Tips for fulfilling large order

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ReverendThom

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Nov 5, 2017
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Just wrapping up details of my first large order - 20 Slimline Pros in Holly.

Any advice on making things easier/quicker?

Once the details are wrapped up I'm going to get them to make a deposit of at least the parts cost.

Do they make long mandrels so you could turn two pens at once?

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Rifleman1776

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Just wrapping up details of my first large order - 20 Slimline Pros in Holly.

Any advice on making things easier/quicker?

Once the details are wrapped up I'm going to get them to make a deposit of at least the parts cost.

Do they make long mandrels so you could turn two pens at once?

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What Gregory said is good advice. You don't need center whip to ruin your work. I have a board with 1/16" dowel set upright and spaced evenly. I put turned blanks on those and spray finish with a self leveling lacquer. Can do a lot in a short period of time. Congrats on the nice job commission.
 

Kenny Durrant

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I had twenty five 50CAL bullet pens to make. The first thing I did was cast all the blanks then started turning them one at a time. That was boring and slow. I then drilled and glued all but the first 5, because I had finished them. The next thing was to put them on the lathe and trim and round them all getting them ready to shape and sand. Then I put them back on the lathe and finish each one individually. One reason I decided to do this was it was very hot in the garage so this made quick easy steps that didn't take long. I'm always looking for easier ways but like mentioned before don't go to the point of compromising on quality. Always take your time to finish each pen.
 

larryc

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I received my first large order of 50 pens about 8 years ago and have been in the production mode ever since.
Gregory and Frank gave good advice. I only use the mandrel for sanding, finish application and polishing before buffing.
 

ReverendThom

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I would avoid trying to turn more than one on a mandrel - the "jump rope effect" might start to impact your end result. (I usually don't even turn both barrels of one pen at a time if I don't have to do so - I use a PSI center mandrel so set up is very quick.)

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKMBCM2.html
Whoa those are cool. I had never heard of them. Thanks!

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larryc

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I would avoid trying to turn more than one on a mandrel - the "jump rope effect" might start to impact your end result. (I usually don't even turn both barrels of one pen at a time if I don't have to do so - I use a PSI center mandrel so set up is very quick.)

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKMBCM2.html
Whoa those are cool. I had never heard of them. Thanks!

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If you TBC then you don't need mandrel or bushings.
 

MRDucks2

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The order I had of 22 euro style slim lines was in spalted wood, so I used the above described production method of cutting all, then drilling all, then gluing all then turning all. At that time, I made sure to mark the 2 blank sets so I didn’t accidentally mix them.


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ed4copies

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If you do every step individually, make SURE to test the first one to be sure you have drilled the correct size hole. Otherwise, if the hole is too large you have a bunch of wasted blanks.
 

Woodchipper

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If you do every step individually, make SURE to test the first one to be sure you have drilled the correct size hole. Otherwise, if the hole is too large you have a bunch of wasted blanks.
If you drill wrong, you will have a bunch of blanks for another style of pen. I have an order for four lever action pens so I will probably go into a "production" mode for them. Have an order for one pen and friends will decide what other pens they want.
 

dogcatcher

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Go into "production" mode. Cut all the blanks to length, marking and pairing them as you go. Then, drill them all at once; next, glue them all, etc. It saves time.
I was a production turner, all of my inventory was made in lots of 24 to 48 at a time. I would cut the blanks to size, then do all of the drilling, then glue in the tubes. Turn and sand every piece, then set up for applying the finish. Next was assembly. I had racks, sort of like thread spool racks that seemstresses use to organize their spools of thread, on these I kept the blanks organized so they would match up.

I kept track of time, making my field grade predator calls, if I made 48 at a time I could go from blank to finished call in about 15 minutes, if I made them one at a time from blank to finished call, it took almost an hour. That wasted time is set up tooling for each step, cleaning up after applying finish and a lot of wasted one or two minutes here and there. But each minute wasted is lost production time.

It will get boring, but if you are a business and want it to be profitable, sometimes you have to sacrifice a little fun time and get down in the trenches and work at it.
 

thewishman

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My best tip is to get 50% up front. If I get 100% up front, I lose interest in completing the project - there is no reward at the end.

There was my first (and only) 100 pen order. I got the 50% and then got the remainder as I delivered the finished pens in batches. that kept me motivated.
 

larryc

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Think about tooling. You are going to want to have two drill bits for each of the size tubes for the pens. (I have two sets of the Norseman Magnum drill bits.) This also means that you will need two drill chucks.
Carbide tools are a requirement for production runs. Sharpening time is more expensive than carbide blades.
 

FrankH

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Think about tooling. You are going to want to have two drill bits for each of the size tubes for the pens. (I have two sets of the Norseman Magnum drill bits.) This also means that you will need two drill chucks.
Carbide tools are a requirement for production runs. Sharpening time is more expensive than carbide blades.
Having two drill bits is a good idea. Particularly when drilling acrylics, I lose a lot of time cooling off a hot drill bit. But maybe I'm doing something wrong.
 

larryc

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Think about tooling. You are going to want to have two drill bits for each of the size tubes for the pens. (I have two sets of the Norseman Magnum drill bits.) This also means that you will need two drill chucks.
Carbide tools are a requirement for production runs. Sharpening time is more expensive than carbide blades.
Having two drill bits is a good idea. Particularly when drilling acrylics, I lose a lot of time cooling off a hot drill bit. But maybe I'm doing something wrong.

I keep my lathe speed at about 500 when drilling and that may be a little high for acrylics.
 

jfoh

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May 27, 2007
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I make about 160-170 pens every year for a local high school graduation. It is all production work. Cut all the blanks as a group, drill all the blanks, glue all the blanks and then trim to length, You get the picture. By the time I start turning blanks everything is taped in pairs and it is all repeat work for the most part.

I turn them all round using a WoodWrite lathe so they are about .020 over final size. The Woodwrite is just a mini automated lathe with carbide cutters. Mine is in a totally enclosed custom wood and plexiglass case which has great dust collection setup to it. I can turn even semi toxic woods without any dust getting into my shop. Takes a minute to turn each of them down to semi finished size. Then I take them and put them on my Delta lathe to finish turning to size and sand. With sharp tools I can turn and sand one in the amount of time it takes the Woodwrite to rough out the next one. So I am doing two at a time or at least getting more done at the same time. I finish them in small lots. I use to use CA but have become very fond of a water based gloss finish that has proven to be very durable. It takes longer to dry but I have drying rods in a closed box that holds about fifty pen blanks for dust free drying. Use thin coats and let them dry about 20 minutes before moving to the box. Repeat several times to get a nice thick and strong finish. I let them cure for a week or two then inspect and assemble.

It is funny how choices in pen kit have changed over the years from simple slim lines, to Euro type, then single tube pens and now Cigar type pens. This year I am thinking about make them all Cigar type but one piece bodies. Without the center band you can be very flexible in how thick you make them or even make them a little longer than normal. Some people like them fat and some like them very thin compared to a normal Cigar pen kit. But I was thinking making them all one piece would eliminate a lot of steps. The only tricky part is to remember to only glue in one tube, the right tube to be exact. DAHIK. But even that is easy now as I made a jig to hold the tube in place while it dries.
 

jxdubbs

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Derry NH USA
I would avoid trying to turn more than one on a mandrel - the "jump rope effect" might start to impact your end result. (I usually don't even turn both barrels of one pen at a time if I don't have to do so - I use a PSI center mandrel so set up is very quick.)

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/PKMBCM2.html
This center mandrel work the ****!

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FrankH

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Think about tooling. You are going to want to have two drill bits for each of the size tubes for the pens. (I have two sets of the Norseman Magnum drill bits.) This also means that you will need two drill chucks.
Carbide tools are a requirement for production runs. Sharpening time is more expensive than carbide blades.
Having two drill bits is a good idea. Particularly when drilling acrylics, I lose a lot of time cooling off a hot drill bit. But maybe I'm doing something wrong.

I keep my lathe speed at about 500 when drilling and that may be a little high for acrylics.
Wow! I'm been drilling at 1100 or 1200. I'll try reducing to 500. Thanks for the tip.
 

raar25

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Make sure your drill press vise is very carefully centered and cut the blanks down to 5/8 instead of 3/4. The lathe is easier to keep centered but will add hours to the job. I also run all of the blanks through my router table to round the corners with a round over bit. The easiest way to keep track of these is to number them all 1A-1B, 2A-2B etc.... and write the numbers near the opposing ends so you know which ends go into the center and outside. I personally like a drill doctor and a standard twist drill easy to sharpen and fast so if you don't have a drill doctor you should consider buying one, mine has paid for itself many times over. Twenty pens should be easy to keep track of with just a couple egg cartons. I also use 30 minute epoxy so I can glue up large batches at one time and don't have to worry about sanding the tubes. Finally since you are doing holly, you will probably want to rough them with a sharp skew which is much faster than the roughing gouge. Keep a diamond card close by to tough up the edge every few parts.

That's how I made several hundred once for my largest order and prepare to be bored.

Good luck,
Ray
 

ReverendThom

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Winnipeg
Make sure your drill press vise is very carefully centered and cut the blanks down to 5/8 instead of 3/4. The lathe is easier to keep centered but will add hours to the job. I also run all of the blanks through my router table to round the corners with a round over bit. The easiest way to keep track of these is to number them all 1A-1B, 2A-2B etc.... and write the numbers near the opposing ends so you know which ends go into the center and outside. I personally like a drill doctor and a standard twist drill easy to sharpen and fast so if you don't have a drill doctor you should consider buying one, mine has paid for itself many times over. Twenty pens should be easy to keep track of with just a couple egg cartons. I also use 30 minute epoxy so I can glue up large batches at one time and don't have to worry about sanding the tubes. Finally since you are doing holly, you will probably want to rough them with a sharp skew which is much faster than the roughing gouge. Keep a diamond card close by to tough up the edge every few parts.

That's how I made several hundred once for my largest order and prepare to be bored.

Good luck,
Ray
Never heard of drill doctor. Just looked it up and it's 50% off at Canadian Tire this week. Sweet!

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leehljp

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Never heard of drill doctor. Just looked it up and it's 50% off at Canadian Tire this week. Sweet!

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There are different versions of the Drill Doctor. Each succeeding higher number does more things. I believe most people here have either the 500 or the 750. The 500 will do up to 1/2 inch bits (or 13?mm) and the 750 will do up to 3/4 (or 18?mm) bits.
 
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