Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Okay...I just got done my first Acrylic pen...lets just say it STARTED out good...
To bad there had to be a FINISHING part to the journey:thumbdown:
First bad thing happened when I started to see the brass tube through the blank. The color of the blank was so close to being clear...the tubes showed through...I thought..well thats not going to be to bad, since I am going to be using Gold hardware...so I was able to get over that part:thumbsup:
I have read, so much about sanding...Im starting to feel gritty....I thought I had it all down, til the guy at woodcraft....told me how he does it. Of course when it came to sanding it...I forgot not only his method, but everything else I read...lol I started around 150...and went down to 600...this is only because thats all i had. Didnt look to bad...a few scratches...but nothing to bad...for my first attempt at it. Then onto the Huts polish...well i have been doing wood pens for a few weeks now....and have really got the FRICTION polish thing down...FRICTION IS A KEY WORD HERE! Not thinking...I put the huts polish on...and treated it just like I normaly do with a wood pen......Thats a no no!!!!! Plastic when heated does what?...Everyone together........MELTS!!...Well It didnt melt per say...but it sure did burn a groove in the blank in the one spot.

Lesson learned...won't do it that way again...all in all...It turned out okay.....far from great...but okay:yes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
680 Posts
For acrylic, I sand mine almost the same. I start about 220 and end at 600. After it is sanded I use Huts. After it is applied I use and old t-shirt and run it back and forth until I have the shine I am looking for. I have never had any problems like that before.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
For acrylic, I sand mine almost the same. I start about 220 and end at 600. After it is sanded I use Huts. After it is applied I use and old t-shirt and run it back and forth until I have the shine I am looking for. I have never had any problems like that before.
problem like what? The burning problem?
 

·
Fighting the fight.....
Joined
·
231 Posts
My one and only acrylic pen didn't turn out as well.

I actually tried two of them. The problem with the first one was the barrel inserts came out during the process of squaring the faces. I roughed up and glued the barrels the night before with CA glue and they dried all night. When I squared the faces the next morning, the barrels came out onto the bit. First set lost because I squared it down too deep before I noticed the barrel missing :thumbdown:.

The second set glued up fine but I chipped it out on the lathe. I don't know if I wasn't turning it fast enough or was taking too aggressive of a cut but I chipped it out all the way down to the barrel. Second set lost :thumbdown:!

When I talked to the local woodstore about it this is what they told me.

The glueing problem: They recommended a 5 minute epoxy when working with acrylics because the CA glue doesn't stick well to the acrylic.

Chipping problem: The cut needs to be more of a shearing cut and needs to be very light. A higher speed may also help the process.

I was turning it at ~2100RPM. Do I need to turn the acrylics any faster? What tool do you guys use when turning the acrylics? A normal roughing gouge to round and then what?

Planning on doing some more wooden pens until I get a little more experience. Also, has anyone turned Corian?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
912 Posts
No worries wonderwood just tell everyone the groove is a finger hold.:yes: Hope your next one turns out better. Just jump right back in there.

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
680 Posts
Wonderwood, I was talking about the melting problem. I use an old t-shirt. I also use quite a bit of pressure. I have never had one melt on me.

PT, I have a set of tools for turning pens that are smaller than normal. I use the roughing gouge to make the main shape, and I use the skew chisel for getting gouge marks out of it before sanding. The main thing is to keep your gouge as sharp as possible and make very light cuts. It is very easy to catch the blank with the gouge and chip it. It just takes a little practice and a light touch.

dano, you do have to sand and wax or use some other finish on acrylic to make it shine again after you turn it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
PTown - I turn my acrylics at about the same speed, maybe a little faster once they're rounded. I've found that a round nosed scraper is a good, gentle tool to work with acrylic, which is fickle at best. Keep the scraper sharp and use a light touch. When sanding - no matter what grit you start with or end with - after each sandpaper step, use the same grit to sand lengthwise to remove the scratches. As you move up to finer grit, you'll start to see a smooth shiny finish evolve. I use micro mesh after 220, 400 and 600. Going through the micro mesh (1500 through 12,000) only takes an extra three or four minutes since you don't sand length wise with m/m, and it reaps a great finish. Now for the BIG SECRET technique to brilliantly shiny and smooth, flawless acrylic pens... I CHEAT!! I bought a Beal buffing system and rigged it up to a 1750 rpm motor from Grizzly. No matter how un-shiny the blank is when it leaves the lathe, once you buff it up through the three step wheel process of Beal, it is unbelivably smooth. Just hold the blank really good, if the linen wheel catches it just right, well, let's just say I'm still missing the top half of a purple swirl pen. It's somewhere in my shop, I just didn't see where it went.

I don't put any finish on my other than the carnuba wax buff for the third and final stage of the Beal system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
33 Posts
I forgot to mention, when you sand, especially with micro mesh, turn you lathe down to around 500 rpm. Then it won't heat up and melt. Also, if you use micro mesh, very light touch and very slow speed. Otherwise the m/m will melt and leave little stripes of rubber which is hard to remove without starting over.

Fast turning, slow sanding.

hope all this mumbo jumbo helps. :blink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
First of all, new to this site, but doing pens, both wood and acrylics for about a year and half. I love doing the acrylics, and so do my customers.

First thing I do is once I have the tube glued in place and the blanks squared up is to take the blank to the belt sander and round the edges so I'm not beating up my roughing gouge. Makes all the difference in the world. (By the way I use the thick CA for both wood and acrylics and have never had a problem except one time when I forgot to rough up the brass tube.)

Once I'm done turning the shape of the pen, then I start out with 220, go to 320, and then 400. I also use a fairly fast speed, but don't put hard pressure on the acrylic. You don't need to!

After using the regular sandpaper, I then switch to micro mesh at 1500, and go through all the grits to 12000. I WET SAND with every grit of micro mesh. When I hit 12000, there is absolutely no need for any type of polish, but I do put on a bit Renascence wax after I'm done with the sanding process to protect the finish. I do this on the lathe with the lathe running, allowing the blank to get a bit warm, but not hot. NEVER HOT!

I then assemble, put a bit more of the wax on all components and do a final polish with a soft cotton cloth. They absolutely glisten, and as I said, my customers absolutely love the way they look.

I learned this from John (can't remember last name) at the Spokane, WA Woodcrafter's Store, and the method is spot on. I finish a lot of my harder woods in this same manner, but I do apply some type of finish on the pen after using Triple E. Sometimes the wood comes out looking like plastic which some like and some don't.

Rick (mtgrizzly52)
 

·
Fighting the fight.....
Joined
·
231 Posts
Rick,
Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing.

I follow about the same process now as you do except I wetsand with the sandpaper also. I agree that the acrylics don't really need any polish wax but I put some on anyway for protection.....

Why don't you create any heat when applying the wax? Doesn't the heat help the wax penetrate the acrylic slightly?

Fred
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Ummmm, I was told to be careful not to generate a lot of heat and never get the acrylic hot, and I'm a good pupil. I follow instructions! *LOL* That's the best answer I can give you, besides how much penetration do you think you would get with a dense product such as acrylic?:icon_confused::detective:

Rick (mtgrizzly52)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
More Acrylic hints

My newest secret weapon for acrylic is the Termite tool. Used properly (on edge) it is fast without the typical chipping of gouges/chisels. Also it you use the micro-mesh sanding pads to the 12000 then use the plastic polish from Rockler/Woodcarafter or your local glass plastic shop they will come out looking like glass. I had sworn off acrylic for years as just being too much trouble with chipping. The newer batches from most sources are FAR less brittle than the original acrylic procucts.

Tom Howe
That's Impossible, impossible object, turnings and glasswork.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
heres what I use for acrylic, I don't turn pens but I do waterfowl calls. I start with 220 and go up to 600 just wet sanding, from there I still wet set but I use mcguires plasticx (automotive) up to 2000 grit, then polish with mothers aluminum mag polish
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
Hello everyone.

I'm James and am new to the site.

I do plastic pens exclusively. If anyone would like my technique or any pics, I would be glad to post them.
I cast my own blanks now and have been for several years due to the limitations of the commercial blanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
912 Posts
Hey James, Nice work. Welcome to the forum. I sure don't know much about casting blanks so I for one would be interested in hearing about the process to do it. I particularly would like to know how you incorporated the car pictures in the cast of the blank. Very neat idea. Start a new thread and give us a little tutorial!:thumbsup:

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Hello Wood turners.
I am new to this site, I have been curious about finishing acrylic pens. I have just completed my first seven acrylic pins and am pleased with the results. I didn't have any trouble turning, I use a high speed for turning, also I used a high speed while sanding with 250, 350, 400, 600, 1200 and 2000 wet dry sanding paper, after this I slowed the speed down and used MM pads 3600, 4000, 6000, 8000, and 12000. I know that sounds like a lot of sanding but it only takes a few seconds with each one. My pens turned out to my satisfaction. Has anyone else tried to finish just using sanding or should I look at some of the polishes to make them look better? I was going to post a picture of the pens but could not figure out how.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top