Four Color Pen Blank
My wife tried her hand at pouring a resin pen blank. Her knowledge of color theory is evident in the interplay of cool and warm colors. I look forward to turning more of my wife’s blanks.
Alumilite clear has a seven minute open time. I find it difficult to mix and pour more than three colors, by myself, in that short a period. Alumilite is cured under pressure to crush any air bubbles in the casting. Exceeding the open time puts you at risk of having the resin set up before you can pressurize it. For this casting we used Alumilite Slow Clear, which has an extended open time of 12 minutes allowing us to mix more colors. My wife measured out the resin and added the mica powders while I stirred. She poured the resin into the mold once at least two of the four colored resins reached 95 degrees F. Once the mold was filled, I placed it into the pressure pot and pressurized the chamber to 45 PSI for two hours. Then we removed the blanks from the mold and cured them in the toaster oven at 145 degrees for two hours.
I chose the stainless steel Raw rollerball pen kit from Penn State Industries to show off this blank. This is the first time I’ve used this kit and was impressed with the fit and quality of the kit. My wife and I were especially impressed with the included schmidt rollerball cartridge which we found to have an exceptionally smooth stroke.
To expose the most interesting part of the blank I trimmed both ends of the blank. There appears to be some bubbles close to the surface however no voids were exposed during turning. I believe what appeared to be bubbles were actually blobs of darker resin.
The Raw kit is quite handsome paired with this beautiful blank. I have three more blanks from this pour. I’ll post them on my Etsy site for anyone interested.
- Sanding on the lathe leaves radial scratches requiring axial sanding between grits. Before switching to micromesh ensure that there are no radial scratches from grits 600 or less. Use a raking light to inspect the blank.
- Leave ends a tiny but proud of the bushings and finish up by sanding and measuring with calipers for fitment with the kit’s hardware. I couple pens I’ve turned have had enough of a mismatch to feel.
- Do not overcharge buffing wheels. Add just enough compound to get the job done. It’s easier to add compound as necessary than to try and remove excess.