Resin Comparison Video | Turning Four Different Materials

In today’s video, I turn four Wall Street II pens. I show the preparation, turning and assembly of each of the four pens. While it is important to show these steps in creating the pens, I wanted to focus on comparing different materials today. I compared three resins and a bonus material. In this video I turn one of the resins and the bonus material for the very first time! I compared the materials on a completely subjective scale and used qualitative data instead of quantitative data, so while there is no hard data, I do tell you about my experience with each blank in the video.

The first material I want to talk about is acrylic acetate. These blanks are available at a number of woodworking stores and are easily accessible.

The second material I mention is Alumilite. I cast the blank for the pen and this turned more easily than the acrylic acetate. This is the resin that I cast in a pressure pot. This affords me the ability to make my pens and creations even more of my own.

The third material I talk about in the video is polyester resin. The blank was cast and sent to me by John Pierce. This blank finished the best, but in my opinion, it smelled the worst. I have talked to people who say that casting polyester resin smells awful, so while I noticed the smell while cutting and turning, I can only imagine what it smells like when casting the blanks.

The fourth material I used (bonus material!) was corian. The corian is just like the counter tops you see in homes! This was an interesting turn because for the majority of the time I worked with it, it was a treat to work with. It polished nicely and I can’t wait to work with corian again!

In general, I highly recommend wearing a respirator for working with any of these materials. When it comes to general turning practices with these blanks, use the standard turning rules for pens and you’ll have a greater chance of having a successful turn. Use fast speeds, sharp tools, and light cuts.  If you follow these three practices, you reduce the chance of blowing apart a blank. if you use slow speeds, dull tools, and heavy cuts, a lot could go wrong real fast.

Thanks for reading this article. There is more detail in the video under the “YouTube Videos” tab. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me and I will respond.

-Robert

Casting Pen Blanks Tutorial

First off, sorry this article is so late.  I got caught up in work related duties and didn’t have any time to write the article.

I start by using Alumilite, which is a 1:1.  I used 50g of each color, so when you pour 50g of A, you need to pour 50g of B.  This allows the reaction in the resin to properly set up.  I used twp colors: vibrant pink and silver.

I start by pouring 50g of the “A” side twice (one for each color).  Then, I introduce my Caster’s Choice mica powders and stir until the powder is stirred in and there appears to be no more visible powder.  I stir in both colors separately, then move on.  There is no correct amount of powder that you need to use.  If you like a more translucent appearance, put less powder in the resin.  If you want a more solid appearance, put more mica powder in the resin.

Once I stir in both mica powders, I introduce the “B” side of Alumilite resin and since I poured 50g of A, I poured 50g of B.  As soon as the “B” side is poured into the “A” side, the reaction starts.  Depending on the temperature of your shop, the resin will take longer or shorter to set up.

As I introduce the “B” side into the “A” side, I start to stir the resin.  You can under-stir, but you can’t over-stir, so consistently stirring is important.  I stir until the resin gets up to 90 degrees.  This is the temperature where you get good color separation.  If you pour before the 95 degree mark, you could get runny colors and your mixture won’t look as good as they could have.

After both colors got to 95 degrees, I poured the Alumilite into the molds and let the resin set up in the mold for 2 hours.  When I took the pen blanks out of the pressure pot, I removed the blanks from the molds and cleaned them up on the band saw.

I can’t wait to turn these and see what they look like on a pen kit!

If you have any questions, or comments, don’t hesitate to comment on the youtube video (in the “YouTube Videos” tab on this website), email me, or contact me any way you know how.

Thanks for checking out the article and video.  We’ll take to you later!

-Robert