Full Review Woodpecker's Ultra Shear Pen Mill-Ci

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I ordered one of Woodpecker's new Pen Mill last December and received it around the 5th of January. I bought the 13 piece set with all the pilot shafts available. Yeah, it was expensive compared to other pen mills available.

Since then I have been putting it through its paces making 75 or so pen kits, both single and double barrel blanks.

Overall impression: Extremely well built and engineered. Very aggressive! It cuts anything I have put to it with ease; Stone, metal, acrylics, and very hard wood blanks.


Warnings: Go VERY slowly and lightly when using this tool! I highly recommend using one of those locking plies with the rubber coated jaws to hold your work. I used to just grab the blank to be trimmed in my hand and hold it up to the spinning pen mill. This tool can be very scary! I equate it to putting your hand very close to a spinning router bit and hoping note to let your skin come in contact!

Don't drop the tool on a hard workbench or floor. The carbide cutters can easily break.

Would I buy it again? Most definately. Even with the added expense, the kit is a very good tool for the serious pen maker. Compared to the other pen mills (I compared the Woodpecker's to PSI and Whiteside), I believe it is a better value, works faster, and cleaner.
 
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Shock me

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Dec 5, 2010
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I hadn't seen this tool before, thanks! I really like the idea of removable/replaceable carbides, despite the claim on their website that:

Proudly made in the USA, the Woodpeckers® Ultra-Shear Ci Cutterhead features two replaceable .44 square carbide inserts that never need sharpening.

I guess that's technically true if you throw them away when they dull...
 

leehljp

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Mark,

How well does it cut end-grain on blanks? That was my one concern.

I had two carbide pen mills and they did not cut end grain too well. It was either - almost no cutting - to digging in and gouging. However, this is "WoodPecker" so it "should" do much better than the norm.

I think they do strongly advise putting the blanks in a vise and using the DP for better control, and I agree with them. All the blank has to do, and end grain is far more likely to do this - is to dig in and cause a catch, and it will twist out of the hand, with the blades digging into the hand too!
 

greenacres2

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I don't have much WP stuff, but what i do have is very good. That said, since i started sanding the ends on a jig (with a light touch)--no issues at all, and i really don't have to worry about what material it is. Faux bone and real antler sand without issue.

Great to know it worked for you, but for the moment i'll stick with my sanding jig.
earl
 
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It cuts well on end grain - as long as you go SLOW. Since it is very aggressive, it can get away from you. The softer woods need special attention, again, go slow at around 2000-2500 rpms. I don't feed the drill press down, just hold the blanks in the pliers and GENTLY lift into the spinning end mill.
 

pturley

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Cleveland, Ohio
Given the fits of the reamers, I would be wary using this at such high RPM. Any dwell time and you are likely to have friction heating in the tube and possible glue failure as a result.

I find the "sweet spot" to be around 700 rpm with a vice, and as Bob in SF said, a feather light touch to get started. Once the cutters are full face, you can let it eat!

BTW: I wouldn't want my hands, appendages, anything at all near this thing while turning 2000+ rpm!!!

Sincerely,
Paul E. Turley
 

philipff

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As one who gave up using end mill tools some 5 years ago I am bewildered by the $$$ spent on this process when it can be done by simply chucking up the blank and using a round nose scrapper to take off the excess wood so that the metal shows true. OK, the hard part is making sure the blank is true to the plane of the tailstock. Easy does, easy is. Philip
 

magpens

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Interesting. . Thanks for your report.

When I go to the appropriate Woodpecker page, I see "Expected Ship Date: 03/31/2019"

Did they bring forward their release date ?????

One question ... the replaceable carbide cutters ... are they another instance of proprietary cutters sized and shaped specifically for this product ? . Or are manufacturers finally getting together and standardizing the cutters they use for their products ? . It sure would be nice if the latter were the case.
 
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magpens

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Interesting. . Thanks for your report.

When I go to the appropriate Woodpecker page, I see "Expected Ship Date: 03/31/2019"

Since some of you already have this tool, did they bring forward their release date ? ... or maybe just currently out-of-stock?

Question ... the replaceable carbide cutters ... are they another instance of proprietary cutters sized and shaped specifically for this product ? . Or are manufacturers finally getting together and standardizing the cutters they use for their products ? . It sure would be nice if the latter were the case.

(Sorry for his duplicate post ... must be my mistake during the editing process.)
 
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The carbide inserts used in the Ultra-Shear Pen Mill-Ci are the same ones they use in their turning tools, AND they are compatible with EWT Square Ci2-Ci (0.44" Square), and Rockler S1. I think they are cheaper from Woodpeckers, at $14.99 each, than they are from EWT.
 

BSea

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I ordered mine with just the 7mm shaft. I have sleeves that I use on my sanding mill so I can do other sizes. The other shafts are nice and will clean out the tube if needed, but aren't necessary if you use a sleeve.

One thing nobody has mentioned is that the 7mm shaft is has a shoulder so that when squaring a 7mm blank, the brass gets trimmed too. That was one of my issues with the traditional mills. Many times the brass would be proud of the blank after squaring a blank with a 7mm tube. I'd take a picture, but I let a friend borrow it to try out.
 
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Okay; I screwed up and misled everyone. I checked my drill press settings and found I am running the mill at 1000 - 1500 rpms, NOT 2000-2500. The owners manual that comes with the Woodpeckers Pen Mill says to use 1000 rpms or slower. I tend to run things somewhat faster to try and get a smoother finish. But just to be safe, go with the manufacturer's suggestions.

I have also been advised by Woodpeckers that there is a recall for some of the SAE pilot shafts and they will ship them within 5-6 weeks. This recall will include the 15/32",12.5mm,11mm and 33/64" Pilot reamers. They did not say what the problem is with these shafts or what will happen if you use the old ones! I'll keep you all posted

Again, sorry for the misinformation about the speed.
 
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I got the new pilot reamers and there is a noticeable difference in the diameters. The new ones slide into the tubes with ease, while the original ones did not fit at all or were very tight. I think I'll keep the old ones, just in case some pen tubes get a little looser! I did mark the old ones with some white paint so they do not get confused with the new ones.
 

lorbay

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I got the new pilot reamers and there is a noticeable difference in the diameters. The new ones slide into the tubes with ease, while the original ones did not fit at all or were very tight. I think I'll keep the old ones, just in case some pen tubes get a little looser! I did mark the old ones with some white paint so they do not get confused with the new ones.
Hi Mark, can you tell me the shaft size that goes into the cutting head please.
Thanks
Lin
 

cozee

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Oct 4, 2005
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Sadorus, IL.
I absolutely love mine. Yes, slow is the key but dang if it still doesn't cut better and faster than anything else I've used. I make my living with my hands and have learned that you cannot really put a price on a quality tool.
 
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