Homemade closed-end pen mandrel

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

MiteyF

Active Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Messages
131
Location
Bay area
I've been hoping to try my hand at a few closed end pens, but would like to convert a few existing pen kits, namely a few Raw's. I can't bring myself to order one of the mandrels, having tried some of the "expanding" types for making duck calls. They seem terrible. If you remove and reinstall a pen, they seem to always be a bit off.

For my calls, I machined my own pin mandrel, which works a real treat. However, that's a lot of work and supplies if I wanted a mandrel for each diameter of pen tube I may turn. I've seen some here use some homemade wood mandrels, and I was hoping for some advice on creating my own. Is it as simple as a veeery slight taper and constant use of calipers?

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
7,870
Location
Medina, Ohio
I have had great success with simply using a Harbor Freight Punch Press Set. I grind a slot in whatever dimeter punch I need, grind down a nail to fit the slot, and use a collet chuck to hold the punch.

With the set, I have every size I need for any pen, it costs less that $15.00 for the entire set, and they still work as punches!
 

MiteyF

Active Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Messages
131
Location
Bay area
That's not a bad idea. However, I use those punches in a drill chuck to square my blanks, and some of the most common pen sizes I encounter don't have close enough to what I'd call a "tight fit" to ever want to turn it up to 3k rpm. To me, a proper pin mandrel should be very close to a press fit, and with a few exceptions, I haven't gotten that with those punches.
 

PatrickR

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
482
Location
Zionsville, IN
In the case of the RAW kit, I’ve made a number of them as closed end. The first couple I made a mandrel, but figured out pretty quickly none is needed at all (if you are using a collet).
 

MiteyF

Active Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Messages
131
Location
Bay area
In the case of the RAW kit, I’ve made a number of them as closed end. The first couple I made a mandrel, but figured out pretty quickly none is needed at all (if you are using a collet).
I've thought about this too. How exactly did you go about it? I've chucked up a spare cap in my collet chuck, and threaded on a whole pen to fix a finishing issue, but it was constantly spinning off thanks to the nice smooth threads.
 

PatrickR

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
482
Location
Zionsville, IN
In the case of the RAW kit, I’ve made a number of them as closed end. The first couple I made a mandrel, but figured out pretty quickly none is needed at all (if you are using a collet).


I've thought about this too. How exactly did you go about it? I've chucked up a spare cap in my collet chuck, and threaded on a whole pen to fix a finishing issue, but it was constantly spinning off thanks to the nice smooth threads.


Turn the blank round before drilling and leave extra on the ends for support using a live center. After drilling and gluing in the hardware you can work with it as one piece. I use a spare cap or male connector to work on the parts individually. If you keep some friction on the part it will keep the joint tight.
 

MiteyF

Active Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Messages
131
Location
Bay area
Turn the blank round before drilling and leave extra on the ends for support using a live center. After drilling and gluing in the hardware you can work with it as one piece. I use a spare cap or male connector to work on the parts individually. If you keep some friction on the part it will keep the joint tight.
Hm. Why do you turn round first? I personally have never had much luck drilling on the lathe, press works much better for me. Not to mention my lack of chuck jaws that would hold a 1" square blank.

Virgil, you've got a dead link.
 

dogcatcher

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Messages
1,776
Location
TX, NM or on the road
Turn an extra long blank round to 3/4" diameter. Insert in collet chuck, finish turning to diameter you want the pen to be, drill to depth needed and glue in brass tube. At this point you can part off the extra length that is in the collet. No special mandrel needed.
 

geoffholden

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
53
Location
St. John's, NL, Canada
I had another thought about how to do a closed end part without a specific mandrel. I haven't tried it on a pen yet, but it was successful on making a closed end keyring out of a cutoff. I glued the tube in, but left an inch protruding. I then gripped the tube in a collet chuck and turned the piece. Then I only had to part off the brass tube and it was done.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

its_virgil

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
7,032
Location
Wichita Falls, TX, USA.

Rick_G

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Messages
1,978
Location
Bothwell, Ontario, Canada.
I just use the transfer punch set. If I don't have one of the correct size I just take the next size larger and either turn it down or sand it down to the correct size and make a pin mandrel. Work on the end opposite the point so it's still usable as a transfer punch. Takes a while but cheaper than buying a mandrel for each tube size.
 

MiteyF

Active Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Messages
131
Location
Bay area
Geoff, that's not a half bad idea. I'd be a little concerned with the strength of the brass tube, but it certainly sounds doable with a bit of finesse, or perhaps another bit of wood, drilled to accept the brass tube, and turned down to add strength.

I really like the idea from the link posted about using a regular mandrel, a single bushing and some carefully placed holes too. Seeing as it doesn't require any new tooling whatsoever, I think I'll give that a go first. Now, which of my on-hand kits do I risk?

This is a lovely thread with some great ideas.
 

geoffholden

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
53
Location
St. John's, NL, Canada
Geoff, that's not a half bad idea. I'd be a little concerned with the strength of the brass tube, but it certainly sounds doable with a bit of finesse, or perhaps another bit of wood, drilled to accept the brass tube, and turned down to add strength.
I tried it out today on a crochet hook handle, with a minor modification and it worked great. I held the blank as I described long enough to turn a tenon on the other end, then I held that end I the collet chuck for 90% of the work. When the bulk of it was done and finished, I flipped it around again and put the protruding tube in the collet to part off and finish the end.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

MiteyF

Active Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Messages
131
Location
Bay area
Geoff, that's not a half bad idea. I'd be a little concerned with the strength of the brass tube, but it certainly sounds doable with a bit of finesse, or perhaps another bit of wood, drilled to accept the brass tube, and turned down to add strength.
I tried it out today on a crochet hook handle, with a minor modification and it worked great. I held the blank as I described long enough to turn a tenon on the other end, then I held that end I the collet chuck for 90% of the work. When the bulk of it was done and finished, I flipped it around again and put the protruding tube in the collet to part off and finish the end.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
Simple answers are almost always the best. This sounds like another good method. And you can turn the tenon to whatever diameter collet you're looking to use.
 

PatrickR

Active Member
Joined
Apr 8, 2017
Messages
482
Location
Zionsville, IN
Yes, simple is good. As long as you have a piece of tube on hand that is the correct dims and longer than needed it should work well.
 

geoffholden

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2017
Messages
53
Location
St. John's, NL, Canada
Yes, simple is good. As long as you have a piece of tube on hand that is the correct dims and longer than needed it should work well.
Yeah, my theory on that is that if you're making a closed end pen, the supplied tube shouldn't need to go too far in, since it won't be needed for the fineal. So the supplied tube should be long enough for this (assuming you're not modifying the kit much)

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

thewishman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2006
Messages
8,027
Location
Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA.
I like simple. Take a close transfer punch and wrap a little tape around the end. Masking tape works really well and the punches are still available to use. If the blank is long, wrap tape close to each end. Keep the layers even so the blank won't be wobbly.
 
Top