Acrylester for Pen Kit - trouble turning - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 04-26-2008, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
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Acrylester for Pen Kit - trouble turning

Having lots of trouble turning Acrylester plastic for pen kits. The advice I received was to go for small cuts with a sharp small gouge at 45 degrees etc.. however I still get chips, cracks and chunks shattering off brass barrel. I use CA glue to glue barrels ... I did try very rough sand paper but this causes alot of heat build up.....I like the many colours are available with Acrylester .. should I try a different type of plastic ? Cutting technique ?

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post #2 of 3 Old 04-27-2008, 02:17 AM
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I have three sugestions for you, hopefully one will be of some help.

First, try useing a carbide metal cutting bit from a metal turning lathe. You'll have to fabricate a solid sliding tool holder that places the bit perpendicular to the turning and sets the top cutting edge even with the centerline of the pen for it to work. The site listed below has the type of bit I'm sugesting. Cutting this type of plastic is really very easy on my metal lathes useing this type of bit.

Second is more complicated. You could set up a laminate trimmer or other high speed rotory tool and use a straight cut router bit to make the cut. Of course this would require an even more elaborite setup than the metal cutting bit but I can just about gaurantee you'll be happy with the quality of the cut. This is the setup I use to cut the profile on the pool cues I build and I use Corian as an inlay material which is unbelievably brittle. The metal cutters won't even cut it without some chipping. This link has some pictures of the router setup on a lathe for cutting pool cues. It's not the same as mine but it gives a pretty clear view of the setup.

And my last thought is to ask if you've tried Dymondwood? It's an epoxy impregnated dyed and laminated hard wood made specially for stuff like pens. It's incredibly easy to turn and pretty cheap. It's also very pretty stuff when you turn it, especially if you line up the axis of the lathe off from the layers of the material. The only link I have is for pool cues but if you've never seen it it will give you an idea what it looks like. Dymondwood makes pen blanks with super thin layers that work better for the small diameter of the pens, I think WoodCraft carries them.

Anyway, Best of luck.
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post #3 of 3 Old 04-29-2008, 04:40 PM Thread Starter
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Many thanks for the comprehensive advice. I really appreciate it. I have a metal lathe and alot of carbide tools so I will give it a go.
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