A few kitless questions

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

mvande21

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
I can probably look a little deeper, but I figure this would be quicker...
I have been doing some you tubeing on making my first kitless pen. I have been turning pens for a while now and would like to venture into this for a while.
What do you usually shoot for for a cap design? The youtube video i saw had his cap very thin. It looked goos but turning that thin makes me nervous.
I would like to do a rollerball setup. What are the threads on those usually?
Also, do you guys use the threaded tool that come with the tap and die set? Why or why not?
And what threads do you use for everything else?
I definitely will start with a scrap piece before buying a nice blank.
Also can any blank be used for this? I love the look of the black and gold trustone but didnt know if that is to difficult to work with.
Im sure ill have more but these are the first few that came to mind.
TIA
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

1shootist

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
721
Location
Ennis/Waxahachie Texas
I ventured into kitless recently and its been really fun. Most of those serious kitless makers use a 13mm tap and die thriple start...this is too expensive for me so I just use a 1/2 x 20 set. For the section I use 10mm x 1.00 , which is what some store bought sections are. I tried 9mm that I've seen others on here try but I didnt like it so I only do 10mm . If you decide to try fountain pens theres another set you'll need for that...not as expensive as the thriple start getup but still more than I care to spend for now.
On the cap, I have done the flush type you're talking about and the larger, over lap caps. I havent really gained a preference for either yet.
You will honestly find tons of info if you search kitless or bespoke. And there is some info in the libary here...I still do a search to look at what others are doing if I get in a pickle.
Good luck !!
 

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
11,699
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
You mentioned Trustone.

I think you may find it is too brittle for making a kitless pen which does not have a brass tube to support the material.

Also, too brittle for threading.

I suggest that you do your experimenting (it's ok ... we all do that) with acrylic acetate (about $3.50 per blank) or Alumilite (about $9.00).
You could also use aluminum.

Initially you don't need to go for thin, but eventually you will want to do so, and also polish internally.

You also mentioned a tap and die set .... I think it is unlikely you will find appropriately sized taps/dies in any of the hardware store sets.
An exception is the 10mm x 1 tap/die which is the size used for the section threads of the El Grande kit pen marketed by Berea.

Appropriate cap to body threads would be double or triple start 13 mm or 14 mm, but I can't be sure about the pitch specifications
... probably around 0.8 mm. . Triple start threads are preferred, for several reasons.

Once in a while one of the IAP members will organize a group buy for such taps/dies. . Keep your eyes open for that, but be prepared to pay around $60 (or more) for a tap/die set. . All such group buys fall under the general supervision of the Group Buy Coordinator, who I think is the member named "Monty". . That person could tell you if there is any group buy presently being organized.

Good luck with your kitless venture and please keep us posted on your progress ! .... with pictures, of course, at various stages of construction.
 

mvande21

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
I ventured into kitless recently and its been really fun. Most of those serious kitless makers use a 13mm tap and die thriple start...this is too expensive for me so I just use a 1/2 x 20 set. For the section I use 10mm x 1.00 , which is what some store bought sections are. I tried 9mm that I've seen others on here try but I didnt like it so I only do 10mm . If you decide to try fountain pens theres another set you'll need for that...not as expensive as the thriple start getup but still more than I care to spend for now.
On the cap, I have done the flush type you're talking about and the larger, over lap caps. I havent really gained a preference for either yet.
You will honestly find tons of info if you search kitless or bespoke. And there is some info in the libary here...I still do a search to look at what others are doing if I get in a pickle.
Good luck !!
So the inside where the nib goes is 10 mm? I would lime to do a rollerball sonce i do t have much use for a fountain pen right now. Or do you make the piece and press fit the nib into that?
 

mvande21

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
You mentioned Trustone.

I think you may find it is too brittle for making a kitless pen which does not have a brass tube to support the material.

Also, too brittle for threading.

I suggest that you do your experimenting (it's ok ... we all do that) with acrylic acetate (about $3.50 per blank) or Alumilite (about $9.00).
You could also use aluminum.

Initially you don't need to go for thin, but eventually you will want to do so, and also polish internally.

You also mentioned a tap and die set .... I think it is unlikely you will find appropriately sized taps/dies in any of the hardware store sets.
An exception is the 10mm x 1 tap/die which is the size used for the section threads of the El Grande kit pen marketed by Berea.

Appropriate cap to body threads would be double or triple start 13 mm or 14 mm, but I can't be sure about the pitch specifications
... probably around 0.8 mm. . Triple start threads are preferred, for several reasons.

Once in a while one of the IAP members will organize a group buy for such taps/dies. . Keep your eyes open for that, but be prepared to pay around $60 (or more) for a tap/die set. . All such group buys fall under the general supervision of the Group Buy Coordinator, who I think is the member named "Monty". . That person could tell you if there is any group buy presently being organized.

Good luck with your kitless venture and please keep us posted on your progress ! .... with pictures, of course, at various stages of construction.
Does it really matter what size I use? I was youtubing some tutorials and heard that metric is the way to go.
 

1shootist

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
721
Location
Ennis/Waxahachie Texas
So the inside where the nib goes is 10 mm? I would lime to do a rollerball sonce i do t have much use for a fountain pen right now. Or do you make the piece and press fit the nib into that?
10mm x 1 is the end of the "section", it screws into a 10mm x 1 barrel end.
You don't have to follow any tap and die guide lines that others are using...thats the great thing with making the whole pen yourself...you can use any tap and dies you want. For instance, I use 1/2" x 20 since I don't have the 13mm.
There are some sizes that work better as in they have a tighter ,more snug fit. For me I've found "fine" threads have held better.
 

mredburn

IAP Activities Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
8,452
Location
Fort Myers FL
I recommend you try and design the pen you want to make. Having to consider the areas that will need threads and how any changes you make will affect those areas will help you a lot. You need "cap to body" threads. You need "body to nosecone" (or front section on a fountain pen} threads. You may want to thread the ends of the cap and body for the finials or you may want tojust glue them in or make it a closed end pen. A lot cap to body threads are 12,13 or 14mm in diameter. It will depend on how thick the body diameter is and how your matching the cap to the body. Is it flush from cap to body? is the cap larger than the body and there is a step? You will need at least a 1/4 (6.3mm) hole for the refill in the body, possibly larger. Will you use a spring on the back end? Will the threads from the nosecone be directly inside the cap threads? You need a couple mm wall thickness depending on the material your going to make it with so it wont break easily. I prefer .75 mm pitches over 1mm. The larger the pitch the more force needed to cut the threads, that may break your pen material. A 10 x.75 can use a 9.25 to9.3mm hole while a 10 x1 needs a 9mm to 9.1mm. that may affect your pen design. Victornet.com has all sorts of individual tap and dies, both metric and imperial you can choose from. Amazon may be a good place to find them as well. std sets sold in the stores are usually the wrong sizes and if they are not High Speed Steel they will be softer carbon steel meant for chasing or reforming existing threads. YOu should buy 1 inch round Hss dies not the hexagon ones. Start with single thread taps and if you get serious about making pens you can step up to the triple lead sets later.
You will need a tap guide and die holder to get the threads straight, it is possible to do it without them but depending on your lathe it may not be easy to do.
Alumilite is a good material for threading, PR not so much. Some of the epoxy resins work well also. You can use different materials to make the threaded parts and glue them to or into the body materials if you have a pen blank you like that doesnt take threads well.
If you decide to move into fountain pens you will have to choose what brand of feed/nib assembly you want to use. That will determine which specialty tap you will need. The feed housings threads are specific to size and brand, Schmidt and Jowo use 64 x .5 for their #5 sets but the rest are not interchangeable.
 

mvande21

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
So from the videos I watched and the comments I have been reading on here and other forums, basically the only thing that everything hinges on is the ink refill piece that I have to buy. I would like to go with the parker refills and maybe I'll step into the Schmidt rollers later on. Parkers seem to be easier to find in big box stores also. I did a lot of video watching this weekend and there is a guy on youtube that has some excellent videos and how-to's for turners. If I remember his name, I will post it.
 

mvande21

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
I recommend you try and design the pen you want to make. Having to consider the areas that will need threads and how any changes you make will affect those areas will help you a lot. You need "cap to body" threads. You need "body to nosecone" (or front section on a fountain pen} threads. You may want to thread the ends of the cap and body for the finials or you may want tojust glue them in or make it a closed end pen. A lot cap to body threads are 12,13 or 14mm in diameter. It will depend on how thick the body diameter is and how your matching the cap to the body. Is it flush from cap to body? is the cap larger than the body and there is a step? You will need at least a 1/4 (6.3mm) hole for the refill in the body, possibly larger. Will you use a spring on the back end? Will the threads from the nosecone be directly inside the cap threads? You need a couple mm wall thickness depending on the material your going to make it with so it wont break easily. I prefer .75 mm pitches over 1mm. The larger the pitch the more force needed to cut the threads, that may break your pen material. A 10 x.75 can use a 9.25 to9.3mm hole while a 10 x1 needs a 9mm to 9.1mm. that may affect your pen design. Victornet.com has all sorts of individual tap and dies, both metric and imperial you can choose from. Amazon may be a good place to find them as well. std sets sold in the stores are usually the wrong sizes and if they are not High Speed Steel they will be softer carbon steel meant for chasing or reforming existing threads. YOu should buy 1 inch round Hss dies not the hexagon ones. Start with single thread taps and if you get serious about making pens you can step up to the triple lead sets later.
You will need a tap guide and die holder to get the threads straight, it is possible to do it without them but depending on your lathe it may not be easy to do.
Alumilite is a good material for threading, PR not so much. Some of the epoxy resins work well also. You can use different materials to make the threaded parts and glue them to or into the body materials if you have a pen blank you like that doesnt take threads well.
If you decide to move into fountain pens you will have to choose what brand of feed/nib assembly you want to use. That will determine which specialty tap you will need. The feed housings threads are specific to size and brand, Schmidt and Jowo use 64 x .5 for their #5 sets but the rest are not interchangeable.
I am thinking I might start with some scrap maple that I have laying around. That way my blanks are free to start!! I need to buy a tap and die set yet and will keep your thoughts in mind! I like bigger pens to write with but I know that is not always the case for everyone. But, since this will be a pen I keep for myself, I am going to do what fits for me.
So, you recommend using a lathe mounted tool to start the threads? I was going to try to use the hand piece that comes with the sets. I am guessing it will be harder to do, but I do not know haw many of these I am going to make yet. Got to save money and not buy all the fancy jigs and improvise with what I got!
 

mredburn

IAP Activities Manager
Staff member
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
8,452
Location
Fort Myers FL
Trying to thread by hand will add a new layer of frustration. If your going to wait on the tap guiding tools do it this way. Mount your piece in the lathe chuck. Grip the tap in a drill chuck mounted in the tail stock leaving the tailstock loose and spin the chuck by hand pulling the tap into the piece. If you lathe is close enough in alignment that will keep the threads straight. Although a tap guide isnt that expensive, its the die holder that costs. For the male threads mount your piece in the chuck, and place the die in the two handle die holder and place it against either the tailstock quill or a flat disc with a tenon gripped in your drill chuck. the idea is that flat surface will keep the die holder perpendicular to the axis of the lathe for threading. most threads you will make are only going to 1/4 to 1/2 long.
 

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
11,699
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
@mvande21

Matt, you ask "Does it really matter what size I use? I was youtubing some tutorials and heard that metric is the way to go. "

It's true that metric is the way to go, but it is not essential. AND .... You can use any size you like, in principle.

But you have to be practical. ..... ANY size is not practical. . You have to worry about the material strength and the axial hole size.

There are two aspects to size for threads ...... diameter ...... and, pitch.

A metric size could be 13mm x 0.8 .... 13mm is the diameter .... 0.8 mm is the pitch (and also, the approx. height of the thread)
The pitch is the distance between the peaks of the thread. Pitch is also the approx. depth of the thread .... on BOTH "sides".

A non-metric size (SAE size) could be 1/2 inch by 20 .... that means 1/2" diameter with a pitch of 20 threads per inch.
A pitch of 20 equates to 0.050" between threads (which is 1.25 mm) .... and also the approx. height of the thread (1.25 mm).

The "gotcha" here is really the height of the thread ... and that is VERY important because it applies to both "sides" of the pen.
If you are going to make a 1/2" x 20 male thread, then your outside diameter (OD) before cutting the thread will be 1/2".
By the time you use your die to cut the thread, you will be down to 0.5" - 2x0.050" = 0.4" across (between the thread valleys).
At that size, you will only be able to drill a hole of MAXIMUM diameter of about 0.4" - 0.075" = 0.325". This depends on material strength
That's not very big .... don't forget that a Parker ballpoint refill needs a hole of about 0.24" diameter.
So that would give you half of (0.325 - 0.24) = 0.0425" clearance on each side of the refill.
That is perfectly fine for a ballpoint refill .... but if you want to go to a fountain pen cartridge it is not big enough.

You always have to think your way through .... and draw a diagram .... of what you need to get to at the end of the process.

You CANNOT compromise the strength of your pen by making the material too thin at any point along the thread.

AND what you cut off in the turning or threading process comes off BOTH "SIDES" of the pen.

I think you said that you want to make your pen out of wood. I would not recommend wood ..... VERY tricky to thread wood.
You can only use VERY HARD wood. . Wood is not the way to go, for starters at least.

I recommend you use an Alumilite blank to start with .... easy to thread .... wood and many most other "plastics" are not easy.
Acrylic acetate is also OK as long as you are very careful .... heat from thread cutting can sometimes be a problem.

Hope that this info helps in some way.
 
Last edited:

bmachin

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2013
Messages
505
Location
Owensboro, KY
Buy this book!!


There's been a lot of advice thrown out here--all of it good. Mine (of course) is the best. There are two kitless fountain pen plans in this book with drawings, a list of needed tools and step by step instructions. The first plan uses the nib/grip section from the Churchill/El Grande fountain pen from Berea Hardwoods. It's a good choice because you can purchase the section separately from the pen kit very reasonably and it uses a 10x1.0mm thread. Unfortunately, I don't believe that the section for the rollerball version for those pens is available as a separate unit, so you can either design and build your own, or purchase a Churchill rollerball kit for the section then buy a fountain pen section andbuild the kit as gift for somebody.

I assume that you don't have a metal lathe. You are going to need mandrels of some sort to hold your cap and barrel while turning. Get on YouTube and check out Steve4948's channel. He has videos on making kitless pens on a wood lathe including how to make mandrels.

Take Mal's (Magpen's) advice on blanks. Forget about trying to thread maple. Ain't gonna happen.

You used the term "Tap and Die Set" earlier. Unless you have a use for a full set, don't buy one for penmaking. It probably won't have most of the taps and dies that you will need. Buy as you need them. Victornet is a good source although they have a $25 minimum.

FWIW,
Bill

Edit:

Quick follow-up on what Mal said: 1/2-32 or 1/2-28 makes a really nice barrel/cap thread. 32 tpi is very close to .8mm
 
Last edited:

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
11,699
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
@bmachin

Thanks, Bill, for your kind references to what I wrote. . Also, your recommendation of the Richard Kleinhenz book is EXCELLENT advice.
Too bad that Richard is not still with us .... he was an outstanding craftsman.

Just one other thing .... where you say "32 tip" .... please edit that, if you can, to read "32 TPI" .... ;)
 

mvande21

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
Trying to thread by hand will add a new layer of frustration. If your going to wait on the tap guiding tools do it this way. Mount your piece in the lathe chuck. Grip the tap in a drill chuck mounted in the tail stock leaving the tailstock loose and spin the chuck by hand pulling the tap into the piece. If you lathe is close enough in alignment that will keep the threads straight. Although a tap guide isnt that expensive, its the die holder that costs. For the male threads mount your piece in the chuck, and place the die in the two handle die holder and place it against either the tailstock quill or a flat disc with a tenon gripped in your drill chuck. the idea is that flat surface will keep the die holder perpendicular to the axis of the lathe for threading. most threads you will make are only going to 1/4 to 1/2 long.
I do have a drill chuck for the lathe so the male side would just be mounting the tap into the chuck
The female side will be a little more difficult as the
Buy this book!!


There's been a lot of advice thrown out here--all of it good. Mine (of course) is the best. There are two kitless fountain pen plans in this book with drawings, a list of needed tools and step by step instructions. The first plan uses the nib/grip section from the Churchill/El Grande fountain pen from Berea Hardwoods. It's a good choice because you can purchase the section separately from the pen kit very reasonably and it uses a 10x1.0mm thread. Unfortunately, I don't believe that the section for the rollerball version for those pens is available as a separate unit, so you can either design and build your own, or purchase a Churchill rollerball kit for the section then buy a fountain pen section andbuild the kit as gift for somebody.

I assume that you don't have a metal lathe. You are going to need mandrels of some sort to hold your cap and barrel while turning. Get on YouTube and check out Steve4948's channel. He has videos on making kitless pens on a wood lathe including how to make mandrels.

Take Mal's (Magpen's) advice on blanks. Forget about trying to thread maple. Ain't gonna happen.

You used the term "Tap and Die Set" earlier. Unless you have a use for a full set, don't buy one for penmaking. It probably won't have most of the taps and dies that you will need. Buy as you need them. Victornet is a good source although they have a $25 minimum.

FWIW,
Bill

Edit:

Quick follow-up on what Mal said: 1/2-32 or 1/2-28 makes a really nice barrel/cap thread. 32 tpi is very close to .8mm
All the info is great to know. I understand to only buy the taps and dies to what I need, but for me starting out, I have no idea as to where to even start with sizes to look for. That's why I was going with a set and see what I came up with from there. The sets I saw did have the bigger diameter with the smaller ones so they might have the ones I was looking for. I was hoping to get some advise from you guys as to what size I should look for and go from there. I saw someone said something about 1/2 and 3/8 for the cap and barrel so I guess I will start there and see what I come up with.
 

magpens

Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2011
Messages
11,699
Location
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
@mvande21

You are wasting your money buying a "big box store" set of taps and dies ..... you just might use one of them.
Rather than that, if you don't want to buy the 13mm x 0.8mm (from one of our members, perhaps), then go to an auto tool supply place and buy something quite close to that.

The specific sizes that will be useful have been specified in this thread .... go with them (as close as you can) . . 3/8 is probably too small for pens
This will get you started to help you learn to thread.
 
Last edited:

bmachin

Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2013
Messages
505
Location
Owensboro, KY
@mvande21

You are wasting your money buying a "big box store" set of taps and dies ..... you just might use one of them.
Rather than that, if you don't want to buy the 13mm x 0.8mm (from one of our members, perhaps), then go to an auto tool supply place and buy something quite close to that.

The specific sizes that will be useful have been specified in this thread .... go with them (as close as you can) . . 3/8 is probably too small for pens
This will get you started to help you learn to thread.
Amen to that!!

With the money not spent on the tap and die set you can buy the Kleinhenz book and probably the tools that you will need to buy to complete the pen in his book as well.

Bill
 

Ironwood

Member
Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
965
Location
Mackay. Australia
Good advice there, not only will most of the sizes be unsuitable, the thread pitches in the set will be too course for making pens. If you do it right you will only have to buy once.
 

More4dan

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Messages
1,710
Location
Katy, TX

More4dan

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Messages
1,710
Location
Katy, TX
I just received my 25 year anniversary award from work. It’s a Cross Peerless Fountain Pen with a 18kt solid gold nib. Surprisingly it has a single start threads on a $500 pen. The cap requires 2 1/2 turns to remove. Maybe triple start threads aren’t as necessary as I once thought.


Sent from my iPad using Penturners.org mobile app
 

1shootist

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2018
Messages
721
Location
Ennis/Waxahachie Texas
I recommend you try and design the pen you want to make. Having to consider the areas that will need threads and how any changes you make will affect those areas will help you a lot. You need "cap to body" threads. You need "body to nosecone" (or front section on a fountain pen} threads. You may want to thread the ends of the cap and body for the finials or you may want tojust glue them in or make it a closed end pen. A lot cap to body threads are 12,13 or 14mm in diameter. It will depend on how thick the body diameter is and how your matching the cap to the body. Is it flush from cap to body? is the cap larger than the body and there is a step? You will need at least a 1/4 (6.3mm) hole for the refill in the body, possibly larger. Will you use a spring on the back end? Will the threads from the nosecone be directly inside the cap threads? You need a couple mm wall thickness depending on the material your going to make it with so it wont break easily. I prefer .75 mm pitches over 1mm. The larger the pitch the more force needed to cut the threads, that may break your pen material. A 10 x.75 can use a 9.25 to9.3mm hole while a 10 x1 needs a 9mm to 9.1mm. that may affect your pen design. Victornet.com has all sorts of individual tap and dies, both metric and imperial you can choose from. Amazon may be a good place to find them as well. std sets sold in the stores are usually the wrong sizes and if they are not High Speed Steel they will be softer carbon steel meant for chasing or reforming existing threads. YOu should buy 1 inch round Hss dies not the hexagon ones. Start with single thread taps and if you get serious about making pens you can step up to the triple lead sets later.
You will need a tap guide and die holder to get the threads straight, it is possible to do it without them but depending on your lathe it may not be easy to do.
Alumilite is a good material for threading, PR not so much. Some of the epoxy resins work well also. You can use different materials to make the threaded parts and glue them to or into the body materials if you have a pen blank you like that doesnt take threads well.
If you decide to move into fountain pens you will have to choose what brand of feed/nib assembly you want to use. That will determine which specialty tap you will need. The feed housings threads are specific to size and brand, Schmidt and Jowo use 64 x .5 for their #5 sets but the rest are not interchangeable.
"Search" function is great ! I miss so many very informative posts in the moment.
 

mvande21

Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
72
Location
Michigan
All of this is good info for me to chew on. I had no idea where to even start with thread sizes and pitch. I think i might buy some alumilite rods first before i rig up a whole casting system again. Eventually I will probably make my own, but for now 2 or 3 of the bought ones will be enough for me to look at for now. Classicnib.com has some longer rods that I think i will start with since you need more material length. I was either going to turn the nib piece as a seperate entity or make a seperate nib section and with a tenon and glue it into a predefined drilled hole on the body (no treads on this piece at all, in both scenarios) The treads would be on the body and on the cap only, and this way the only "non me-made" piece would be the ink refill. Would you guys do the same for the postable piece? Make the treads on top of the body a little smaller than the already threaded cap?
Also, Is there a place also where i can buy the die holder to fit into my drill chuck?
 

More4dan

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2016
Messages
1,710
Location
Katy, TX
Here is what you need for holding dies to thread on the lathe.


And this for guiding the taps.


Both mount in the tailstock but allow the threading tap or die to advance as they form the threads. I have both and I recommend them. They will only hold up to 1” dies. There is a member here that sells an adapter for the die holder to take 1 1/2” dies.

Most make the front section removable to aid in filling with ink. It also allows cleaning in case of an ink leakage. Gluing it in might create problems down the road. Also, if the section gets damaged it can be easily replaced without junking the entire pen.

Danny




Sent from my iPad using Penturners.org mobile app
 
Top Bottom