New Pen Lathe

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jimmyz

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Joined
Apr 10, 2011
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159
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Providence Forge VA
About a year ago, I asked for suggestions on how to build a pen lathe or lathe attachment that could be used to create designs on a pen blank. I got several helpful suggestions and also did a little more research. I have built two "machines" to do what I wanted to do.

The first was a carving tool, based on a dental handpiece, that is powered via a standard air compressor. I used that to carve out openings in wooden pen blanks, fill them with PR, and then finish. Some of you may have seen that post.

I wasn't totally happy with only that tool because it depended on how steady your hand is when you do the designs. When you get older like me, it seems ... well you know!

My second machine was designed to take most of the "human" element out of the work. It has two horizontal axes. One holds the pen blank on a standard mandrel, and the second moves a carriage that holds a Dremel tool and moves it left and right. Both horizontal axes are attached to stepper motors, which in turn are controlled by stepper controllers and an Arduino microcomputer chip. These control the amount of rotation of the pen blank and the horizontal movement of the Dremel tool via free software. By combining the horizontal and rotational movements, virtually any design can be created on the pen blank.

The red and green blanks in the picture below were created with this latest machine, which I call my pen lathe. The bolt action pen in the middle used the pen lathe to cut the horizontal grooves for the red stripes, while the Dental tool was used to carve the stars. All the blanks are PR, and all the filled openings are polymer clay.

I had a lot of fun making the pens (learned a lot too) and hope you enjoy looking at them.


 

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jimmyz

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Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
159
Location
Providence Forge VA
Here are the two machines referenced in the post. The carving tool is based on an article by Glynn Cox of the Golden Triangle Woodturners of Denton TX. Go to their website and look for the article entitled "Piercing on the Cheap".



The pen lathe is the combination of a few things and the help of a friend. No real reference.


If anyone wants to build either one, I would be happy to helpl












 

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mgatten

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Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
21
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Astonishing! The things that can be built these days using inexpensive microcontrollers are mind-blowing. Did you use stepper motors reclaimed from printers by any chance?
 
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