Question on turning resin

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Jmaxcy

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Mar 28, 2021
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Hey there

my sister recently got into resin casting and has given me a few blanks. I've never turned anything resin before, only Wood. How bad will it be if I turn her blank with a roughing gouge? I know everyone is going to say get a negative rake carbide, etc but I'm not interested in buying more equipment Bc I really am only interested in turning wood not resin or acrylics, but before I ruined her blank thought I'd get some opinions from the crowd. Thanks!
 
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Mr Vic

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I recommend a skew. You can use a roughing gouge for initial rounding. Practice on the ones she doesn't mind you destroy.
 

Jmaxcy

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I recommend a skew. You can use a roughing gouge for initial rounding. Practice on the ones she doesn't mind you destroy.
I'll let you in on a little secret - I don't even own a skew haha. I only use a roughing gouge, probably sand more than I need to be that's fine w me. I'll give it a go with a roughing gouge and see what happens
 

jrista

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I've used both spindle and roughing gouges, as well as Easy Wood Tools with negative rake carbide cutters. It is possible to turn with just a roughing gouge...in fact, a lot of my "strait" pens (no curve/bulge in the blank) are turned entirely with a roughing gouge. How well a gouge works will depend on the kind of resin. Some resins chip out like crazy when using a gouge, while others do not.

Further, how much chipout you get will depend on how heavy handed you are with the gouge. A heavy hand will often cut too deep too fast into the resin, and that will cause chipout. If you are going to use a gouge, I recommend going light and slow. You can get a very clean cut, but it takes longer.

For the fastest turning of resin, I use the EWT tools with negative rake cutters. They pretty much never chip out (extremely rare), and you can take off a good amount of material quickly for most resins. Some resins you still have to be careful...for example TruStone, you want to take light cuts and go slow regardless as those can crack then crumble into dust quickly. Some resins are just hard enough that you need to go slow with a negative rake cutter. Other resins (acrylic, poly) you can take off quite a lot of material quickly. I would look for Mark Dreyer's videos on turning resin pen blanks...he has some good tips.
 

Jmaxcy

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I've used both spindle and roughing gouges, as well as Easy Wood Tools with negative rake carbide cutters. It is possible to turn with just a roughing gouge...in fact, a lot of my "strait" pens (no curve/bulge in the blank) are turned entirely with a roughing gouge. How well a gouge works will depend on the kind of resin. Some resins chip out like crazy when using a gouge, while others do not.

Further, how much chipout you get will depend on how heavy handed you are with the gouge. A heavy hand will often cut too deep too fast into the resin, and that will cause chipout. If you are going to use a gouge, I recommend going light and slow. You can get a very clean cut, but it takes longer.

For the fastest turning of resin, I use the EWT tools with negative rake cutters. They pretty much never chip out (extremely rare), and you can take off a good amount of material quickly for most resins. Some resins you still have to be careful...for example TruStone, you want to take light cuts and go slow regardless as those can crack then crumble into dust quickly. Some resins are just hard enough that you need to go slow with a negative rake cutter. Other resins (acrylic, poly) you can take off quite a lot of material quickly. I would look for Mark Dreyer's videos on turning resin pen blanks...he has some good tips.
Thanks so much for the info. Nothing crazy about these blanks, just alumilite clear slow I believe with some mica powder. She did make me a hybrid with some leftover resin / wood we had from a pour we did on a cutting board that in excited about. I'll give it a go with the gouge and take it nice and slow
 

duncsuss

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I've never had a problem using a spindle roughing gouge with acrylic acetate, alumilite, or cellulose acetate. The only thing to watch is they don't like heat - so sharp tool, light cuts and slow speeds.
 

penicillin

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My advice would be to put the blank in a clamp end to end, with one edge exposed. Use the clamp to hold the blank and round over an edge using a belt sander and a rolling motion. Repeat for the other three edges. This will reduce your chances of chipping or shattering while roughing down the blank. (NOTE: This is very messy with wood, much messier with plastics/resins/acrylics ... but it works. I do the sanding outside.

I agree with the others about keeping your roughing gouge sharp and retouching the sharpening frequently.
 

qquake

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My advice would be to put the blank in a clamp end to end, with one edge exposed. Use the clamp to hold the blank and round over an edge using a belt sander and a rolling motion. Repeat for the other three edges. This will reduce your chances of chipping or shattering while roughing down the blank. (NOTE: This is very messy with wood, much messier with plastics/resins/acrylics ... but it works. I do the sanding outside.

I agree with the others about keeping your roughing gouge sharp and retouching the sharpening frequently.
I cut the corners off with a bandsaw.
 

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ed4copies

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I turned thousands of resin blanks with a roughing gouge many years ago. It can be done.

Thin cuts are helpful, but keep your RPM's as high as you are comfortable, I turn everything at the top speed of the lathe. I used a one inch roughing gouge, with one side fairly straight, giving me the equivalent of a half inch skew. Worked fine.

Good luck, your angle of cut is very important--experiment until you find your sweet spot.

ED
 

Madman1978

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I turn them at a high speed. Seems to be the best for me. But be mindful with the carbide, they MUST be level of you will get chatter and catches.

edit: I hate Inlace and mica! man, those are hard to turn. I find Alumilite, as well as Stones resin, is like shaving butter!
 

KenB259

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I turn them at a high speed. Seems to be the best for me. But be mindful with the carbide, they MUST be level of you will get chatter and catches.

edit: I hate Inlace and mica! man, those are hard to turn. I find Alumilite, as well as Stones resin, is like shaving butter!
I think if you gave carbide a try with a shearing cut, you would change you mind about them having to be level.
 
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