Free sanding mill (practically)

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Dave Turner

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Joined
Jul 23, 2010
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417
Location
Sylvania, Ohio
I was looking for an easy way to square off the ends of my pen body pieces after completing my CA finish. Being cheap, I didn't want to spend much money. Used the following parts:

faceplate - free (came with lathe)
scrap piece of maple - free
5" PSA to Hook & Loop conversion pad - $3 at local hardware store
Jacobs chuck - already had
transfer punch set - already had ($8 at Harbor Freight)

I cut the 1' thick maple to about the size of the faceplate and screwed it in place. Then I trued up the face of the maple so it is perpendicular to the axis of rotation using your favorite turning tool. Sand the face smooth and stick on the Hook & Loop conversion pad. I use Abranet sandpaper on mine. It sticks fine to the 'Velcro'. It's easy to pull off and move a little to a fresh spot. You could also cut up some Hook & Loop sanding pads to use with this.

I pick the largest transfer punch that will fit inside the brass tube and mount it in the Jacobs chuck. After sliding the pen body onto the punch, I bring the punch up close to the sandpaper, but not touching. Now with the lathe turning about 500 rpm, I can slide the tube up against the sandpaper to square the end.
 

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arw01

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Oct 24, 2008
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387
Location
Spokane, WA
Great idea, lot of trouble to mount and un-mount all that stuff.

do you check the punch to the Abranet with a square to know you really got it perpendicular?

I bought one of the little sanding mills sold by a member here and love it. Made myself a couple of sleeves to go from 7mm to some tubes that I didn't have a specific adapter for already from Exotic Blanks.

Neat concept. Makes one want a couple three lathes in the shop for various little jigs!
 

Dave Turner

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Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
417
Location
Sylvania, Ohio
Yes, it's perfectly square. It would be pretty difficult for it not to be. I find it pretty quick to make the change-over to sanding from between center work, about 45 seconds or so if I include the time it takes to find the correct transfer punch size.
 

Lenny

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Joined
Jan 6, 2009
Messages
3,461
Location
Searsport, Maine
I will often do something very similar with the exception that I use a piece of 3/4 dowel in my collet chuck. It is often quicker to find the correct transfer puch then to hunt for the right sleeve for my barrel trimmer. :wink:
 

JimB

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Mar 18, 2008
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4,555
Location
West Henrietta, NY, USA.
I have been using a similar setup for about 18 months ( I posted a pic back then). It has completely eliminated any problem with the ends not being square after finishing. It is amazingly simple and does an outstanding job.

One change I made was I bought a beall spindle tap so now I have tapped a piece of wood and trued the end. It screws directly onto the headstock so I do not need to use a faceplate.
 

ctubbs

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Sep 12, 2010
Messages
3,588
Location
Murray, Kentucky
Thank you Dave for sharing your idea. This is just one of the many things that make this site so great, each of us shares what he/she has learned giving all the rest the chance to not have to 'reinvent the wheel' so to speak. Since I joined last September, I have been offered a wealth of knowledge for FREE that would have cost me many hours and most likely many dollars to have learned on my own. Yes, thank you Dave but also all the rest of you generous people willing to offer help and information.
Charles
 

Dave Turner

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Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
417
Location
Sylvania, Ohio
I just want to echo Charles and thank everyone on this great forum. Without IAP I seriously doubt that I'd be making pens today. Even though I know so much more now than a year ago, it is humbling to realize that I have barely scratched the surface when faced with the wealth of information and techniques freely available on this site. I guess that's what makes this a wonderful hobby, together with the super people here.
 
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sbwertz

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May 11, 2010
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2,919
Location
Phoenix, AZ
convert pen mill to sanding mill

I bought one of the sanding mills here on IAP, and find it very useful. A friend looked at it and said "Why not just loosen the set screw on the pen mill and turn it around and use the flat back face for a sanding mill.

DUH!

I also took a scrap of wood, drilled it and put a 7mm tube in it, and turned it down to just the diameter of the inside of the tubes for the Le Roi/Sierra pens, and use it as a sleeve on both the pen mill and the sanding mill for the larger diameter tubes.
 
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jbswearingen

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Joined
Dec 10, 2008
Messages
745
Location
Bowie, MD
I bought one of the sanding mills here on IAP, and find it very useful. A friend looked at it and said "Why not just loosen the set screw on the pen mill and turn it around and use the flat back face for a sanding mill.

DUH!

I also took a scrap of wood, drilled it and put a 7mm tube in it, and turned it down to just the diameter of the inside of the tubes for the Le Roi/Sierra pens, and use it as a sleeve on both the pen mill and the sanding mill for the larger diameter tubes.

I might try this first. Thanks!
 

Lonn

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Joined
Jul 21, 2011
Messages
109
Location
Louisville Metro area, KY
I used a slightly different approach that works equally as well. I use exact drill stock in a pin chuck on the headstock ,slide a rubber grommet onto the drill rod which friction drives the pen blank. The sand paper is on the tail stock. I saw a unused drill press in my shop that i considered selling so i moved this system to the chuck of the drill press took a piece of Plexiglas and contact cemented 80 grit on one side and 120 grit on the other. I sold the lathe for $500.00 and kept the extra $40 drill press. For me the little drill press is always ready and does as good of job as the lathe did. I once build a squaring jig for a belt sander but it never produced square concentric ends.
 

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