Drilling pen blanks - International Association of Penturners
     International Association of Penturners
Pens for Service Members
Support The IAP

Go Back   International Association of Penturners > Welcome to penturners.org! > Site Help, Tips, How-To
  Forgot Password
Register FAQ Members List Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Site Help, Tips, How-To Get and give help for using the FORUM SOFTWARE.

Logged on members can hide ads!

Welcome to penturners.org!

You've found the home of The International Association of Penturners. You are currently viewing our site as a guest, which gives you limited access to view discussions, photos, and library articles.

Consider joining our community today. You'll have full access to all of our content, be able to enter our contests, find local chapters near you, and post your questions and share your experience with our members all over the world.

Membership is completely free!!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-10-2017, 03:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Giroy, California
Posts: 18
Photos: 0

Default Drilling pen blanks

Hi all. I'm hoping you can help me with a blank drilling problem I keep having.

I drill both wood and acrylic blanks using the bit sizes specified in the assembly instructions (from PSI). I drill with a Jacobs chuck on the lathe at around 500rpm and I back out the bit several times to remove scrap from the hole and the bit. When I dry fit the tubes, the drilled blank holes are always too big, forcing me to wrap the tubes in masking tape prior (to snug the fit) to gluing them in. Does this happen to other folks too or am I doing something wrong? Is masking tape a reasonable solution or should I be doing something else?

Thanks so much for helping out a fellow turner.
Markus666 is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 03:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
skiprat's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: In a Skip in Wales
Photos: 227



Sounds like you have a tailstock alignment issue to me.
skiprat is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 04:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
mecompco's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Fairfield, Maine
Posts: 1,560
Photos: 10


Yup, somethings not right. I've only had that happen with one 12.5mm bit--replaced it and all is good. Now how oversize is the hole? I'm not thinking I'd trust the tape trick to last. I always use epoxy and you can goop enough in to fill holes that are slightly over-sized, as sometimes happens and all is good.

mecompco is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 05:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
randyrls's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Harrisburg, PA 17112
Posts: 4,063
Photos: 68


Originally Posted by Markus666 View Post
I drill both wood and acrylic blanks using the bit sizes specified in the assembly instructions (from PSI).
Mark; I often find the sizes of drill bits that give me the best fit are NOT the ones on the instructions. The drill bits specified are the closest most common available size.

I have a 115 piece drill bit set and a 25 piece metric set. When starting on a new style/model, I drill a hole that is smaller than I think is correct. If the tube doesn't fit, step up to the next size larger until the tube just fits. Then write down that drill bit size on the instructions for the pen. There are several drill bit size charts in the Library.

Oh; added later, drill no more than 1/2" at a time.

Hope this helps...
Randy S.
I got my WHOLE BODY tattooed, but I didn't want to be conspicuous, so I had them use invisible ink. ---- Stephen Wright
~~~~ Add Your Postal Code and Country to the UserCP ~~~~~

Last edited by randyrls; 03-10-2017 at 05:55 PM.
Likes: (2)
randyrls is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 06:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Howell, Michigan
Posts: 158
Photos: 0


I normally drill .010" over the measured tube size, this leaves room for paint and epoxy.
Jeff Miller
Likes: (1)
MillerTurnings is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 06:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
ALA's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Bassett, Va.
Posts: 344
Photos: 0


A drill bit guide is very useful in this instance. Insert the tube into the guide for a reference. Of course, leave a little room for glue when selecting the bit.
Attached Thumbnails
Likes: (2)
ALA is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 07:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
mark james's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Medina, Ohio
Posts: 7,477
Photos: 484


G'Day Mark,

All the suggestions above on drill sizes and drilling technique are all excellent. I can only add to combine those thoughts with the first suggestion posted by Skip... Check your Tailstock. Make sure your headstock and tailstock are in alignment, and that the tailstock is able to be tightened accurately. After that - yup, check your drill technique and the drill dimensions.
Check out the
IAP Collection

The IAP Collection is a permanent collection of pens
that has been established from the
IAP Membership explicitly for the purpose of
public display, preservation and inspiration.
mark james is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 08:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Akron, OH
Posts: 1,224
Photos: 0


If the bit shakes or moves from center while drilling then something is not aligned right as stated above. You should feel almost no vibration or movement of the drill bit and drill chuck when drilling.

Likes: (1)
Dale Allen is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 11:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 107
Photos: 1


One thing to think about is when you back the bit out don't loosen the tailstock. I made the mistake early on of loosening the tailstock each time I backed out the bit and each time you do that there is a chance that it will not tighten in the exact location and this will cause the hole to widen.

When the tailstock has been extended as far as it can go and you have not gone completely through the blank - back out the bit without loosening the tailstock, stop the lathe, loosen the tailstock, move the bit forward into the blank, tighten the tail stock again, then start the lathe and start advancing the bit again. The longest blanks should only need to have the tailstock reset once ....

Hope that helps.

Sent from my iPad using Penturners.org mobile app
Likes: (2)
Bob Kardell is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Old 03-10-2017, 11:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
jttheclockman's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NJ, USA.
Photos: 83


All good suggestions above. I will add also when you have the drill chuck in the tailstock, just snug up on the holding lever. And as you advance the drill bit hold the chuck with your left hand to steady it as it enters.
John T.
Likes: (1)
jttheclockman is offline   Reply With Quote Top
Related Content
Logged on members can hide ads


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:55 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0

Content Copyright © 2003-2019 by Penturners.org, LLC; All Rights Reserved
Terms Of Service   Acceptable Use Policy