Author Topic: Turning bic pens.  (Read 2745 times)

Offline AndrewLee

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Turning bic pens.
« on: June 09, 2016, 03:49:41 am »
Hey guys, do any of you know how to turn bic pens without a pen mandrel?

I tried a few methods but so far can't get past the point of having the hole drilled straight.

My latest untested idea so far is as follows:

Make a lego type tower wood holder for drill press. Basically build a tall lego tower but leave a 2 x 2 "hole"  in the middle. I cut square stock to the size of the hole (say 12mm by 12mm for example.

2. Mark X on end of stock to find the centre, use a bradawl to punch a pilot hole. Use drill press with a 4mm long bit to go in as deep as bic pen cartridge will allow (if drill bit still too short, cut cartridge down to size). 

Here I master the dbs22 drill bit sharpener, regrinding it to an aggressive 90 degrees angle, four facet for minimised wandering. I just got a cheap long drill bit from eBay. Ideally the drill bit should be closer to 3.8mm but I don't know the imperial inch equivalent nor would I be able to get one, especially long ones. Hoping 4mm slightly oversized hole will be compensated with super glue.

I have a pair of long jaws for my sorby chuck, hoping thats enough to hold the blank accurately while I turn it.

The rest sound be similar to turning a regular pen.

Anyone see any snags I'll come across?

Offline Ken S

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Re: Turning bic pens.
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2016, 09:17:00 pm »
Andrew,

I found the included article which I thought might interest you. Also, it helped me understand the purpose of Bic pen turning. It is a clever idea.

http://wnywoodturners.com/articles/stickpen/stickpen.htm

I am neither a pen maker nor an active turner. Most of what I know about turning is from classes long ago and individual study. That said, I think you need the proper bits. Check with industrial supply houses like Reid Supply of Muskegon, Michigan, or comparable if you live outside the US. You want high quality high speed bits. These are generally made in the US, however the key words are high quality, not necessarily Made in USA. An industrial supply house should carry the length and diameter you need. Buy a bit long enough to cover the full length of the pen insert. If the point end has a larger diameter, buy a bit long enough for that thicker, shorter section of the pen. The third bit I would buy is a short length, often called a screw length bit the same diameter as the long bit. You will use this bit as a rigid starter hole to get the longer bit going straight.

The bit dize you need may be an inch size, metric, letter or number drill. Measure your pen insert carefully with calipers or a micrometer and order carefully. You can find drill bit comparisons online. Do not skip this step.

I would look into holding the work in your lathe chuck and using the drill chuck in your tail stock for boring the hole. This will work well. Whether or not it is practical for you is your call.

Do not expect to do exacting work with a cheap bit.

Questions? Keep asking!

Ken

Offline AndrewLee

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Re: Turning bic pens.
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2016, 11:30:05 pm »
Cheers Ken, I'll have to give that link a proper read through. Shame he doesn't accompany it with pictures to illustrate his instructions but I'm sure he'll have the answers I'm looking for.

Andrew