plug tap. This will be a single start tap, so-called, and you can get one quite easily from most suburban consumer machine tool stores .... I got mine in a tap/die kit from a store like HF or Grizzly (more taps and dies than I need but at the time, 20 years ago, I really wanted a set of taps and dies, for what I don't know - there were only one or two sizes that turned out to be useful and the M10x1 is one of them). When you are tapping, put your Alumilite rod in the headstock chuck (thought you would never need to buy one of those, right ?), accurately aligned to the bed of your lathe. Then you put the tap in the Jacobs chuck that's in your tailstock. Do not lock down the tailstock ... keep it loose so it moves freely.

Then, bring the tailstock with tap up to your work piece which is in the headstock. Do NOT apply power to your lathe. Just start turning the headstock chuck by hand, slowly and carefully as you slide the tailstock towards it. The tip of the tap will go into the hole in the Alumilite just a little ways and then the threads on the tap will start to grab and bite into the Alumilite. Turn the headstock chuck about 2 complete turns, and then turn it the opposite direction until the tap comes right out and you can blow out the swarf that is in the hole.

OK, ... I get the feeling you don't need me to tell you so much in such detail. You keep doing this until your tap bottoms out ... just gently ... in the hole.

You should use some lubricant in this process ... just get some margarine from the fridge for now.

Soon you will just have to try twisting the El Grande nib (and feeder) into the hole you have threaded. And you will be ecstatic with your success.

But it is not all over yet. Here's where the hard work really starts, 'cause you are going to have to make some decisions.

How big are you going to make the barrel around that hole you just threaded ? That's going to house the ink reservoir and it is the part of the pen that you are going to handle the most, so here is one place where size is important ... both diameter and length (you will have to do some more drilling of the first hole your drilled but pick a drill size that will accommodate you ink cartridge or rubber balloon ... yeah, this balloon goes inside the yet-to-be-drilled hole.

So, back to the outside diameter of the barrel. You will probably want to make it about 12 to 13 mm, because you are going to have to do some more threading, this time with a die, over the outside of the thread you have already made on the inside.

Ha ... this is really tough and you can change the suggestion I am going to make if you want to. But I am going to suggest a M13 triple start, which I know you don't have ... and I am not giving you a complete spec for it, am I ?

For experimentation/learning purposes, you could use a 1/2" die with 20 threads per inch (or TPI) ... that is called a National Fine thread, or 1/2"-20 NF ... and it is single start.

I kinda think you know what I am talking about. What you will be doing next is making the outside thread that your pen cap is going to screw onto. Before you start cutting that thread with a die you have to get the size of the Alumilite right ... 13 mm for the M13x0.8x3 triple start, or 1/2" for the 1/2-20 NF. You don't have to jigger around with the size, just cut it like is says ... 13 mm or 1/2".

Do that thread. No that one is a little more tricky than doing the one you did first with th tap. This second thread is done with a die and you will need to buy a die holder. The best kind of a die holder to use for this job is a cylindrical one that you can buy from a couple of places ... from Littlemachineshop.com, or from Rick Herrell who is a member here and makes all sorts of neat stuff that you REALLY need and can really USE ... including this cylindrical die holder, which should have on the front end, a cavity with three Allen screws around it. You put the die in there and tighten up the Allen screws. But be sure to put the die in the right way around .... I will let you figure that one out. On the back side of the die holder, and you MUST get this right when you order the die holder, there should be a Morse Taper arbor and that has to match the Morse Taper in your tailstock .... probably either MT2 (most common and desirable) or MT1 (next most common, for our type of work, and less desirable for reasons that you might know or can think about ... it is smaller and less stable, for one thing, but it works if that is what you have).

Once all that is in place, you can go through much the same process to do the outside threading AROUND the hole/threads you made first.

OK, now you are going to have to get another piece of Alumilite which is a little bit bigger than the 13mm or 1/2" that we have been talking about. This piece of Alumilite is again going to have an inside thread, the cap thread. And this thread has to match the outside thread we have just put on the first piece of Aluminlite. And you are going to have to drill an hole in it that you can tap for the 13mm thread or 1/2" thread, whichever you have chosen ... probably the 1/2" since this is just an exercise, but a potentially real pen nonetheless .

So if it is 1/2" we are working with, we would drill a hole with a drill that has the size (closely approximating) given by 1/2" - what ?

OK, so what is "what" ? We are working with a 1/2"-20 NF thread. Twenty threads per inch. 1/20 inches between the thread peaks (or troughs). So that is 0.050".

So we need a drill which is 1/2" - 0.050" in diameter, or 0.500" - 0.050" = 0.450". Get use to this kind of thing happening; there ain't no such drill. So what do you do? You pick one that is close from a table that I can refer you to if you want. The closest I can find is a 11.50 mm drill, or in decimal, 0.453". Yes, it is extremely useful to have a selection of metric drills, if not a whole set (which I invested in early and never regretted buying ... a Norseman set ... I bought 3 Norseman sets: Fractional, Metric, and Letter-size... like A, B, C, etc.). You can of course, buy drills singly, but you pay through the nose that way by the time you get all you want ... ie, need !). So get yourself a 11.50 mm drill bit ... but hey, wait a minute ... there is a 29/64" drill which you might already have and which is only 0.0003" bigger than the 11.50 mm drill ... that is only 0.3 thousandths of an inch so, what the heck, go with it ... it will work just fine.

After you have drilled that hole in the end of the cap piece of Aluminilite, go ahead and tap it with the 1/2"-20 NF tap. And then you will get your next thrill by threading the second piece of Alumilite onto the first.

We are getting pretty close to the end of the story ... two tapped holes, and three threaded cylinders (including the feed for the nib).

Think you can take it the rest of the way ? . I am sure you can. . Gimme a shout if you need me ... or better still, call Curly !!!
He's a good friend of mine and won't mind a bit ... plus he has much more experience at this sort of thing than I have ... I am not totally sure, but I think he has a pretty extensive machine shop in his garage with all the nice toys that we would all like to have.

He's also pretty good at fixing mistakes of any kind, so if there are any in what I wrote above ... and there could be ... he is the guy to find them and set you straight.

If I am right, I think he used to have something to do with making aircraft parts .... you know, those Mach 2 things that the USAF flies.

Just don't let him tell you that Mal doesn't know a damned thing ... although he might just be right ... he usually is.
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Last edited by magpens; 03-11-2018 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the input folks--I genuinely appreciate it--Mal, you can never share to much info with me--I have a good intake adapter and filter I really don't want to do a bunch of fountain pens currently, I am more interested in building kitless Parker style refill pens. But this is all good info---I cast a lot of alumalite, so I can make blanks to suit my needs--Thanks again for everything!
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Old 03-20-2018, 12:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magpens View Post
OK, Curly gave you some of the goods. But he forgot the most important advice for beginners. Your first kitless fountain pen should be made with the nib from an El Grande kit. That nib is in what we call a feeder (who knows why), or just a feed for short. And the thread on that feed is designated as M10x1, meaning that is is 10mm diameter with a 1mm pitch ... and, guess what, it's metric ... that's what the M means.

So here's your fist job. Get some alumilite (great choice) and machine it down to about 1/2"+ diameter (a little bigger would be better and you can always turn it down later). Drill a hole in one end about 1 cm deep. The diameter of the hole should be the right size to take a M10x1 thread ... and if you look that up or follow Curly's formula, you get something around 10mm - 1mm = 9mm. You really should get some metric drills if you haven't already. But if you don't have a 9mm, then an 11/32" will do, or better still a 23/64", it is not that critical, as that rule that Curly gave you is only a seat-of-the-undewear kind of thing.

So, go ahead and tap using a M10x1 three- or four- flute plug tap. This will be a single start tap, so-called, and you can get one quite easily from most suburban consumer machine tool stores .... I got mine in a tap/die kit from a store like HF or Grizzly (more taps and dies than I need but at the time, 20 years ago, I really wanted a set of taps and dies, for what I don't know - there were only one or two sizes that turned out to be useful and the M10x1 is one of them). When you are tapping, put your Alumilite rod in the headstock chuck (thought you would never need to buy one of those, right ?), accurately aligned to the bed of your lathe. Then you put the tap in the Jacobs chuck that's in your tailstock. Do not lock down the tailstock ... keep it loose so it moves freely.

Then, bring the tailstock with tap up to your work piece which is in the headstock. Do NOT apply power to your lathe. Just start turning the headstock chuck by hand, slowly and carefully as you slide the tailstock towards it. The tip of the tap will go into the hole in the Alumilite just a little ways and then the threads on the tap will start to grab and bite into the Alumilite. Turn the headstock chuck about 2 complete turns, and then turn it the opposite direction until the tap comes right out and you can blow out the swarf that is in the hole.

OK, ... I get the feeling you don't need me to tell you so much in such detail. You keep doing this until your tap bottoms out ... just gently ... in the hole.

You should use some lubricant in this process ... just get some margarine from the fridge for now.

Soon you will just have to try twisting the El Grande nib (and feeder) into the hole you have threaded. And you will be ecstatic with your success.

But it is not all over yet. Here's where the hard work really starts, 'cause you are going to have to make some decisions.

How big are you going to make the barrel around that hole you just threaded ? That's going to house the ink reservoir and it is the part of the pen that you are going to handle the most, so here is one place where size is important ... both diameter and length (you will have to do some more drilling of the first hole your drilled but pick a drill size that will accommodate you ink cartridge or rubber balloon ... yeah, this balloon goes inside the yet-to-be-drilled hole.

So, back to the outside diameter of the barrel. You will probably want to make it about 12 to 13 mm, because you are going to have to do some more threading, this time with a die, over the outside of the thread you have already made on the inside.

Ha ... this is really tough and you can change the suggestion I am going to make if you want to. But I am going to suggest a M13 triple start, which I know you don't have ... and I am not giving you a complete spec for it, am I ?

For experimentation/learning purposes, you could use a 1/2" die with 20 threads per inch (or TPI) ... that is called a National Fine thread, or 1/2"-20 NF ... and it is single start.

I kinda think you know what I am talking about. What you will be doing next is making the outside thread that your pen cap is going to screw onto. Before you start cutting that thread with a die you have to get the size of the Alumilite right ... 13 mm for the M13x0.8x3 triple start, or 1/2" for the 1/2-20 NF. You don't have to jigger around with the size, just cut it like is says ... 13 mm or 1/2".

Do that thread. No that one is a little more tricky than doing the one you did first with th tap. This second thread is done with a die and you will need to buy a die holder. The best kind of a die holder to use for this job is a cylindrical one that you can buy from a couple of places ... from Littlemachineshop.com, or from Rick Herrell who is a member here and makes all sorts of neat stuff that you REALLY need and can really USE ... including this cylindrical die holder, which should have on the front end, a cavity with three Allen screws around it. You put the die in there and tighten up the Allen screws. But be sure to put the die in the right way around .... I will let you figure that one out. On the back side of the die holder, and you MUST get this right when you order the die holder, there should be a Morse Taper arbor and that has to match the Morse Taper in your tailstock .... probably either MT2 (most common and desirable) or MT1 (next most common, for our type of work, and less desirable for reasons that you might know or can think about ... it is smaller and less stable, for one thing, but it works if that is what you have).

Once all that is in place, you can go through much the same process to do the outside threading AROUND the hole/threads you made first.

OK, now you are going to have to get another piece of Alumilite which is a little bit bigger than the 13mm or 1/2" that we have been talking about. This piece of Alumilite is again going to have an inside thread, the cap thread. And this thread has to match the outside thread we have just put on the first piece of Aluminlite. And you are going to have to drill an hole in it that you can tap for the 13mm thread or 1/2" thread, whichever you have chosen ... probably the 1/2" since this is just an exercise, but a potentially real pen nonetheless .

So if it is 1/2" we are working with, we would drill a hole with a drill that has the size (closely approximating) given by 1/2" - what ?

OK, so what is "what" ? We are working with a 1/2"-20 NF thread. Twenty threads per inch. 1/20 inches between the thread peaks (or troughs). So that is 0.050".

So we need a drill which is 1/2" - 0.050" in diameter, or 0.500" - 0.050" = 0.450". Get use to this kind of thing happening; there ain't no such drill. So what do you do? You pick one that is close from a table that I can refer you to if you want. The closest I can find is a 11.50 mm drill, or in decimal, 0.453". Yes, it is extremely useful to have a selection of metric drills, if not a whole set (which I invested in early and never regretted buying ... a Norseman set ... I bought 3 Norseman sets: Fractional, Metric, and Letter-size... like A, B, C, etc.). You can of course, buy drills singly, but you pay through the nose that way by the time you get all you want ... ie, need !). So get yourself a 11.50 mm drill bit ... but hey, wait a minute ... there is a 29/64" drill which you might already have and which is only 0.0003" bigger than the 11.50 mm drill ... that is only 0.3 thousandths of an inch so, what the heck, go with it ... it will work just fine.

After you have drilled that hole in the end of the cap piece of Aluminilite, go ahead and tap it with the 1/2"-20 NF tap. And then you will get your next thrill by threading the second piece of Alumilite onto the first.

We are getting pretty close to the end of the story ... two tapped holes, and three threaded cylinders (including the feed for the nib).

Think you can take it the rest of the way ? . I am sure you can. . Gimme a shout if you need me ... or better still, call Curly !!!
He's a good friend of mine and won't mind a bit ... plus he has much more experience at this sort of thing than I have ... I am not totally sure, but I think he has a pretty extensive machine shop in his garage with all the nice toys that we would all like to have.

He's also pretty good at fixing mistakes of any kind, so if there are any in what I wrote above ... and there could be ... he is the guy to find them and set you straight.

If I am right, I think he used to have something to do with making aircraft parts .... you know, those Mach 2 things that the USAF flies.

Just don't let him tell you that Mal doesn't know a damned thing ... although he might just be right ... he usually is.
Very well written and helpful. I will be saving this one.
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