Acrylic question

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KenB259

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Dec 24, 2017
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Most of you know my main emphasis in pen making is towards segmenting with exotic woods. Starting to do more and more acrylics and I have some Christmas pens in progress. Now I’ve seen lots of posts here regarding the painting of tubes and the inside of blanks. One of the pens I started on has a quite transparent blank so I thought I better paint both the tube and inside of the blank. Did that and then the tube didn’t fit anymore, so I sanded the paint off the tube and it fit okay. My first question is, why do you ever need to paint both the tube and the inside. In my mind ,painting one should be sufficient, as you can’t see through even one coat of paint. I’m sure some will say to drill a bigger hole but that surely is not an exact science. My next question is in regards to gluing. There’s much discussion here about the best blue to use. When you paint tubes, you are in effect gluing to the paint. The paint is actually holding things together. Any glue we use has to have better adhesion than a coat of paint. So does painting tubes weaken the glue bond?


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mark james

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These are my priorities:

1. Paint the inside of the BLANK hole.
2. Tint the epoxy (I use 2 part and adding a single drop is sufficient and I have not had any adhesion failures).
3. Paint the tube.


Painting all three may be overkill, but I need the practice of being patient ;) - I wait overnight!

Some of the paint in the blank and on the tube may be slightly (or more) scratched off, so the tinted epoxy has been an added insurance. Yes, I may need to tinker and adjust the drill size I use, but after several trials with 1" leftover cutoffs I can get a good fit. Again, I am not in a hurry and can wait 2-3 days for this process to complete. But after that I'm good to go and write down the specifics and the next time is 80% quicker.

As with you, I do mostly wood segmenting. Others may have different experiences.
 

qquake

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Feb 8, 2004
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Northern California
Maybe more details would be helpful. Which pen kit, which acrylic, and what size bit did you use? What kind of paint are you using, and how thick a coat? How did you orient the blank while the paint was drying? I use spray paint on both the hole and the tube, and very rarely have a problem with it fitting. To me, painting the tube gives you extra insurance in case the paint in the hole gets scratched or scraped during assembly.

I use two-part epoxy to glue up ALL my pens, no matter the material, whether painted or not. I've never had one fail. Epoxy also allows you to color it before assembly, so even more insurance. I don't see that there is a lot of stress on the tube/blank glue joint. If you trim the blank before turning, the faces of the blank(s) will be flush with the ends of the tube(s), so the shoulders of the bushings will be putting pressure on the blank and tube simultaneously.
 

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ed4copies

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This won't be a popular answer!!

Why do we worry about the glue? The function of the brass tubes is to provide the right size hole so the components can be attached and the pen produced--why would there be stress on the glue?? If the problem is the brass tube coming loose as we turn the pen, the problem is NOT the glue, it is our technique in turning--a sharp tool cuts, minimal stress is put on the blank as it spins!!

You are correct that painting the hole should hide everything else. There is nothing wrong with painting the tube in addition, if you please. I suggest epoxy if you have painted, CA has a tendency to smear the paint, even when it is fully cured.

I'm sure you'll get lots of differing opinions--I hope you'll also get a factual reason why the glue bond matters!!

FWIW,
Ed
 
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Ed NEVER has an unpopular answer.
My 2 cents: On occasion (not very often) I'll paint the inside of the blank but normally just the tube. It's easier and the paint dries faster. So why paint the inside of the blank? If I'm using a more transparent blank, the "glue" - CA or epoxy or whatever - can be seen through the transparent part of the blank and it's NEVER pretty. So if you put that opaque, thin layer of paint on the inside of the blank, the "glue" isn't seen. IMHO painting both is a belt and suspenders thing. Like I said, for many/most blanks painting the tube is adequate.
 

KenB259

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Dec 24, 2017
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Location
Michigan
Maybe more details would be helpful. Which pen kit, which acrylic, and what size bit did you use? What kind of paint are you using, and how thick a coat? How did you orient the blank while the paint was drying? I use spray paint on both the hole and the tube, and very rarely have a problem with it fitting. To me, painting the tube gives you extra insurance in case the paint in the hole gets scratched or scraped during assembly.

I use two-part epoxy to glue up ALL my pens, no matter the material, whether painted or not. I've never had one fail. Epoxy also allows you to color it before assembly, so even more insurance. I don't see that there is a lot of stress on the tube/blank glue joint. If you trim the blank before turning, the faces of the blank(s) will be flush with the ends of the tube(s), so the shoulders of the bushings will be putting pressure on the blank and tube simultaneously.

The pen kit is for a pen I’ve never made before, it’s a cat pen for a cat loving granddaughter. I used a spray enamel, set the tubes upright on a couple of nails. I will say that after I drilled the holes, both 10 mm, I could see the brass tubes when I did a test fit. After painting both and even after sanding it off the tubes, I could not see the tube when I glued them in, so I think I’ll be fine. If this does turn out fine, I doubt I’ll paint both again. I do like the idea of tinting the epoxy though. As far as how thick the paint is, who knows and that will vary somewhat every time you do it.


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KenB259

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Dec 24, 2017
Messages
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Michigan
This won't be a popular answer!!

Why do we worry about the glue? The function of the brass tubes is to provide the right size hole so the components can be attached and the pen produced--why would there be stress on the glue?? If the problem is the brass tube coming loose as we turn the pen, the problem is NOT the glue, it is our technique in turning--a sharp tool cuts, minimal stress is put on the blank as it spins!!

You are correct that painting the hole should hide everything else. There is nothing wrong with painting the tube in addition, if you please. I suggest epoxy if you have painted, CA has a tendency to smear the paint, even when it is fully cured.

I'm sure you'll get lots of differing opinions--I hope you'll also get a factual reason why the glue bond matters!!

FWIW,
Ed

My opinion anymore is going towards me thinking the actual glue you use to glue in the tubes is not all that important. I’ve used CA, don’t like it because it sets up to fast. I’ve used 5 minute epoxy, 24 hour epoxy, and after hundreds if pens I’ve never had an issue. I think my point about the paint actually adhering to the epoxy, bears that out.


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Dieseldoc

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Oct 28, 2017
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Livermore, Ca 94550
Ken:
My process is same as. Mark, most important is to let the paint cure, which I do over night before trying tube fit and gluing in.little tent in epoxy is just a plus.
 

qquake

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Feb 8, 2004
Messages
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Location
Northern California
The pen kit is for a pen I’ve never made before, it’s a cat pen for a cat loving granddaughter. I used a spray enamel, set the tubes upright on a couple of nails. I will say that after I drilled the holes, both 10 mm, I could see the brass tubes when I did a test fit. After painting both and even after sanding it off the tubes, I could not see the tube when I glued them in, so I think I’ll be fine. If this does turn out fine, I doubt I’ll paint both again. I do like the idea of tinting the epoxy though. As far as how thick the paint is, who knows and that will vary somewhat every time you do it.
I recently made a Cat pen for my sister. She wanted pink and green acrylic, which was kind of translucent, so I painted everything. I drilled the blanks with a brad point 10mm bit. No problem putting the tubes in the blanks. When I paint blanks, I always stand them upright on a piece of screen to dry. This allows any excess paint to drain out, and air to get in the top and bottom. I find the paint dries faster this way.
 

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EricRN

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Joined
May 16, 2019
Messages
314
Most of you know my main emphasis in pen making is towards segmenting with exotic woods. Starting to do more and more acrylics and I have some Christmas pens in progress. Now I’ve seen lots of posts here regarding the painting of tubes and the inside of blanks. One of the pens I started on has a quite transparent blank so I thought I better paint both the tube and inside of the blank. Did that and then the tube didn’t fit anymore, so I sanded the paint off the tube and it fit okay. My first question is, why do you ever need to paint both the tube and the inside. In my mind ,painting one should be sufficient, as you can’t see through even one coat of paint. I’m sure some will say to drill a bigger hole but that surely is not an exact science. My next question is in regards to gluing. There’s much discussion here about the best blue to use. When you paint tubes, you are in effect gluing to the paint. The paint is actually holding things together. Any glue we use has to have better adhesion than a coat of paint. So does painting tubes weaken the glue bond?


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I use enamel modeling paint on the blank. Avoid using CA to glue with enamel because it will dissolve the paint. Best case scenario: you end up with smeared paint and the tube showing through. Worst case: the glue fails durin turning and hour blank goes flying. Ask me how I know.
 

jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
14,463
Location
NJ, USA.
Well once again I will add my 2 cents. I have said this many times here. Take a look at the anatomy of the pen blank. What do you see as you go through the layers?? Top layer is the eye candy. The inside the hole is the next layer. The glue is the next layer and then finally the tube. When you paint both tube and blank you now have 2 weak points that the glue has to adhere to. If the glue has a problem sticking to the reverse painted blank it will have a problem sticking to a painted tube. If you concentrate on reverse painting the blank, your eye will not get past to the next 2 layers. I never paint a tube unless doing a cast on tube blank. I use testors enamel both spray and bottle. I use Q-tip to apply. I use epoxy because again it has never failed me and is more flexible than CA which dries brittle and hard. At times I will tint epoxy because it does not have an effect on adhesion if used sparingly. I make sure the tube slides in hole before I glue up and on those rare occassions I may have to enlarge the hole and start over. I allow plenty of time to not only dry but to cure. I will disagree with ED in this part. The glue can have a negative effect on adhesion and no matter how light your cuts are it can pull the tube loose. Also if doing a twist pen that twisting action can loosen the tube. So glue does matter in my opinion.
 
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