Busted Button Filler

The kids are with Gramma and my wife is at work.  I’ve got a few orders but I’m waiting on materials to ship in so tonight I thought I’d play.
A secret santa in Europe sent me a few sticks of celluloid and I thought I’d try to turn this zebra stuff he put together into a button filler.  My very FIRST button filler.  Yeah – I should have practiced on some acrylic first, but what are you gonna do.

Wow what a pain my very first button filler became.  If I had done one thing differently, no wait, two things, the whole pen would have turned out a lot better.  I just need to buy a few pressure bars now – I squished the one I had fooling around with this.  😛

You know, I think I may be able to salvage this thing.  I’ll have to do a bit of turning off and changing around and flipping and stuff – but I think I may be able to salvage this zebra celluloid after all.    Hmmm…  Good thing I left the back of the barrel so fat.  What I’m thinking is to take the button end and and drill it out, thread it to accept the section, and make a threaded insert/plug thing for the other end and turn off those jacked up threads.  Normally when turning on some threads, I push the die against the pen a little as I turn it – not with this stuff – big mistake.  It’s so soft that the threads just mooshed right off.  I went again and you can see that those threads turned out fine.

What do I look like?

I’m in a lot of videos but you don’t get a very good look at me for the most part.

I’m mostly pretty funny looking if I do say so myself.

Here we are.  Hair long and shaggy.  I’m planning on selling raffle tickets at school and letting the winner of a draw cut my hair and get a pen – maybe at a pep rally.  Hopefully will raise a bit of money for my art class – buy more supplies.

A couple new pens – and yes, of course I can make a new section.

Got an order from Tennessee to make a couple small pens and have enjoyed these quite a bit.  It’s always fun turning new materials to see how they’ll turn out.

And of course a new section.  Made the oversize yellow pen for a local customer and I just wasn’t sure about the section.  He wasn’t either.  🙂  I made another and am very glad of it.  This is one of those times I wonder – WHAT WAS I THINKING?  I’m very happy with the new section.

A Whole Lotta Celluloid – Grinding nibs

Finally finished the celluloid pens tonight.  What was supposed to be one turned into two with three sections.

First – I wasn’t happy with the cap I made.  Too short and squatty lookin.  Not tapered enough.  Then a thing with how deeply I threaded the barrel and how long the threaded tenon on the section was and how it left a little bit of barrel threads unoccupied and just looked kind of funny.

Now you may be wondering why there’s no nib in these monsters.  Well, the customer also happens to be a pen maker and all he wanted was round sections with an 8mm hole bored through so he could fit a Delta oversize #8 nib and shape the section himself.  The photo in the link shows the #8 at top, then 6 and 5 nibs below it.


Also finally got around to tuning and grinding a few nibs for customers.  Two cursive italics and smooth writing fine and medium nibs.  Saw a video of Richard Binder going at an Edison Pearl with a red cutoff wheel for a dremel.  I’ve been using the green aluminum oxide wheel and it’s a little slower going than the cutoff.  I tried the cutoff tonight and absolutely LOVE it.  Quick and easy.  Then just a couple minutes getting it nice and smooth and I’m all done.  Very nice.

The two CI nibs on the left, then fine and medium points.

Drying out after a bath. 

When Accidents Happen

Some days you can’t win for losing.  Other days you’re truckin’ along and kickin’ butt and then all of a sudden SCHWACK!

So yeah – my carbide tool was getting bored and wanted a little adventure, a little excitement, and decided to jump into the tip of this cap hard.

Even scarier than that is that it jerked the cap sideways in the collet.  My heart skipped a beat and I was sure the cap was going to be cracked or crushed behind the collet.  I turned off the lathe and looked at the cap, applying a little pressure here and there to be sure of where it was broken.  Nothing.  Whew!  I couldn’t believe it.  No damage at all.  Not even a little scratch — well — except the one on the top of the cap.
It was okay, there was plenty of material on there to clean up and keep going, but it scared the hell out of me.  Little slips like this happen occassionally, and luckily it wasn’t irreperable because this stuff is $40 a rod.  I’d hate to throw away a whole cap.

Should be able to get the pen done this afternoon.

Sleeping is better than working

For some reason I thought it would be a great idea to stay up late last night and make a pen.  This one.  It was 11 or so when I started it.  I should have realized nearly an hour into it that I should pack it up and go to bed.  No.  I kept on.  I started moving slower and slower.  A decision that I normally wouldn’t even think about would take a couple minutes.  Instead of moving from one step to the next pretty much without thinking about them I would have to go slow and be sure, then double check that this was the right drill bit or tap or that this was indeed the next step.

I made it and it’s a good pen, but I did have a little ooops.  I even filmed it.  That was dumb. So I’ll show you all and embarrass myself.  🙂

So a video and now a slide show.

A little problem with alumilite… oops.

Every now and then I run into a problem.  Usually the problem is a slip – something I did wrong – a step I left out – going too fast or too slow.  Yesterday I had a problem with a cap.

  • Sandstone color explosion blank.

Turned round between centers.
Stuck in 20mm collet.
drilled for cap
23/64 to make room for nib
17/32 to make room for section and to thread it

There. That’s it. The pen screws in but it’s wobbly. Instead of the barrel going in straight it goes in crooked.

So I’m thinking the problem is that I didn’t make any steps between the two drill bits and possibly didn’t keep things cool enough. Drilled too fast.

I ordered two more blanks but it stinks that I had to do all this.

  • It didn’t go crooked until the section meshed with the shoulder inside the cap. If I put just the section in and pushed it against the inner cap shoulder the section was all wonky. For some reason the inner shoulder was out of whack.
  • I tried a different cap on the pen so I know the problem is in the cap. All I can figure is the shoulder in the cap got messed up somehow. It looks smooth and clean so I have no clue why it behaved this way. I also tried this section in another pen and it all went together fine. As far as I can tell that narrows it down to a bad cap. Don’t know how I did it, but I did. I’m thinking when I drilled the 17/32 out I must have gotten it too hot. I didn’t pull out and clear waste as often as I usually do. This stuff is deceptively easy to turn, drill, and thread, and that got me into trouble. :)At least I think that’s what happened. Next time I’m going to drill and thread it before I turn it round.