I want to use my lathe to drill pen blanks and have a few questions for some of you that do it this way.
I find it hard to get consistent results on my bench drill. Even a couple of degrees out means the drill bit can go through the side of a thin resin pen blank (some of them are only 17mm square). Despite my best efforts and even building a jig to hold the blanks and using clamps and levels etc. I simply can't seem to get it consistently right. Some are fine, some blow out and some drill through the side. It's too expensive to have this trial and error approach.
On my lathe (Rexon) I have just fitted a Nova G3 chuck so I mount the blank in that. However is there a way to ensure it's centered?
At the tailstock end I have a MT1 taper, so have bought some drill chucks for the lathe (three different sizes) all with MT1 taper fittings, that they just push onto when mounted in the tail. However there is no way to stop the chuck from spinning when the drillbit is inside the blank... I'm having to wear a heavy glove and carefully hold the drill chuck to stop it from spinning. Am I missing something?
To move the tailpiece towards the blank ensuring the bit enters it centrally, I have to un-clamp it, which makes it less precisely set up dead center and adds a little bit too much flexibility... again am I missing something?
I've tried it today and it is a little more precise, but I'm a bit nervous when the drill chuck starts to spin if the drillbit is a little clogged, as when then I pull the tailpiece away, the drill chuck head seems to occasionally want to stay with the blank end and starts to pull off the MT1 arbour... obviously this would be very dangerous if it came off whilst turning.
How do others have it set up?
I know the sharp intake of breath some will take when they hear I'm wearing a glove when using a lathe, but I'm really careful and only holding the drill chuck near to the tailpiece, which should not be spinning and is not directly driven in any way.
I know the Rexon is not the greatest lathe, but it's a good size for pens, all I can afford right now and it's variable speed from 500 to 5000.
I appreciate it if anyone has any suggestions and comments.