New Drill Press or a Chuck

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kristin126

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Dec 12, 2017
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8
Location
Columbus Ohio
So my drill press died and I really don't want to spend the money for a nice one.

So what chuck and jaws do you recommend for just pen turning and bottle stoppers. I do not do bowls or anything big. I know the G3 is recommended but wondered if something cheaper is out there for pen blanks.

Thanks in advance.
 
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dogcatcher

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Jul 4, 2007
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TX, NM or on the road
Collet chuck from PSI. I turned my blanks between centers to get them round then used the collet chuck to hold the blanks while drilling. The collet chuck is the most accurate of the chucks for wood lathes, it doesn't crush wood like the 3 and 4 jaw chucks do.

Two reasons for turning the blank round. first it lets me see the grain of the blank before it is cut and made ready for a pen. Second, the drilling process is the most accurate with the collet chuck, you can also trim the ends with a pen mill after the tube is glued in.
 

Jarod888

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Mar 11, 2012
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magpens

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Feb 2, 2011
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Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Collet chuck is good and most accurate AFTER you have turned your blanks round.

To get them round you need to mount some kind of drive center in your headstock, and you need a live center in your tailstock.

As I see it, the only problem with using a Collet chuck and collets is that you are restricted in the size (diameter) of what you turn because the collets only come in fixed sizes. . Plus you need the appropriate collet chuck to hold them.

On the other hand, an adjustable lathe headstock chuck, like a Nova G3, can handle any size (up to 2" diam, or so). And with the correct jaws can grip shapes other than round.

If you don't buy the pin jaws for the G3, you still need a drive center for the process of turning non-round blanks to get them round.

And even after they are round, you can use the drive center when turning them down to the correct size/shape.

The drive center can be just a straight-sided 60 degree taper that fits in your chuck jaws. The 60 degree taper is not really designed for this kind of job but it does work if you apply quite a bit of pressure from the tailstock and spin at a fair speed.

Instead of the plain steel 60 degree taper, I use a 60 degree diamond coated cone (which is really intended for sharpening mortise chisels). The diamond cone is more successful as a drive center because of the friction between the diamond coating and your blank material.

To do the drilling on your lathe you will need a Jacobs chuck with arbor to fit your tailstock. The necessary arbor will probably be an Morse Taper 2 (MT2) as stated already above. You hold the blank, while drilling, in the headstock chuck (which could be a collet chuck for best accuracy).

Lots of different things to think about, really.
 
Last edited:

mecompco

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Apr 24, 2015
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Fairfield, Maine
I'll offer my solution--PSI's large pen drilling chuck. Mine's worked great. I like the large one that easily handles stoppers and even larger projects like pepper mills.

Once the blank is drilled, I highly recommend turning between centers. One dead center and one live center will cost you under $40.00. You'll never have to worry about bending mandrels, etc. that way.
 

sbwertz

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May 11, 2010
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Phoenix, AZ
And for really low cost if you are only doing blanks;
Taig 4 jaw scroll chuck 20.00
Taig 4 jaw scroll chuck 20.00 - International Association of Penturners
Sent from my iPad using Penturners.org mobile app
I ordered one of these yesterday. Can't beat it for the price.
When you get it, it comes with an allen wrench for the jaw screws. Remove each jaw one at a time (so you don't get them out of order) and reverse it so the square end in inward and the pointed end on the outside. This makes it hold the blanks better.
 
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