I guess it's about time...(and a review)

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rsmith

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
116
Location
Frederick, Maryland
I've been following this forum for quite a few months now and I figured it was time to introduce myself. I'm a musician from the DC area in the "bustling metropolis":rolleyes: otherwise known as Frederick, MD, who found penturning almost by accident when my father decided to show me how it was done. Since then, well...at least now I KNOW where all my money goes :), and have gotten so much info from all of you. Hopefully I can start to contribute to someone elses addiction. For my first contribution, I thought I would do a mini review on a PSI kit that I recently purchased, and hadn't seen much write up on it at all.

The Apollo Infinity T/N Gold Rollerball(my thoughts) *picture at bottom of post*

Well, I got suckered into buying a number of the "High End Starter Packages" from PSI by looking at their advertisements too much. Love 'em or hate 'em, I haven't had much experience with PSI but nothing I could really complain about yet. I guess with all the accessories, I couldn't really NOT get a few, but I do find it humorous that they include a 13.00 kit in their "high end"...heres how the first turned out.

-First, this is a big pen. One of the largest I had done, but it had a nice weight to it. The bottom barrel has enough meat on it to give the weight, and the top used a tube so large as to cut down on the amount of material, thereby lightening this section and making the pen fairly well balanced when posted as you don't have the unpostable option in this kit. I personally prefer a posted cap, but thats just me and my terrible writing technique.

-The decorative bands are a little "too much" for my taste, but I do like the fact that the gold is a hollow form slip on style, giving a more 3 dimensional effect to the band. That said, the bands are also a little large for me. The profile is fairly straight, which doesn't allow for many options as far as the finished shape of the pen other than flat sides. I prefer a slight curve in my barrels and this shape didn't quite give the same lines as a flat barrel would. Unfortunatly, it was hard to tell this until the pen was assembled, and due to the THIN layer of material on the cap, I have yet to try to disassemble it to reshape for fear of cracking the acrylic.

-The kit came with their generic standard tip rollerball. I would replace this. Also, one of the drill bits was a forstner bit. It worked fine, but since the diameter is so large, I would think that on alot of materials, the pressure generated by a forstner may crack the edges of the material. As I said, there is VERY little material left over in the cap from a normal sized blank.

-The bushings that came with it are only 3 pieces. The middle bushing is double ended. Normally not a problem for me since I usually use a mandrel, but it seems like it would limit the ease in which it could be turned BC. The tolerances of the set I got were fairly accurate, just the slightest big large at the nib end. Easily fixed by taking the time to measure and turning to diameter instead of bushing. (which of course I didn't do...)

-The clip assembly seems pretty solid, the only complaint would be the clip ring is SLIGHTLY smaller diameter than the finial. When assembled, it isn't very obvious, but it creates a tiny lip in the transition from clip to finial. Also, the directions in the kit show the clip unassembled, and it has a part referred to as the "dome disc". This appears to be from an older model, as the clip assembly no longer has that separate disc. I figured this when I was assembling it, but it still didn't stop me from searching the packing material to see if a part fell out:rolleyes:

-The nib shape is comfortable to hold (for me at least) and like the fact that it is all metal. The nib threads are metal, but the center band threads are plastic. Some people don't like the feel of metal on metal, but the metal on plastic gives me the sense that crossthreading could be a problem down the road.

-The black finish seems heavy enough, only time will tell how it will hold up though. It is a bright black, which is nice because it does match the mirror finish a well polished acrylic posesses. I seem to think a CA finish on wood would complement this nicely, not so sure about a friction finish (which is what I prefer, but I like to feel the "softness" of the wood) as even when well executed the shine on these finishes tend to dull slightly over time and may not complement the shine on the plating.

-All in all, I guess I would say that for 25.00 for the 2 pack with accessories is a pretty good deal. "High-end" it is not, but for a kit pen, it has a fairly impressive look, epecially at only 13.00 per kit. Due to the way the components are assembled, I would have a much harder time trying to come up with many mods that could be done to it, but hey, I guess thats why they come in complete kits...As I said, the styling isn't necessarily MY favorite, but form your own opinion on the actual asthetics. I will probably do a few more in some simple colors. Too much figure in a kit usually limits the selection of materials to less figure, and in a kit this big, it would be nice to be able to show off a highly figured wood without looking gaudy.

-Lastly, since this is my first post, I have yet to figure out how to place a picture in the proper place, or in the proper size, or the proper quality, etc...in the post, so it comes at the end this time highly degraded from the original pic. :) (it is the same pen, one pic closed and one open, merged by the magic of photoshop...)

Hopefully this will give some of you who haven't tried this kit yet an idea of whether or not it would be worthwhile to pick one up or just pass on it altogether.
Again, thanks for all the advice up until now and for many years to come. Next up is my show-all tutorial on the HB360...just kidding, I don't think I could take all that heat :biggrin: (plus I guess I would have to actually build one then, wouldn't I?)
-Oh yea, black acrylic cast, wet sand 1000, MM 12000, Hut polish, all that fun stuff...
 

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CSue

Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2007
Messages
2,376
Location
Laveen, AZ, USA.
I know a few people who would like that style pen. And you've done a great job with it! Check you some of the Birthday Bash events. It's the best time of the year here.

Thanks for the review, too.

Oh, and welcome. I noticed your joining date is Dec 2008. I'm not sure how helpful these links would be for you. But below are links to two threads/articles that have lots of information on pen turning. The first one is a very basic overview of the many aspects of getting into turning pens.
http://www.penturners.org/forum/showthread.php?t=42446

The second link has postings by different pen turners and what they wish they had known earlier:
http://www.penturners.org/forum/showthread.php?t=46654


Here is another link - a PDF on the acronyms used here. I am sure you know many but this will help with those you don't.

http://content.penturners.org/articl...9/Acronyms.pdf
 

leehljp

Member Liaison
Joined
Feb 6, 2005
Messages
7,617
Location
Tunica, MS,
Nice work, beautiful work. Welcome; keep making and posting pen picts. Now if you could only post some music! :biggrin:
 

randyrls

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Joined
Feb 2, 2006
Messages
4,399
Location
Harrisburg, PA 17112
-The decorative bands are a little "too much" for my taste, but I do like the fact that the gold is a hollow form slip on style, giving a more 3 dimensional effect to the band. That said, the bands are also a little large for me. The profile is fairly straight, which doesn't allow for many options as far as the finished shape of the pen other than flat sides. I prefer a slight curve in my barrels and this shape didn't quite give the same lines as a flat barrel would. Unfortunatly, it was hard to tell this until the pen was assembled, and due to the THIN layer of material on the cap, I have yet to try to disassemble it to reshape for fear of cracking the acrylic.


Rob; I have one of those in my build box now. I wonder if it possible to remove a little from the fittings where the decorative band goes and put paint, or something there to complement the material of the pen?
 

rsmith

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
116
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Rob; I have one of those in my build box now. I wonder if it possible to remove a little from the fittings where the decorative band goes and put paint, or something there to complement the material of the pen?

That was actually one thing I liked about the center band. There is enough play for some paint, and with not much work a thin "inlay" could be put in there. The gold isn't pressed on the band, it justs slips over the threaded assembly and backs up to the turned barrel.. Since you can see through the metal part, it could make for some interesting effects, depending on what was put in there. Lucky for me, the black matched the black...
 

Daniel

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Jan 1, 2004
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Reno, NV, USA.
Ah Rob, Your a funny guy with that 360HB crack. Welcome out from the shadows. Nice work with that pen and I have an appreciation for your attention to materials in coordination with the parts as well. I agree with your assessment of fancy parts can and do limit material selection, but it also can result in some of the better looking pens as well. Some of the kits lately have started going over the line into gawdy for me but there is a customer for just about everything. that is an issue I always have to argue with myself about. Thanks for sharing.
 

rsmith

Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
116
Location
Frederick, Maryland
Thanks for the comments everyone. I only wish the photo looked as good as it does in the original file. I guess that will be something else to work on figuring out, huh?
 

ed4copies

Local Chapter Manager
Joined
Mar 25, 2005
Messages
24,011
Location
Racine, WI, USA.
Rob,

It's an excellent review (IMO). If you feel so inclined, you may want to do a "churchill" pen some time. They appear to be very similar designs.

Whether you do or not, THIS was a "good read". Thanks!!
 

Lenny

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Jan 6, 2009
Messages
3,473
Location
Searsport, Maine
Rob,
I have always avoided this kit as I found it to be a little much ... as Daniel said "gawdy".... But... that was based on the photos in the PSI catalog.... your combination makes it work very well!!!
Nice job!
Thanks for the info and welcome!
 
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